Let’s break it down…
Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, is a way for you to purchase locally grown foods direct from a farmer in the form of a share. We are used to hearing about buying shares of stock and increasing our net wealth. This method is similar in that we reduce the toxic load of commercially produced crops, support our local farmer, and know we are feeding our bodies the best we can, our greatest wealth!
How does it work? You purchase a share from a farmer or group of farmers and they package the food/produce into a box or make them available for you to bag/box and take home. The produce is picked fresh that day and you get what the farmer can sell based on the number of shares purchased. For some farmers who have smaller scale farms, they may have an abundance of a particular item i.e. zucchini and you may have such a large amount you can freeze, can, or dehydrate for another time during the year.
Inner Sage practitioners have utilized The Good Food Collective (TGFC) the past several years and have found this to be an exemplary way to get high quality food and variety. TGFC offers produce from a variety of local and organic farmers so they can offer a variety of produce to the customer base each week. They offer vegetables and fruits in the basic share plan and then you can add on to include meat, poultry, more fruit, eggs, coffee, fermented foods, etc… You can learn more about them here: https://thegoodfoodcollective.com/
What is really exciting about a CSA is you will inevitably find something you don’t know what it is or how to prepare it. The famer generally gives handouts or will tell you what you have in your share and how to prepare it. TGFC has a website and Facebook page with links to tell you what you will have in your share and recipes. This brings an exciting time in the kitchen as well as to your taste buds! There are a wide variety of CSA’s in our local Rochester area and you can locate them at Local Harvest. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
In Rochester, we are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of local businesses who are committed to bringing the most fresh and healthful food to us. Wegmans does a very good job with their offerings of organic produce and local produce when in season. Abundance Co-Op, Lori’s Natural Foods, and Hart’s also offer wonderful organic produce and more. If you want a more personal experience, get to know a farmer, and see first-hand how your dollars can impact the lives of local families growing organic foods, you can find them at the Rochester Public Market and a wide variety of farmers markets throughout the growing season.
I find the CSA makes for more efficient use of my time. I go to one place, pick up my share, and take it home. There is no searching for the best looking produce or prices and I almost never have to run to the store for produce during our growing season because the bounty is enough for the week. Another reason why I love TGFC is their flexibility with how you purchase shares. You can buy an entire season or weekly. Many of the CSA's require you to buy once for the whole growing season. Depending on your budget, TGFC has versatility!
If you have had an experience with a CSA, please share in the comments below.