Oooo, I’m amped up with excitement. It’s like Christmas for chefs, foodies & healthy home cooks alike. The energy buzz is palpable. For the past few weeks, whenever I see friends and fellow members around town, we flash tooth-filled smiles and remind each other that summer’s about to start.
Last week, our summer CSA started! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and are a must have for busy mamas who want to raise a healthy family. As a member of a CSA, you’re guaranteed a beautiful box of fresh, in-season produce from local farms every week for approximately twenty weeks (mid-June to mid-October).
Some CSAs provide a member pick-up area where you have choice over your produce options while others pre-pack the boxes with a variety of what’s available. If you’re starting to have a panic attack about someone else choosing your veggie options, please take a deep breath and hear me out: I’m sure you’re great at picking out veggies, but it’s time you let someone else take care of it for you. You have enough to do, Mama. Consider the extra 20-30 minutes of time a week a gift from local farmers. You’ll have nothing to worry about if you choose an established CSA that has great member reviews, find one near you on Local Harvest.
If you’re still not convinced that a CSA is right for you, here are six main reasons that might sway you:
1. Maximum Nutrients. Eating produce picked at peak from a farm within a 100-mile radius of your home gives your body the maximum nutrition possible. Most produce in grocery stores is picked before ripe (i.e., before it hits peak nutrition) & artificially ripened with gas while on the journey to your local store. Gross!
2. A Healthy Family Ritual. Bringing your family to CSA pick-ups establishes a more direct relationship with your food and the local community. Plus, studies show when kids are involved in selecting their food, they’re more likely to try new foods.
3. Simplified Meal Planning. Instead of staring at a blank piece of paper when deciding what to feed your family each week, you now have somewhere to start. This saves me at least 20 minutes of unnecessary doodling. Plus, most CSAs share delicious, simple recipes for trying any unusual produce in the weekly share. That’s free inspiration!
4. Convenient Wellness. You’ll have no excuse to not eat your veggies. With a CSA, your fridge will be bursting with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in beautiful colors enticing you to better health.
5. Seasonal Needs. The growing season is aligned with what your body needs most at specific times of the year. So, when dandelion greens arrive in your CSA box, it may be scary but it’s a good thing. In the spring/summer, your body needs to detoxify from the heavy, grounding foods consumed in the winter. Dandelion greens are the perfect detoxification food!
6. Support Local Families. When you buy a CSA, you’re technically paying a farmer to plant and harvest produce for you. In addition to guaranteeing local farmers and their staff a paycheck (which lessens their stress and produces better quality produce), your money helps sustain your local community!
If you’re a CSA member, what’s in your box this week? If you haven’t joined a CSA yet, what’s keeping you from signing up? Share with us in the comments.