Most of us buy our fresh fruit and vegetables from the local supermarket or a big box store. You’ll predictably find the same items in stock, and they’re pretty reliable. Do you want make a change and try food that’s fresher and locally grown?
Join your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA is the perfect place to get the freshest tasting fruit and vegetables. When you receive your box share, it will be filled with all the vegetables you selected upon joining.
It’s nice to know that your veggies & fruit don’t have to travel very far after they’re picked before landing on to your kitchen table. You’ll eat what’s in season, and the boxes you receive offer varieties of fruit & vegetables that you probably wouldn’t buy on your own.
Remember, variety is the spice of life, so expect the unexpected and have fun with it.
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Some of Your Supermarket Produce Can Be A Few Months Old!
Although the fruits & vegetables in your supermarket look fresh, some have traveled from very far away to get there, and they are not always in season. For supermarkets to provide their customers produce that is out of season, they need to cold store and treat some of their produce chemically to preserve it longer. Produce is usually picked before it ripens so that it will not spoil during the long journey.
As an example, apples are in season between August and September. For stores to keep them fresh and available in the off season, apples are kept in cold storage and treated with chemicals, and some are over a year old.
The advantage of belonging to a CSA is that your apple will be picked in your local farm straight from the orchard when it is fully ripened. The apple will be fresher and more nutritious than the one you purchased in the supermarket.
💡 Did you know that commercially grown potatoes can easily be a year old, by the time you purchase them at the supermaket?
Did you know that some CSA’s offer meat and eggs?
Yes, depending on where you live, you can find fresh chickens, bison, lamb, or pork. It’s an opportunity to learn what type of food the animals are fed, i.e., grains, vegetables, etc. Do the animals graze outdoors?
Free-range animals have a more natural existence and are healthier.
Your Share Will Vary Depending On The Growing Season
Keep in mind that weather conditions, farming practices, and bug infestations may affect the growing season and as a result what you receive in your share will also be affected. Before joining, ask the CSA about their farming practices.
Are they organic? What type of pesticides do they use? Have they encountered a season where Mother Nature affected the harvest? The way they answer these questions will help you decide which CSA is right for you.
Why do my fruits & vegetables look so different?
If you’ve never experienced eating fruits or vegetables straight from a tree, bush, or ground, they may look a little different, but in a good way.
Your tomatoes may have different shapes and may have color variations; carrots may have extra bushy leaves on the ends, the scallion’s long roots may have a little extra dirt on them. It’s all good. Fresh produce straight from the farm tastes fantastic.
Freeze Your Leftover Fresh or Cooked Veggies
If you have more veggies or fruit than you can eat from your CSA share, just freeze the leftovers. We place ours either inside reusable freezer bags or plastic containers.
We’ve frozen squash and onions in our freezer for months and then cooked them – they were great.
Freezing makes prepping meals a breeze. We cut up the veggies before we freeze them, that way all you have to do is take the frozen cut up veggies from the freezer and place them straight into the frying pan.
It’s a piece of cake!
Tip: If your veggies have a little freezer burn or have an ice layer around them, simply rinse them in cold water before cooking. They’ll be as good as new.
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Where do I find my local CSA & Other Resources?
When you’re ready, check-out Local Harvest https://www.localharvest.org/csa/
A list of CSAs in All 50 States –Modern Farmer
Eat Wild – Eat Wild
Have fun on your new food journey and meeting your local farmers.