CSA (“community supported agriculture”) programs are a wonderful way to eat the freshest, highest quality, and most nutritious produce available in your area. Here are four tips to help you make the most of your program:
1. Be flexible and creative
A CSA share offers a wholly different experience in eating and preparing food than shopping with a list at a grocery store. With a CSA, you must be willing to relinquish a certain degree of control over what you eat because you never know exactly what you’ll get. Meals take on a life of their own and the process is wonderful!
2. Devise a strategy for handling extras
There will be some weeks, especially at the peak of the summer harvest, when you will wonder how it’s possible to eat that many vegetables before the next round arrives. The good news is you don’t have to. Focus on eating the produce that spoils first, such as salad greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Then wash, dice, and freeze the leftovers. or share with friends!
3. Read the farm’s newsletter diligently
A good CSA farmer is involved with his or her community. At Rancho Buen Día we send a weekly email to our members with a list of the vegetables they will be receiving, a recipe or two and storage or preparation tips about some of the less common produce that we harvest.
4. Visit the farm
Members are always welcome to visit the farm and to contact their farmers with any questions they may have. It strengthens the relationship between consumer and farmer – always a good thing – and encourages transparency. Farm tours are a lot of fun for kids, too, especially when they realise that the same vegetables they eat at every meal come from a place they’ve visited.