As the second installment in this month’s Locavore Challenge, I thought I’d focus on the choice that has had the most impact on our progressive Locavore transformation. In the early spring of 2012, I noticed a few of my social media friends mentioning their participation in CSA Programs. Being a locavore-newby, I of course, had to research exactly what these programs were.
Community Supported Agriculture Programs offer a way for consumers to access locally grown fruits and vegetables while supporting and engaging with the farmers and local businesses. Shares are offered at the beginning of the season at a set rate with projections of the season’s longevity and yields. Often times, there are multiple options for “purchasing” a share, including work share arrangements, and varying share sizes. (As a small family, a half-share was perfect for us.)
I was excited to participate in the CSA Program offered by Greener Partners’ Longview Center for Agriculture. We now reside a short distance from the farm, but as I child, I lived right around the corner in Worcester. It was an added bonus to make a weekly visit to my “neighborhood”…I just love the area and the warm feeling of belonging that riding around the winding tree-shaded roads gives me. Thus, we began our CSA adventure…Weekly farm visits, meeting new friends, exposure to a wide variety of harvests and the “pick-your-own” aspects of the Greener Partners CSA program have been the most valued benefits of our membership. I also enjoyed trying vegetables that I would not have otherwise (but, we’ll talk about bok choy in another post!) My 5-yr-old is now a farm regular, always excited to pick some beans, grab a fresh cider slushy and visit her friends, the chickens.
Since we enjoyed the Summer program so much, we transitioned right into the farm’s Winter CSA Membership. It seems especially easy to fall back on convenience consuming during the Winter season, but what a great way to keep focused on thoughtful and local eating! The CSA Program is also a great way to consistently mesh local grown foods into your daily diet. While at the farm for our pick-ups, I usually supplement our weekly produce shares with fresh-baked goods, jams or meats.
Today I utilized some of our weekly bounty into tonight’s dinner. It is a bit of a dreary day, cold, snowy and the little one is nested on the couch dealing with a cold – the perfect day for some crock pot comfort food. And, since I can’t drag the mini-patient outside today to add to our food stores, I had to work with what we have on hand. Included in our slow-simmering meal are carrots and oregano from our CSA share this week. (See, not perfect, but I’m working it in there!) I’ll probably heap a big spoonful next to a few pieces of bread from Soltane Breads & Spreads. I’m starting to regret that I did not grab some fresh cheese from the market too…
Enjoy your day!