We’ll Have a CSA Box Next Week, Will You?

April 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

You Can Eat Local Without a CSA, but It’s Easier to Eat Local with a CSA

Granted it’s only been a few weeks since our last CSA* (Community Supported Agriculture) box came, but I’m very excited for a new season of Local Family CSA-ship.  Many Chicago area CSAs have begun a-rollin’ out their boxes in April.  If you have not chosen your 2013 CSA, now is the time to do it.  A CSA subscription makes it easier to eat local.  I’ve listed many reasons below, and the quicker you sign up, the quicker you’ll have your local food.  To help you pick your CSA, Wendy’s looked at your options for the year.  Any other questions, feel free to ask.

Myself, the Condiment Queen and the two kids have been a Local Family for about eight years.  We’ve done it with and without CSA subscriptions, so I know you do not need a CSA box to eat local.  I do believe having that box makes it easier to eat local, and anything that makes it easier to eat local is a good thing.  I’ve come up with five reasons why you should get a CSA.

  1. It’s Your Farm – There’s so much talk these days about changing the food system.  God know’s there’s so much to change.  And you should be able to say to someone, “I’m changing it already.”  How can you safely say that.  By knowing your farmer.  Knowing how they farm.  Knowing you rely on a farmer that does it the way it should be done.  You can change the way your food is produced by picking a CSA farm that does it your way.
  2. The Food Shows Up – I firmly believe that the biggest barrier to eating local remains the ability to get local food, especially outside the prime farmer’s market months.  A CSA box is there every week with a chunk of food.  More importantly a CSA subscription can do a couple of things that your market shopping may not.  It can get you local food on a regular basis, and it can get you a larger variety of local food on a regular basis.  Want more?  Most CSA farmers give you more.  They expect you to put away their bounty for leaner times.  You may not know going in where the surplus will be, but believe me, there will be something too much.  Don’t fret with your abundance of spinach or sweet corn this year.  Freeze what you cannot eat for local food year-round.
  3. Eat More Foods – It’s vital to have a wide variety in your diet of fruits and vegetables.  Don’t just live on asparagus and frozen peas.  Variety allows you to appreciate more tastes.  It also allows you to get your full range of nutrients.  There’s probably a lot to it, the idea that Spring greens are cleansing and winter roots are warming.  Your CSA will force you to get what’s good for you.
  4. You’ll Know What to Do With It – Your CSA Farmer wants you to enjoy their harvest.  They worked hard to get you tasty stuff.  They’re filled with tips and recipes in their newsletters and e-mails.  They’ll share what other customers do with their kohlrabi.  A CSA gives you more resources towards your local eating needs.
  5. There’s a Farmer on the Other End – We cannot have local food without local farmers.  I believe (and know) that not all farmers should be CSA farmers.  Experts note that having a CSA is a more advanced form of farming and not a form suitable to everyone.  Still, getting a CSA supports and invests with people committed to producing local food.  Your CSA payments are critical also in helping the cash flow needs of your farmer.  CSA users make CSA farmers possible.

Has your CSA box shown up yet?  What have you got?  If you do not have a CSA subscription for 2013, what are you waiting for?

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain, which provides our CSA subscription.