Why Buy a CSA Share?

Jordan Aspen will be a regular contributor to the blog, sharing her perspective as a CSA member.

I met Paula at the Farmer’s Market in early spring, a few weeks before the first CSA box would be available. The sign promoting Community Supported Agriculture caught my eye, and then conversation with Paula sealed the deal. I knew I wanted in.

But why, when I was surrounded by other friendly farmers with an array of produce, meat, bread, and more? Why would I choose this CSA over the offerings of other market stalls?

I chose the CSA so that I can become friends with the people producing my food.

Buying my food at a Farmer’s Market gives me the opportunity to meet the people who produce it. I can ask questions and hear stories, and this transparency builds trust. Taking part in the Morning Harvest CSA deepens this relationship because I’m talking to the same farmer every week, getting to know her and the affiliates who contribute to the box instead of rushing from stall to stall to get my shopping done.

Here’s one example of how Paula treats me like a friend: This week’s box contained all kinds of leafy greens. Paula showed me that wrapping them in a towel before storing them in the fridge will help keep them fresh for up to a couple of weeks. (The pictures here illustrate the process.)

Beyond food-storage tips, Paula and the other farmers have a wealth of knowledge regarding the preparation and use of this food. If ever I’m unsure of how to use a new vegetable or cut of meat from my CSA box, I can ask for a recipe. In fact, Paula includes recipes right in the CSA boxes and here on the blog! In a few days I’ll be sharing one or two that use ingredients from next week’s box.

I chose the CSA to streamline my grocery shopping.

My favorite thing about CSA boxes is the fact that I don’t have to shop around or make a list. I hate grocery shopping. Looking at the produce section in the grocery store makes my heart sink as I face all the choices I have to make. I end up buying the same simple items and as a result my meals lack variety. 

Then there’s the Farmer’s Market where I must compare prices and quality because of the many farmers selling from various stalls and it all makes my head spin!

With a CSA box, I made a single decision (sign up!) and now I have all the choices made for me. I automatically receive a variety of foods each week.

It might seem a bit scary at first. What if I don’t know how to use soup bones? What if I don’t like arugula? This is where Paula steps in with recipes and suggestions, helping me embrace the opportunity to try something new. I used to think I didn’t like arugula, but now that I know I can make it into pesto, I’m excited to receive some in next week’s box.

I chose the CSA to secure quality food for my family.

Any Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place to buy fresh food because nothing travels far or has sat around in boxes for long. Tomatoes ripen on the vine, bees visit local flowers to produce their honey, and bread might even still be warm!

Because of the CSA box, I don’t have to arrive at the market at the break of dawn in order to secure the freshest produce. My box is full of fresh vegetables, and not picked-over left-overs, because Paula packed it well before the market opens.

Fresh means in-season. We hardly know what that means anymore! The variety at the Farmer’s Market varies throughout the year. Leafy greens are plentiful in the early spring, while tomatoes overflow boxes in midsummer. And everyone knows when zucchini is in season! In-season produce is the healthiest because it’s growing the way it was designed to grow.

Whatever is most plentiful ends up in the CSA box, and that means plenty of in-season produce!

I chose the CSA because it’s the best way for me to buy my food.

Join me! Reserve your own share so that you, too, can streamline your grocery shopping, eat quality food and become friends with the people who produced it.