Last year I posted about joining a CSA – community supported agriculture – also called a farm share. Now that the 20 week 2016 CSA season has passed, I wanted to give you all my thoughts on participating.
Benefits of being a farm share member
Being a farm share member was awesome. For 20 weeks, I received 7 organic, locally grown veggies and fruits. Look at my fridge, above – just 5 of the 7 items filled the top shelf! The produce was excellent quality, and I knew I was getting good-for-me food without the chemicals and coatings that are often on standard grocery store fruits and veggies.
Being part of a farm share, I was exposed to foods that I had never tired, foods that I probably never would have tried. This was great for simply making me try new things, but also helps improve my health by adding variety to my diet. Plus, I had to learn how to cook new foods, which introduced me to new favorite recipes! I now know how to cook turnips in a way that I enjoy them (roasted), and I learned that you can roast pumpkin! Towards the end of the summer I was eating a lot of roasted veggie dishes – roasting was an easy way to prepare onions, potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, turnips, and carrots. With a little olive oil and spices, the veggies tasted great, and made a nice meal mixed with rice or quinoa and roasted chickpeas.
Additionally, being part of the farm share made for nearly one-stop shopping each week. When I don’t get produce from the farm, I often have to go to 2-3 stores to find the produce I want in a quality I will accept. With the farm share, I can get all my produce on once place, and choose one grocery store for my filler foods.
I also really love that all the food is locally grown. Buying local not only supports the local economy, but also is better for the environment, cutting down on transportation and the associated fuel use.
Overall, the cost of the farm share is quite reasonable, given all of the benefits (excellent quality, organic, variety, exposure to new produce types, one stop shopping, supporting local business). I was so pleased with my first year as a CSA member that I signed up for the 2017 season.
My local CSA
If you’re in the Aquidneck Island area and interested in joining a farm share, I highly recommend Garman Farm. They’re currently accepting applications for the 2017 season. And this year, they are offering a half share as well (pick up every other week), which might be a good fit if you’re overwhelmed with the thought of 7 items/week for 20 straight weeks. (For one or two people, the full share is a lot of produce.)
The cost for the 2017 Garman Farm CSA is $528 for a full 20 week share of 7 items per week. This comes out to $528/20 weeks=$26.40 per week; $26.40/7 items = $3.77 per item. (Note that “one” item may be 2-3 squash or tomatoes, a quart of potatoes, a bunch of greens, a pumpkin, etc.).
Have you ever been a part of a farm share? Can you recommend a great farm share in your area?