Community Supported Agriculture
Last year, we joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at the Hancock Shaker Village near where we live. If you’re not familiar with CSAs, you can find more information about them here at wikipedia. Basically, you purchase a “share” or half share in our case,upfront and throughout the harvest time, you get a portion of the goodies, usually weekly.
We joined the one at the Shaker Village because frankly, it’s beautiful there. I looked forward to visiting each week and strolling the grounds. I also loved the excitement of checking out what was in our share each week. Most of the items we got were excellent. (I’m not a fan of beets, I would prefer fewer this year LOL) We got a ton of apples, lots of pumpkins, salad greens, onions, cabbage, etc, and I was challenged each week on how to prepare them for my family. I felt like I was giving my family safe and nutritious food. Fresh food that hasn’t been in a truck for days at a time. Food grown with limited pesticides, organic in most cases. I loved that we were able to support this local working farm. I look forward this year in particular because OoTToddler is going to be more appreciative of the animals than she was last year. I can’t wait to see her walking around with the sheep again this year like she did last year.
The cost of joining a CSA varies depending on which one you join and what kind of shares they offer. There are produce CSAs, meat CSAs or even Maple Syrup CSAs (yum!) or combinations of different kinds. Our CSA offered eggs a few times last year along with our fruits and veggies. The chickens were young then, as it was the first year they did the CSA, so we didn’t get eggs very often, but I’m hopeful to get more this year. For $500 a full share or $250 a half share to join the one at the Hancock Shaker Village. OoTDad isn’t a big veggie eater, so we went with half a share last year. Now that OoTToddler is eating more, I think we will bump up to a full share this year. I looked for other CSAs to join locally on this site, but we’ve decided to stick with the HSV due to it’s location and the fun factor for our family. Check out localharvest.org and find one in your area. Ask friends and see if they know of any. For some of my friends from my hometown, I heard that Emily’s Produce will be doing one this year. That’s very exciting! I’ve loved their produce for quite some time and can’t wait to go home in the late spring to get their delicious strawberries!
With the prices of fuel going up, buying locally makes more sense to me. So does supporting small farms. Knowing who is growing your food really gives a sense of community in such an anonymous world we live in now. I hope you’ll follow me in this journey. Lots of updates to come!