Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gettin' My Share - A CSA Proves to be the Way

My bi-weekly surprise delivery of incredibly fresh, widely varied top-quality local-only organic vegetables -- it doesn't get much better than this!

What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Aside from picking the produce yourself, it's one of the most direct ways that you can support local farmers. In fact, according to some CSA models, members are required to put in some volunteer time! But CSAs can vary a great deal, so try to one that suits your needs best. Pricing, proximity, agricultural practices, delivery and payment terms are all reasons to choose one CSA over another. And once you start you could get hooked. It represents more than just a healthy, sustainable choice: in many ways, it helps to safeguard our community's short and long term food security.

It started a couple of months ago and I don't want it to ever stop. I've been purchasing home-delivered organic foods and it's one of the smartest decisions that I've ever made. A basic Winter CSA Share from Plan B Organic Farm costs only $25.00. To this I'm perfectly happy to add $5.25 for home delivery, customize to more root vegetables instead of white potatoes, and choose the local food only option at no additional cost. Some CSAs include local, organic produce from a group of growers, sometimes CSAs a grown by a single farm.

For a reasonable price, I have:
  • the convenience of delivery

  • incredibly fresh food

  • better nutrition with less shipping (most of our food travels 2000km)

  • and inspiration to experiment and regularly renkindle my love of cooking

  • given tangible support to our local rural economy
My basket contains an ever-changing variety of local organic produce, featuring, but not limited to: apples, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, parsnips, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, hydroponic lettuce, hydroponic herbs, pumpkin, red onions, sweet onions and squash.

There's a new baked goods option that I'm going to ask Plan B about this week.

Hamilton and Area CSA farms include:

Plan B Organic Farm: 1377 5th Concession WestRR2 Branchton ON N0B 1L0, or call (905) 659-2572

ManoRun Organic Farm: 782 Hwy #52 RR#2 Lynden ON L0R 1T0 (905) 304-8048

Simpler Thyme Organic Farm: 1749 Hwy #6 RR#2, Hamilton L8N 2Z7

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