CSA can be great tool for eating well

Are you one of those people who vows to “eat more fresh veggies this year?”

In spring many people have visions of carting armloads of dark green leafy vegetables from their perfectly- cared-for garden to grace the dinner table. I am one of those people that doesn’t get this accomplished nearly as much as I would like. For busy folks like myself, a community supported agriculture farm is a perfect way to help.

How a CSA generally works is that individuals sign up as a subscriber on a farm by paying for a “share.” There are winter shares and summer shares and the sign-up times are different so contact your local CSA farmer for more information on sign-up and deliver times.

By going to www.local harvest.org you will see a list of local CSA farms in your area to serve you. Individuals may also contact local co-ops — which in Sheboygan is Goodside Grocery. I suggest calling the farm and asking about their CSA since there are quite a few options when it comes to share sizes, delivery, cost, season length, locations, varieties of produce and meats, and growing methods. If you want a hands-on experience, ask the farm about a worker share program in which you can save some money on your share in exchange for your labor.

Certainly one can expect that most CSA farms want to provide naturally grown — many times organic produce with high-quality flavor. Supporting a local business and having fresh food from a farmer you know is of high value as well. It’s often stunning to people that lettuce picked that day from the farmer lasts for weeks instead of days in the fridge. The most common reason people join a CSA I suspect, from personal experience, is for health reasons.

Joining a CSA almost certainly will support you in eating those veggies — you paid for them already, right? You may be more adventurous in the kitchen and expand your palate. You may discover that the vegetable you thought you hated really isn’t that bad. Perhaps joining a CSA will force you to finally get serious about that weight loss or health concern your doctor is bugging you about.

It’s incredible how having a farmer as a resource and a community of dozens or hundreds of fellow CSA share members in your network helps you overcome the barrier of eating and buying healthier foods.

Hopefully you have a bit better of an understanding of why a CSA farm can be a great tool for you and your community.

Jake Lambrecht and his family ran the organic CSA farm Garden of Weedin’ for eight years. He is currently the urban farm manager at Nourish and manages the Educational Urban Farm on Geele Avenue