What’s a CSA?
“CSA” stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In practice, it means that somebody (I, for example) pay some amount of money to a farm or group of farms at the beginning of the growing season. In return, I receive weekly (or bi-weekly) harvests from the farm, usually in a box.
More about CSAs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture
In western PA, we’re lucky to have so many different types of farms, and thus, fresh farm products. CSA boxes in our area vary by season, but it’s not unusual to receive onions, carrots, peppers, corn, cheese, herbs and beets in summer months.
Why would I ever want to do a CSA?
Most importantly, the food coming from a CSA box TASTES GREAT and is HEALTHY. It’s local food which has not traveled 500-2500 miles in a refrigerated truck to reach you. It has been picked when ripe, not ripened in a store. Because of the short time between harvest and consumption, the nutrient content of the food is high. Things taste the way you remember them tasting.
Participating in a CSA supports the local economy. It also encourages creativity in the kitchen. Rather than preparing your usual mix of fruits and vegetables, that CSA box will having you pulling out old recipes and searching for new ones. You’ll discover new favorites and improve cooking techniques. If you head out of town on vacation, you may end up sharing that week’s items with a neighbor (“c” is for community).
This sounds like a lot… but I’m thinking it over.
Consider splitting a CSA box with a friend, neighbor or relative. You’ll lessen your cost and cooking obligations.
Where can I find out more?
There are CSAs all over the area. Here are a few: