In almost every place we’ve ever lived, I’ve signed us up for the local CSA or, Community Supported Agriculture, cooperative. Here in North Carolina, we belong to the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative. A CSA allows participants to pay a weekly, monthly, or seasonal fee to become a shareholder, of sorts, at a farm, or multiple farms. In return for your fee you get a box of fresh fruits and veggies from local farmers each week. Sometimes you even get bread, jams or jellies, and sweets. In most places the fee starts at around $24-$30 a week, which is pretty darn fair if you tend to eat a lot of fresh food.
Here are four of my reasons for joining the co-op.
I like to sleep in.
Farmers markets are nice, but dear Lord, must they all start at 7 am? I just can’t do that. I’m barely functional by 9 and let’s face it, if you don’t get to a farmers market early, there’s almost nothing left after the first couple hours. My CSA box allows me to sleep in and I get to pick it up from the local coffee shop between 5 and 7 PM on Thursdays. Late pick up, coffee, fresh veggies. Win. Win. Win. Zzzzz.
I want to garden, but I just don’t.
I’m an intern master gardener. It means I’m not quite a master gardener because I haven’t finished my volunteer hours yet. I love gardening. I do want to garden, but I don’t. I have a few sad tomato plants that are neglected. I’m chasing kids and trying to work and and and…so, hellllloooo CSA. All the healthy benefits of a garden (lovely veggies, fruits, etc.), none of the watering or bug bites.
I’m a little bit lazy.
I like to really look over my food at the store, see what’s in season, review the prices, check the quality, see what’s “Clean 15” or “Dirty Dozen” or organic. But there are days when I’m trying to balance life stuff and I just grab stuff and don’t check and the next thing I know I have four rotten tomatoes because they were already starting to turn at the store but I didn’t notice. With a CSA, you get things at the peak of ripeness, so no more rotting food. And if you join a CSA featuring organic farmers, then you don’t have to worry about looking for organic labels or “Clean 15” items.
I like pretending I own a farm.
When you join a CSA, you become a part of a community, and most of the CSAs we’ve belonged to have held community events. Farm tours, community meals made of farm-fresh products, and even chances to volunteer to pack weekly boxes. It’s a fun chance to check out farms, meet the people who grow your food, and just hang out with people who like food as much as you do. And, during farm tours I daydream about my own super amazing future farm, because, a girl can dream, right?
Are you a member of a CSA? What are your reasons for joining?