I know that the first time I heard about a CSA, I had to stop and ask what this was. For those of you out there that didn’t click the link, “CSA” stand for “Community Supported Agriculture” and if you look for it, you might be surprised to find one near you!
Anywho, I had been looking for a recipe for almond flour cookies and came across Elena’s Pantry. I tried her cookies out and I absolutely LOVED them! With that success, I went back to her site to see what else she had posted out there and that’s when I ran across this post.
She talks about how she’d gotten a lot of spinach in her CSA share that week and that drove her to look for something to do with it, which got me thinking, “How does a CSA work and is there one near me?”
The answer to the latter is YES. We are proud supporters of Koch Ranches and other local farmers by proxy. We started by purchasing a full CSA share and splitting the cost/produce with another couple from our church. A little over halfway into the season, the other couple felt that they weren’t really getting their money’s worth because they do not cook nearly as much as I do, so my husband and I bought them out. The season after, we bought another full share and we’re starting to reconsider this plan. While we LOVE the produce we’re getting, we ARE getting enough food to feed a family of three or four people. Not liking to see good produce go to waste because we can’t get to it all, I think we’re going to get a half share when we renew.
How does a CSA work?
A CSA is a way to support your local farmers by participating in the risk and rewards of farming. If the year is good, the harvest will be plentiful. If the year is a dry one, then the amount of produce is diminished. Shares are bought at the beginning of a “season” and depending on the time of year and your local CSA, it can be anywhere from six to twelve weeks (some even offer to prorate if you’re coming in in the middle of a season, so don’t be afraid to ask!). For the rest of the season, you will get a basket of produce per the terms of your CSA. For example, our full share includes veggies, at least one fruit, herbs, and three meats (Every other week, we get eggs in the place of a meat). The meats are often things like wild boar, lamb, sausage, ground beef (grass fed) and the like. I hope that the winter share will bring venison! (Hey! A girl can dream!)
If you live in the San Antonio area and the idea of a CSA is a little much, don’t worry! Koch Ranches has a storefront where you can sample some locally grown veggies without committing to a share. They can be found here.
I hope this has been informative as you explore healthier, more socially responsible ways to source your food. The key things to remember when taking part in a CSA is that you’re committing to putting some time (and THOUGHT) into your cooking which will require some measure of planning as well as spontaneity!