Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eat Well and Support Your Local Farmer

Okay, you know the health benefits of eating organic, but have you thought about the environmental and economic impacts of grocery store organics? Where do they come from? How many miles have they travelled?

The freshest and healthiest organic food is that which is grown closest to you. Many farms sell their produce and meat via a subscription service known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Simply put, a CSA is a financial arrangement between a farmer and a consumer. You become a part-owner, like a shareholder in the farm. Your investment yields you a bag of fresh food weekly or bi-weekly.

Other benefits of a CSA subscription are that you get to try new things that you might not otherwise buy. Many farms also let you visit at least once during the growing season. Farmers naturally benefit from the financial support, but CSAs also help them market their farm to local communities.

Things you should know:
Don't expect all your produce to come from the CSA
Most CSAs cannot provide families with enough fruit to meet their usual intake. Many don't provide any fruit at all, be sure to ask what to expect. You may also need to supplement the vegetables, especially staples like onions, garlic, and carrots.

Eating seasonally can take some getting used to
Because grocery store chains purchase food from around the world you can have nearly anything you want at any time. CSAs will provide seasonal foods. It may surprise you to see your winter box full of hard squash or that tomatoes are virtually unavailable until late summer.

Not all CSAs are equal.
CSAs are gaining in popularity all across the nation. There are about 16 CSA serving the Front Range. Before signing up with a CSA it helps to do a little research. Ask your friends and family if they’ve had any experience with CSAs. Also be sure that you understand all policies before signing up such as: vacation holds, pickups or delivery, missed pickups, etc. Also, some CSAs offer more than just fruits and vegetables, some also offer organic meats, coffee and may run specials that are acquired from other farms.

Use these links to find out more about CSAs:
Local Harvest
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Options in Colorado

No comments:

Post a Comment