When You Have a CSA It Can Come About Now

March 4, 2015 at 11:15 am

Things to Make Pretty Pictures

winter radish

Did you sign up with a community supported agriculture (“CSA”) farm on National CSA day? Looking for a CSA, did you pay attention to seasons. With a CSA, you can get local food past Thanksgiving, early in Spring, even the weeks before Spring, like now. My Tomato Mountain CSA this week included carrots, jelly, squash, jarred tomatoes, and everybody’s favorite still life subject, watermelon or “red meet” radishes.

The Local Beet CSA guide tells about farm seasons. A vital reason to get a CSA is because of its seasons. Like my box this week, a CSA can supply you with local food more often through the year. In addition to Tomato Mountain, some other CSAs that offer extended seasons include:

tomato mountain in winter

Farmers support and encourage the CSA because it provides a secure, predictable base for its product, and it provides capital, literally, “seed” money when the farms need it.  In turn customers get something equally needed, a ready source of good food.   With your CSA, local food can be had in March as well as May, July or January.  These farms are committing to bringing you local food.  They put away roots and potatoes in sturdy cellars (or the modern equivalent, the walk-in cooler).  They put up hoop houses to grow spinach and sprouts when you need to shovel ‘em out as in the above picture from Tomato Mountain.  Finally, they can, dry and otherwise preserve their seasonal bounty to ensure you have something each delivery.  Sometimes you can even make pretty pictures of what shows.

Most Chicago area farmer’s markets are three months away from opening day.  Our winter market seasons is winding down, and as much as we love these markets, we know they are sometimes more about soap and wool than eat local supplies.  So, if you did not sign up for a CSA on the national day, think about who can get you some food right about now.