Thinking about signing up for a CSA but want to learn more about the idea before you commit?
For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.
Our very own Laura Dritlein signed up for a CSA…
CSA Produce Boxes – Bringing the farm to your table
I picked up our first CSA box on Wednesday, July 5. It was heavy with green leaves overflowing from the top of the box. I could smell the Dill. This was the first year I purchased a CSA share and wasn’t sure what to expect. My sister in Minnesota told me about the variety of veggies she would get from her CSA boxes which convinced me to look into it further. In February, when there was snow on the ground, I searched the internet and found a CSA farm in Hartland that had a pick up location on my route home from work. I paid $250 to Full Harvest Farm in exchange for a box of produce, every other week, from around the end of June to November. Then I waited while they worked.
Under the CSA Community Supported Agriculture concept, a CSA farm is supported by the people who buy its produce. Members of the community can purchase a share of that produce, and receive fresh vegetables on a regular basis. The money is used to pay for the seed, fertilizer, equipment, supplies and the labor needed to grow crops on the farm. By investing in a CSA share, you’re spending your money locally, and reducing your dependence on commercially grown food that is trucked or flown in from across the country or across the world.
There are many CSA farms in the southeastern Wisconsin area. We have three college age kids and our family doesn’t cook full dinners much anymore. I wasn’t sure if I would use up an entire box of veggies each week, so I opted for a box every other week.
Full Harvest Farm sends a newsletter each week. Luckily, it tells you what will be inside the box, and even better, what to do with it. I’d never heard of Garlic Scapes and thought I was getting in over my head. What am I supposed to do with that? Settle down, it’s just the green tops of a garlic plant that you chop up and use just like Garlic.
I can do that.
Our box contained:
The couples box turned out to be just the right size.This weekend I roasted the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and they tasted like buttered popcorn. Yummy. I made a Dill Sauce that went over Salmon and I used the recipe from the newsletter to make the Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks. They turned out crispy. I have never sautéed Beet stalks and leaves, but they were tasty too. I plan to make a Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing one night this week.
To bring my whole CSA box story full circle, we ate at a restaurant Saturday night in the Walker’s Point area called Braise. We picked it because they offered roof-top dining. But, we found they get their produce from area farmers and Full Harvest Farm was on their list.
I never thought I’d get so enthusiastic about veggies, but there we were gathered around our table Sunday night, my husband, daughter, son and his girlfriend, enjoying the great food that came out of the CSA box.
I’m looking forward to picking up our next one.
For more information, please click on one of the links below.
Find a CSA farm near you
Read previous newsletters
This is our 3rd summer doing one and we split our share with another family. We use a lot of the greens and tops to feed our tortoise and love grilling the fresh veggies! I’m able to freeze or can some things if we end up getting more than we can consume.