Thursday, July 7, 2011

CSA: What does it mean?

My husband and I own 1/1000th of a farm. How awesome is that? Our farm is 85 total acres and full of lush greenery and wildlife. It's located 86.6 miles from where we live, and approximately 1/4 of the food we eat each week comes directly from it. Sound familiar? We are part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. A CSA basically connects farmers with people who are looking for local, fresh and organic fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers, and sometimes eggs, honey, mushrooms, poultry or meat (image source). We get a box delivered almost to our door each week for 18 weeks, mid-June through end of October, and everything in our box is grown, harvested, washed and packed by our farm, Helsing Junction Farm in Rochester, WA.

From my research, I learned that not all farms are equal in terms of being a CSA, so be sure to research a reputable one that fits your needs. For instance, some farms source items from other local farms (which is mostly okay), include items that aren't organic, or even include items in your box that can come from as far away as Mexico (not very local at all). This isn't to say these are all bad, but you should at least be aware of where your produce is coming from before you commit to one. I chose Helsing Junction because of the low cost per box, good reviews, and for the fact that they weren't sourcing anything that would come in our box, it was all grown by them and entirely seasonal (image source). By eating seasonal, we are taking in our fruits and veggies at the peak of their flavor and nutrients, which is great for our tastebuds and our bodies. While our farm isn't the most flexible option (they don't deliver to our door and we don't have options to switch out items that might not sound good or cancel for a week while we go on vacation), it did rank for us as the most responsible choice, being that our priorities were to eat local, seasonal and organic.

We're only on week two of this new local experiment, but so far it's going really well. It was such a rush picking up our first box last week. Because the transaction is essentially done up front, it just feels like we're being delivered these goodies for fun. It's also encouraging knowing that the food we are choosing to eat is supporting local agriculture and not large corporations. The biggest challenge has been forcing myself to find something to cook every night. Luckily most farms, including ours, will send you recipes that utilize the ingredients they are sending in your box for that week, which has been incredibly helpful. We're also just starting to get the hang of which veggies go rotten or lose their health benefits the quickest. Did you know that your fresh foods lose nutrients each day from the time they are picked? This is especially true for greens.

Will you try a CSA? We didn't know anything about them until just last year when a few friends starting talking about eating locally! It's not too late to do one for this year either. Helsing Junction Farm, in particular, still has about 75 shares available and will prorate you for the weeks you missed. I even convinced one of my coworkers to join last night. Stay tuned for more stories and recipes from our new CSA adventure!


  1. I love that CSA's are becoming more well known. They are a wonderful option for people that do not want to, or are unable to grow their own food. What better way to eat locally and support a small farmer at the same time? Have a wonderful time on your new adventure in the world of CSA food!

  2. I have been using our local CSA for over a year and a half. I love it and it made us try a couple of new veggies. It is really yummy and we feel great eating wonderful local produce and supporting the community! I hope you enjoy yours as well :)


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