Karen Wright Tells Us How To Bring the Farmer’s Market Home: Just in Time for the Spring Growing Season
Bring the Farmer’s Market Home
By Karen Wright
Join a CSA
This is the time of year where people of certain backgrounds search for things like Easter eggs or matzo.
One good thing to search for is a CSA. CSA stands for Community Sustainable Agriculture.
Being a member of a CSA is an opportunity to foster a special relationship with a small farmer and members of one’s community. Each member gets an allotment of produce each week which is picked up at a designated location. Most CSAs require a few volunteer hours during the season to help with distribution.
The farmer is helped with his/her upfront costs while benefiting the environment by reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting food. Many of the CSA farmers use natural pesticides or minimal chemical pesticides so there is less impact on one’s health and the environment.
Many CSA farmers use growing methods comparable to that of a certified organic farmer although not all of the CSA farmers go to the expense of getting certified. Since the farms are local and the produce is freshly picked the delivered vegetables and fruit contain more nutrients than those picked weeks before being shipped long distances.
Since the money is paid upfront for a product that cannot be seen, touched or tasted for many months there is a possible liability that there will be no crops and the investment will be lost. For the many years that I have belonged to the Ditmas Park CSA this has never been an issue and during some of those seasons there were heavy rainfalls which could have destroyed the crops.
It is fun to get the surprise bounty of varied vegetables each week. Creating new recipes with the loot and exchanging them with other CSA members is part of the rewarding experience. Any extra vegetables can be frozen for the winter months when the locally fresh produce is unavailable.
The “LocalHarvest” website (http://www.localharvest.org) lists places in the United States where you can find CSAs, farms and farmers markets. If you live in the New York area “Just Food” (http://www.justfood.org/) is a good resource.
Support your small local farmer by sharing in his/her bounty and challenges. Get to know your farmer.