Disease Proof

Community-Supported Agriculture and Me

Nicole Teed of ParentDish is trying to decide whether or not she wants to participate in the local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). Here’s her thoughts, take a look:
The basic idea is this: at the beginning of a growing season, you buy into a share of a farm. In exchange, you receive a basket of fresh products weekly. Most farms focus on fruits and vegetables, but some also include meat, eggs, milk, and anything else that can be harvested locally. (One farm in my area also has a shrimp boat, and includes fresh shrimp in their CSA!)

It's a win-win for the farm and the consumer. Farmers get a guarantee that their produce will be sold, so they can focus on what they do well: growing it. As a CSA member, you get food that is fresh and local. Some farms use organic methods, and many encourage visits and provide public education about their farming practices. I'm thinking that a weekly trip to the farm to pick up our bushel would make an excellent family outing.

The one catch, as I see it: you don't generally get any control over what ends up in your basket. If you've got a family of picky eaters, or you aren't willing to try new recipes, that could mean that a bunch of fresh vegetables end up in the trash.
What a coincidence, I signed up for a CSA a few months ago. I’m an official shareholder of Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, New Jersey. Check this out:

I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh berries and lettuces—come on spring!
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Monty - March 4, 2008 10:34 AM

In addition to the shares that you pick up in the building at Honey Brook, there are also the pick-your-own crops from the field, and this could be great fun, even in the rain. At one time we got a huge load of strawberries, and over a 3-week period during the summer we came out with 51 pounds of tomatoes. We also picked green beans, okra and raspberries. There is a list of pick-your-own crops and amounts per share on the bulletin board in the farm house, and you bring your box and shears with you. The box can get rather heavy.

Sara - March 4, 2008 11:14 PM

I see you are getting a boxed share. We pickup at the farm. More choice. sometimes you get to mix or match and can avoid things you don't like. also as my husband said there's the pick your own. Boxed shares can do pick yor ownbut don't usually. Wait till you see the watermelon, and the arugula and the tomatoes and and and.

Gerry Pugliese - March 5, 2008 7:24 AM

Hey Sara-

Yeah, I'm actually splitting the share with a friend--so, we'll see!


Nicole Teed - June 24, 2008 10:00 PM

I ended up joining the CSA and have had a fabulous experience. Our family share has fed us with enough some weeks to divide among friends. I've tried new vegetables (kohlrabi, anyone?) and lots of new recipes, but the truth is that the vegetables taste good prepared simply because they are so fresh.

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