some of you may know ALL about CSAs, some of you may know about the idea, while some of you may have NO idea what the heck CSA stands for.
let me break it down for you - CSA stands for community supported agriculture. you can purchase 'shares' from local farmers and receive timely packages that have fresh and responsibly raised (most likely organic) produce, poultry, eggs or meat. i heard a lot about CSAs during my nutrition class last Fall - i always thought it would be a great idea to not only support a local farmer, but receive responsibly raised food. plus, drew and i almost always buy the same stuff from Trader Joe's. this 'spring' (if you can call what we are having here in MN, spring), we decided it was time to get serious about researching and finding one that would work for us, our budget and our diet.
there is a lot to consider when looking into CSAs:
diet:. do you want to do a CSA that offers just produce, meat, a mixture of both, jams/honey, herbs and spices - the combinations are almost endless.
price per share:. some CSAs offer 1/4 share, 1/2 shares or full shares depending on your household size. drew and i decided on 1/2 shares for both the meat and produce. not only because we wanted to make sure we are able to eat it before it goes to waste and plus, the price. we wanted to stay within our regular budget.
seasons:. some CSAs go year round, while others are just during 'growing' season. this may also be dependant on if you have your own garden.
location:. even though they are called 'dropoffs', most CSAs do not actually deliver right to your door. they select several locations around the Twin Cities and MN where you can pickup your 'dropoff'.
i cannot tell you how excited i am about the 2 CSAs we joined!
we joined a meat CSA called Sunshine Harvest Farm. this is a 1/2 share where we receive a monthly dropoff of a dozen eggs, 1 full chicken, 3 lbs of ground beef and 4 lbs of various pork and/or beef cuts. we just picked up our first 'dropoff' last week and i was really impressed. along with what we expected, our various cuts included a steak, BACON and a roast. it was the real deal - good looking, healthy meat! (that's what she said - had to do it. we've been watching a lot of The Office)
for produce, we joined My Minnesota Farmer - they also offered a 1/2 share for a good price. this is a weekly 'dropoff' for 18 weeks. they were unable to give us an exact amount of what we would get each week because you never know what you are going to get especially with the MN weather! the produce will follow with the seasons starting early with kale, spinach and routabagas and ending with squash and 'fall produce'. we will get our first drop off June 17th!
CSAs can be really beneficial whether you have a big family, just a couple or by yourself. the opportunities and varieties are endless! plus, instead of paying Whole Foods prices, you get a better deal - trust me, drew and i (ok, it was all drew), did the math and by joining the CSAs we are saving about $30 a month from the groceries we are currently buying. the fee can seem like a lot at first, but seriously, you are getting MONTHS of food and you are saving time/gas money by not having to go to the grocery store as often! also, i am excited to try and figure out how to incorporate new produce into our diets and my juicers!
check out this great directory for CSAs around MN. http://landstewardshipproject.org/stewardshipfood/csa
for followers outside of MN, 'Google' CSAs near _____ and type in your location. CSA directories seem easy to find, no matter where you are!
support a local farmer - they can never have enough support!
even Women's Health supports CSAs!
random note:. SUPER BIG SHOUT OUT to my Mom who literally just finished the BOSTON MARATHON! i JUST received the text saying that she crossed the finish line at 3:58:52 - unbelievable!!!! (i started and ended this post well before the explosions happened - both of my parents are OK, but they were VERY close to it. my mom finished 12 mins before the first explosion)
always striving for more,