“CSA” stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and for over 25 years, CSA’s have been connecting consumers to local, seasonal food from farmers in their community. While technically you can support community agriculture through things like farmer’s and local markets, CSA’s of today has become synonymous with a once-a-week or biweekly box full of local, seasonal produce delivered right to your door (or close to it!).
Each CSA looks a little different, but there are similar in theory. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically, these shares are boxes full of fruits and vegetables and other fresh produce. Some CSA’s deliver shares right to your door, while others are sent to a convenient pickup center. Some boxes feed 2 people, while others allow you to pick and choose for however many you please. Even more, depending on the farm, you may also have the option of purchasing a share that includes eggs, meats, dairy, baked goods, fresh flowers, or other farm products.
Benefit Number One: You’re Supporting Your Local Community
It’s no secret that local products tend to be pushed out by their larger scale, commercial competitors. If we as consumers stop supporting our local farmers, our only food option ends up being food from large, profit-driven farms. And that food isn’t always cultivated with care. Purchasing CSA shares helps keep small farms alive, supports the local economy, and offers more opportunity to those wanting to grow food the way it was intended.
Belonging to a CSA also gets you closer to the food you eat, the people who grow it, and those with the same ideas about food cultivation. CSA’s give you the change to know exactly where your food is coming from and allows you to build a relationship with them. And then, when you have questions about food or how to prepare it, you can simply ask the farmer. You have that direct line of communication to ask things like “What kinds of pesticides or chemicals do you use?” or “I’ve never prepared [insert name of produce here], do you have a good recipe I could follow?”.
It Encourages More Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
It’s hard to ignore eating your veggies when they show up on your doorstep each week. No matter how much you enjoy produce, it’s always harder to consume it when it isn’t around. CSA’s get rid of the excuses and keep you from getting in a food rut!
Not to mention, the food you’re receiving each week is super fresh. So fresh, your food was most likely still connected to the earth earlier that day! CSA produce doesn’t get shipped on a truck across the country. And nor does it sit on shelves in cans or frozen packages of preservatives. And because the food is so fresh, this produce will actually last longer than their store-bought counterparts.
New Skills and Produce to Get You Out of Your Recipe Rut
For some people, it can be really easy to fall into a recipe rut. Once you find convenient recipes, it’s easy to eat them over and over again. CSA’s actually take you out of the driver’s seat and encourage you to try things you normally wouldn’t. Not to mention, trying new produce also means learning new ways to prepare it.
Some people who belong to CSA’s end up with an abundance of certain produce. And that means they challenge themselves to find new ways to prepare and store it. Those who follow a zero-waste lifestyle often turn to canning or freezing techniques. Not only will your recipe repertoire grow, but so will your skills in the kitchen!
You’re Eating in Season
We actually weren’t designed to eat the same frozen lean cuisine all year-round. There’s a reason that certain foods only grow during certain times of the year. CSA’s can only sell what they are able to grow, meaning you are being provided with the freshest of the fresh. Supermarkets have conditioned us to eat without consideration or awareness of season. But this natural, seasonal flow of healthy produce is extremely important for our health and well-being.
CSA’s Save You Money
Buying directly from farmers cuts out the middle man and transportation cost of your food. Purchasing the same locally grown produce at the grocery store means you pay increased prices. That’s because these big commercial stores need to make a profit. With a CSA, the middleman has been eliminated, keeping your costs down. Plus, when you have a refrigerator full of fresh produce each week, you won’t want to order delivery or go out to eat as much.
CSA’s also ensure less food waste as they only send as much as you ordered, eliminating over buying. You can plan a menu based on the produce sent to you each week. This makes it easier to commit to the food you already have, not to mention, it’s usually much healthier too!
Local Cranberry and Pittsburgh Area CSA’s
Consider using these local Cranberry and greater Pittsburgh Area CSA’s:
- Edible Earth Farm
- Brenckle’s Organic Farm and Greenhouse
- Kretschmann Farm
- Penns Corner Farm Alliance
- Cherry Valley Organics
- Rivendale Farm
- Who Cooks For You
- Blackberry Meadows Farm
- Harvest Valley Farm
- Sarver’s Hill Farm & CSA
Let Zock Family Chiropractic Help You Fuel Your Health
Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Dr. Zock would love to discuss your concerns with regard to nutrition. Her vast knowledge of natural supplementation and body processes make her a great guide in helping you make the best choices for your body. Contact our office in Cranberry today to schedule an introductory chiropractic treatment session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of our initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!