Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I've been circling the CSA world for about a year now. Paying careful attention to the costs, the pros, the cons and the local produce wave as a whole. Thanks to a few MOMS Club members with a bit more time than I, I was able to finally wet my appetite and that of my family. Local farm, Tanaka Farms, partnered with the MOMS Club and a few neighbors to start our own CSA being delivered right here in W every Thursday.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and has been around for over 20 years. According to Local Harvest, a network of 2,500 farms, CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Originally scheduled for our place with the covered patio and driveway accessibility, we had to move the drop-off/pick-up location due to scheduling. Minor detail. It is no chore to drive 1/2 a mile every Thursday to pick up a cardboard box full of deliciously fresh veggies such as those below.
Seriously, this is just one box.
Tanaka coordinates with over 100 different groups (mostly schools and churches) to deliver seasonal vegetables and fruits picked THAT morning supporting the group through fundraising and perpetuating the simple joy of local farming. Subscribers do not have a choice as to what's in their box, but for $30 ($5 goes to MOMS Club), it's a cost-effective way to feed a family of 4 (or 5 =) with variety and freshness without having to worry about running to the store or contributing to global warming.
We're just finishing up the contents of our first box and it's been almost 2 weeks. We even split our weekly box with another family. I don't think I've ever tasted a salad so fresh, nor have I ever though to use radicchio in anything, including my vocabulary. Mr. P takes some with him to work too.
NurtureBaby has an adorable Nutrition Checklist that I'm hoping to laminate and put out for the boys to reference. Curly is very attentive to the colors of our food and we talk about "Eating A Rainbow" each day, which I got from my teaching days and the USDA's website. Click here to make a customized MyPyramid plan for your preschooler. Blueberries and milk being Curly's two favorite colors to complete, of course..
Clean your plate...yum, yum!
EDITED to add this great video from Jamie Oliver via ZRecs.