Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has been a huge help in the local living movement for the past 25 years. It is a great way to get your kids involved in the preparing and consuming of a wide variety of local foods, it helps support small, organic farmers and reduce greenhouse gas omissions since you buy locally. The fun part is you and your children will love the surprise of getting new, organic foods to try each week!
It is a regular occurrence at my house. My door bell rings and when I open the door, there is a grey box of food sitting on my front step… right next to a marmalade cat who wants to come inside. My children run excitedly to see what we have gotten this time. What’s inside? Our first two pints of strawberries for that week. The cat tries to sneak past as a living room dance party ensues. It is like opening a gift each week when the CSA box gets dropped off, and my children LOVE it!
I get this sweet deal because I am part of something called a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It means that a farmer has sold of shares of this season’s crops with people who pledge their support to his farming operation for the season. Generally, you get only what is grown and produced on the farm (nothing imported, for example). However, recently I have discovered that many CSA’s will partner with other organic farms from another state to fill gaps in their early spring orders. People are enjoying the advantages of this partnership by getting things that may not be in their immediate area but are still organic and from small, sustainable farms.
CSA’s help both the farmers and shareholders in many ways. Farms enjoy the security of knowing that they can have a reliable community in which to disperse their product. The shareholders enjoy local and sustainable food products delivered to their doors for no additional cost. Often times the shareholders get the added bonus of trying new and exciting seasonal foods. Which, for many, become new favorites! (If you don’t know what garlic scapes are, then you are in for a real treat!)
Here are two ways you can find and enjoy your own CSA:
- LocalHarvest.org – By putting your zip code into the search engine, Local Harvest will give you the closest farms that offer CSAs.
- EatWellGuide.org – EatWell is a website where you can find sustainable farms all around the country. Enter your zip into this trusty database and you will find farmers, CSA’s, Farmer’s Markets, and much more to connect with for your sustainable eating needs.
This time of year we get a lot of asparagus. A fun way to eat an extra bunch or two is make it into pesto! This pesto is enjoyable long before my basil seeds have even popped up in my garden. Here is the recipe for you to try with your next batch of asparagus:
- ½ bunch asparagus spears
- A few handfuls of spinach leaves
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbs lemon juice (fresh preferred)
- Olive Oil
- Blanch the asparagus: Start boiling a pot of water. Trim the asparagus by gently bending it until it breaks and discarding the tough ends. Drop the spears into the boiling water until they turn bright green (about 2 minutes). Drain and transfer to a food processor.
- Process until chopped small.
- Add in spinach, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and pine nuts.
- While the food processor is on, slowly add in olive oil until it reaches a creamy consistency.
- Add salt to taste and toss with a few more pine nuts and some cooked pasta of your choice for an amazing, seasonal treat!