CSA or community-supported agriculture has become commonplace across the United States.
Despite their growing popularity, many people aren’t aware of the CSAs available around them. CSAs grow local, usually organic, produce available to members on a weekly or bi-weekly basis throughout their growing season. (Most “growing seasons” last 8 to 10 months, depending on where you live.)
Members take home 4 to 10 produce items each time they pick up their “share.” For most CSAs, this includes fresh vegetables and fruits. Some CSAs even offer herbs, flowers, honey, and cheese.
If you’re stuck on the fence about joining your local CSA or want to know what this whole CSA thing is about, here are just some of the reasons joining a CSA is a great idea for your family’s health.
Reason #1: High-Quality Produce
The produce you find at your local grocery store, even if it’s organic, can’t be of the same quality that CSAs offer.
CSA produce is fresher, harvested the same day you pick it up. If it isn’t picked the same day, it’s typically picked the day before. The tomatoes taste fresh and earthy. The lettuce smells wonderful.
Vine-ripened produce is much more nutritious than produce harvested un-ripe and shipped across the country. Most of the nutrition from fruits and veggies develops during the later stages of ripening. Once picked, your produce begins to slowly lose its nutritional benefits.
This means having vine-ripened and freshly harvested fruits and veggies are much, much better than “organic” that’s picked and shipped long distances before ripening.
If you haven’t tried CSA-grown produce before, the taste alone drives you to keep picking up tasty produce and eating healthier.
Reason #2: Mostly Organic Varieties
Most CSAs offer organic produce through their membership programs. Part of this is from a deep love of organic veggies, while the rest of it is practicality and cost-efficiency. It’s cheaper to grow food without synthetic chemicals.
For this reason, many CSAs rely on natural pest repellents. They may use helpful predators such as ladybugs and praying mantises to control unwanted pests. Pairing certain plants together keeps pests away. Wormwood planted near fruits and veggies may be enough to keep critters away.
Reason #3: Trying New Foods
When you shop at the local grocery store, you probably know what you’re going to buy. Maybe some spinach, tomatoes, and bananas.
Locals CSAs operate a little differently. They’re going to give you your share of the crops they’re growing, many of which you may not currently buy.
You can try daikon, persimmons, or dinosaur kale. This makes CSAs great for trying new, tasty produce items.
Reason #4: Abundant Vegetables
While the amount of food you take home with you from the CSA will vary from week to week, most CSA members note how abundant their shares are.
More than likely, you will receive more produce than you can reasonably eat in a week. That’s okay. You can learn to preserve food for later, outside of the growing season, by dehydrating, canning, or freezing.
Reason #5: More Affordable Than the Alternative
One trip to Whole Foods costs a lot of money, especially when you’re buying a ton of organic produce.
CSAs typically cost less than buying food at grocery stores. This saves you money without sacrificing the fresh foods you eat to prioritize your health.
If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle, contact us today for a consultation.