If you’re thinking about joining a CSA next year, now’s the time to start making those contacts and getting on the lists of the CSAs your’re interested in. Many people don’t start thinking about this until spring, but if you wait too long, you’ll miss out! Most area CSAs sell out of their shares by the time the first vegetables are harvested.
What’s so great about a CSA? Well, you get fresh produce that is typically grown without pesticide and other nasty stuff. It provides you with an excellent opportunity to eat seasonally – peas in the spring, squash in the fall, etc.
Some CSAs also have alliance with other area growers to provide you with eggs, meat, dairy, and berries, as well. (The CSA our family uses can provide us not only with delicious vegetables, but with eggs, as well.) You get to support a local farmer who is choosing to farm in a sustainable manner, and oftentimes, shareholders build a relationship with the farmer. Many CSAs have activities for shareholders throughout the year, and most CSAs welcome shareholders to visit the farm and check things out in person.
Some things to keep in mind with a CSA:
1) Check when the pick-ups are, and where, and put it on your calendar. It’s your responsibility to be there to pick up your food.
2) Most CSAs grow a variety of vegetables, some of which may be unfamiliar to you. Try them! Find out what they are (usually, the delivery will include a list of what’s in the box) and try a few recipes using the unfamiliar veggies. Just because it’s not peas, beans, or corn doesn’t mean you can’t eat it!
3) Plan ahead if you’re going to miss a delivery. Find out what your CSA’s policy is. You can usually choose to send someone else to get your delivery, which is what our family’s usually done when we go on vacation. Alternatively, you might be able to request that your CSA just divide your delivery up among the other shareholders that week, or donate your delivery to a needy family or shelter.
Looking for a CSA to join this year? Check out the list of references at Natural Living Des Moines.
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