Three things I love about my CSA

I picked up my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box last might and was reminded how much I love participating in a CSA. While I love it for many reasons, here are just a few:

1. Fresh produce. The fruits and vegetables are typically harvested the day of the delivery, or within a day. You don’t find that at the grocery store.

2. Seasonal produce. You always know what’s in season. We’re getting an abundance of tomatoes and melons now. In a few months we’ll be overrun with turnips. I like knowing that I’m eating foods when they’re meant to be eaten. No January tomatoes or August asparagus for my family!

3. Supporting local farmers. My CSA is from the Capay Valley, located about 100 miles from where I live. I can go visit the farm, participate in potlucks and festivals there. The produce is organic and the employees are employed year-round ensuring job stability and stable lives for the workers and their families.

At $16 a week for what is sometimes more than what we can eat, it truly is priceless.

I get my CSA through Full Belly Farm. Find one in your area here.

CSAs mushrooming in China

It was with a great hope that I read an NPR story this weekend about Little Donkey Farm, the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in China. As has happened in the U.S. and other parts of the world, China’s youth are moving away from the country and into cities for higher paying jobs and better opportunities.  What this means is better living through chemistry for China’s farmers who are using millions of tons of synthetic fertilizers and other modern technologies to grow enough food to feed the world’s largest population. As this technology abounds, so too do food safety threats and environmental perils.

So you can understand why it was refreshing to read about a Chinese graduate student, who after working on a CSA farm in Minnesota, was inspired to start her own in a remote village northwest of China’s capital. The farm is completely organic, and according to NPR, more people in China are seeking organic food. The CSA program has grown to a whopping 700 members. Little Donkey Farm’s success has been followed by more than forty additional CSA farms sprouting up in China indicating that as with other western trends, many of China’s citizens are looking to return to their roots.

I’ll eat this week’s Full Belly share with our friends at Little Donkey in mind.

A lovely end of summer CSA

Summer’s coming to a close. At least it is in the rest of the country. Here in the Bay Area, our afternoons are in the mid-eighties, and we’re finally pulling out our sundresses while everyone else is dusting off their sweaters. This week’s CSA still reflects the height of summer with a rainbow of colors. In today’s box we found beautiful eggplant, edamame (this is a first for us) red Russian kale, corn, heirloom tomatoes, and what we’re told is the last of the melon harvest for the year. Soon though, I have to come to terms with it. Fall’s coming.

What will you miss most about summer?