Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nurture Your Family - Organic Produce From CSA

Lately I've been thinking a lot about food - specifically, what it is that I'm putting into my body and making for my family everyday. It might be because having a toddler has made me hyper-aware that everything she eats is organic, pesticide-free, chemical-free, and 100% healthy for her growing bones. Or maybe its because the spring season has me thinking about indulging in a cleanse and working on rebooting my well-being with regular exercise, healthy eating and a little less alcohol.  Serendipitously, a few days ago my sister mentioned that she just got her husband a subscription to a CSA for his birthday. "What's that?" I asked. She went on to explain CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a program that allows consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Basically, a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public.  A share is typically a box of vegetables and fruits, but sometimes other farm products can be included. Consumers purchase a share (think membership or subscription) and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. The produce is organic, locally grown and the freshest you can find - 3 ingredients in healthy and delicious meals. 

Planting tomato seedlings at Capay Organic Farm, March 2012.

After some research, I've decided to try the CSA Farm Fresh To You, located in Capay Valley, California. Unlike many CSA's, Farm Fresh To You requires no commitment and you can cancel or suspend your service at any time (great if you travel a lot). It also gives you options for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery which was the lynch pin for me. Although I aspire to cook almost every night, if I manage to do it 4 days a week, I feel like a success. I've started with the monthly delivery and am going to go from there. Also, you can customize your selections with a mostly fruit or mostly vegetable option, so you know what you are going to receive before it shows up on your doorstep. The average box ranges from $22 - $44 which is SIGNIFICANTLY less that what I pay for organic produce at our local market.

To find the CSAs in your area, go to and type in your zip code or state.
Do any of you have a share in a local CSA or have your produce delivered to you? Where do you buy your organic produce? I'd love to hear your experiences and/or recommendations. For those of you in the U.K. or other countries outside the U.S., do you have similar services available to you? I'm still mulling a cleanse and if I take the plunge, I'll definitely report back! Hope you are having a great week!


annie said...

Such pretty photos! Yes they're very popular here in the UK. The most famous is Riverford in Devon - everyone seems to use them.

I've never done it, I don't eat enough veg and I suspect it would just go off in the fridge. I have always wanted to and am waiting for a time in my life where I have the time to look in my box and plan a week's worth of receipts to make with them and have the time to actually make them (one day!).

I had a colleague who did it and she loved it. It was always a surprise as to what turned up and she'd have to get out the recipe books out to work out what the hell to make with a week's worth of cabbage. It was fun listening to her and the really unusual stuff she used to make.

We bought a salad box from Daylesford a couple of weeks ago and that was great fun. Being able to pick your own lettuce was sooooo much nicer than taking it out of the bag. We don't have a garden so it's all a challenge for us although I'm thinking we should start a balcony allotment.


Erin said...

I've been considering joining a CSA for a long time now. Friends of mine do it and swear by it; it not only cuts down on how much they buy at the grocery store, it gives them the peace of mind knowing they're supporting local business AND reaping the benefits of organic food. I eat probably a tomato a day in the summer; Jersey is really known for their tomatoes (and eggplants, apparently?) and a fresh Jersey tomato with sliced mozzarella and basil is like my idea of heaven. I think I'll sign up for a CSA here when we get back from Europe. Thanks for the push! Beautiful photographs, too. Nature really does provide the best colors.

And kudos for being mindful of what you feed your daughter. You'd be surprised how many people simply don't care what they feed their kids. xoxo

Theresa / InspirationCOOP said...

You just reminded me that I have a gift certificate for Beach Greens, which is a farm to door delivery service. I don't know if they are a CSA. All of the points you make above are why I was so excited to receive the gift certificate from Beach Greens (now to use it). :)
PS~I've been wanting to do a cleanse also. If you find some good ones or settle on one that you're going to try, let me know.

tina said...

Ah Jennifer, good on you.

Of course, you probbaly know already that I buy organic and biodynamic food.

Getting a veg box is next best thing and yours looks incredible. In London there are quite a few that do it well.

I'm all for people feeding themselves with real and nutritious food and especially when one has children I believe it is the best present and start in life for them. This and love and affection x

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