Why Join a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is a wonderful way for people to enjoy a greater connection to their food and be an active member in a sustainable and healthy food system. It is a simple idea in which people buy a membership or "share" of a farm in the spring and receive a box of fresh food each week of the season in return.
Why bother signing up for a CSA when you could stop by a big, bright grocery store instead?
1. Freshness: CSA shares offer you unparalleled freshness. Because of the time most commercial produce must spend on trucks traveling to distribution centers and then to retail establishments, not to mention sitting on the market shelf, it is logistically impossible for a grocery store to get their products to you as quickly as a CSA box from a local farm. By reducing the time from harvest to your kitchen, we provide food that is far more delicious and is actually better for you because it has not suffered the moisture loss, quality and nutrient degradation, and potential microbial spoilage that can occur over time. Imagine - baby spinach that stays vibrant in your refrigerator until you are ready to eat it!
2. Sustainability: By growing a wide variety of plants on a reasonable scale, CSA farms do not need to rely on damaging growing practices that harm the land, deplete the water table, and eventually lead to a reduction in food yields. In contrast, large scale industrial agriculture (such as that found in California's Central Valley, where one third of all produce in the US is grown), functions by treating the earth like a factory and exploiting as much water, soil, mineral resources, air, people and animals as possible. Unfortunately, this way of producing food has a way of catching up to us. It requires enormous inputs of unhealthy synthetic chemicals and still can not safeguard us from the potentially devastating blight, pests and fungus that are so effective against monocrop agriculture. In fact, contamination is already taking vast swaths of land in the Central Valley out of production. If you want to be a part of an agricultural system that can feed our society in a sustainable way, a CSA share is your very best option.
3. Family: In an era when we are losing more than one acre of farmland per minute in the US, and the remaining farmland is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of large corporations, a CSA membership enables you to instead invest directly in a hard-working local family. By paying in advance, you are helping an independent farmer avoid costly loans and burdensome debt during the the lean pre-harvest months of the year. While small-scale organic farming is not always the most lucrative or glamorous work, we are very grateful for the opportunity to share and enjoy the harvest.
4. More Delicious Meals: In an effort to maximize efficiency, large-scale industrial agriculture results in a surprising lack of varietal choices at the grocery store. Therefore, it is entirely possible that you will open your box one week to discover a vegetable or a variety of a vegetable that you would not have otherwise purchased from the store (either because it was not available or it was too unfamiliar). Lucky you! A CSA share is a great way to break out of your cooking doldrums, discover new and exciting ingredients, and develop your cooking methods and repertoire. In addition, we provide excellent recipes in our e-newsletter each week as well as on our website in order to provide some optional guidance.
5. Cost: A CSA share offers more value for your food dollar because 100% of your money goes directly to the farmer, thereby eliminating the extraneous costs of middle men and long-distance shipping.
6. Ecological Stewardship: According to a study conducted by Richard Pirog, associate director for Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainabile Agriculture, produce arriving in Chicago travels on average 1,518 miles. Unfortunately, this extensive journey results in one's dinner creating an unnecessarily large carbon footprint. By selling our organic produce locally, we drastically reduce food miles for a much more environmentally-friendly option. And by growing a wide array of vegetables and fruits for our CSA boxes, including heirloom and open-pollinated varieties, our growing practices help to maintain biodiversity and insure that future generations can enjoy a healthy and varied food supply.