Lovin’ Our CSA Share Edition
(Also known as my slow descent into hippiedom.)
For the past decade at least (I’ve lost count of the years), we’ve purchased a share in a local CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. From April through November, I visit a local pickup site each week and bring home a bounty of locally-grown organic produce. (We receive our produce from Spiral Path Farm.)
These are seven ways in which it’s been good for our family.
Color and Beauty
In late summer especially, you can’t look at this harvest and not simply admire its beauty. God gives us a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.
Variety and Volume
Each box includes a diverse sampling of produce – from greens and tomatoes to garlic, potatoes, herbs, squashes, and more. Plus, there is often more (sometimes less) than I’d buy were I shopping at the grocery store. The end result is most often that we eat more of what’s good for us.
I’ve never bought collard greens, swiss chard, or fresh red beets at the grocery store. My mom never prepared those items, and I never expanded my cooking repertoire to include them. But when they show up in my box, on my counter, and in my fridge, I have to learn to use and enjoy them. Thanks to our CSA, we were munching kale chips years before kale was the “it” food. (Cut me some slack. I’ve never been on the front-end of a trend before.)
The Farm Visits
Spiral Path Farm hosts several “open farm days” for members. Not only is it a fun visit for the kids, including pick-you-own and surplus fruits and vegetables, but it helps connect our kids (and us) to where and how food is grown and how many hands it takes to get nutritious food to our table.
There’s just nothing like corn on the cob fresh from the farm. When it comes in my box instead of from a roadside stand, I don’t have to make a special trip out and fumble with cash on the berm of the road. The corn is fresh and delicious, non-GMO, and if it contains a worm here or there (and this year, I’ve seen none), it only adds a bit of interest to the shucking. Corn is one of only two vegetables every child in the family loves, so while it’s in season, bring it on!
Even if I’ve failed to plan our weekly menu, I know on Wednesdays I have a box of fresh produce coming. If I didn’t make it to the store, I’ve got something to work with. And speaking of the store, I’ve also avoided the drawn-out hassle of toting small children with me from the parking lot, strapping them in carts, managing the in-store chaos, etc. I go in to the site (situated convenient to home and errands), grab my stuff, and I’m out.
Fosters Harmony with the Earth and Others
(see slide into hippiedom subtitle above)
We are better in tune to the bounty of the seasons and what nature (and by extension, God) provides in abundance. We see (second-hand) how weather and pests affect what is placed on the dinner table. We eat more simply using whole foods in a fashion more akin to how people the world over have eaten for millennia, before the advent of highly-processed food. (Don’t get me wrong, I like plenty of processed and convenient foods, but eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season makes sure the balance isn’t tilted too far in the direction of what our family affectionately calls “processed crap.”)
For more Quick Takes, visit Fountains of Home.