Sometimes I get into a rut when it comes to shopping for food. I seem to go into autopilot and buy the same items week after week. A good way to jump-start your creative cooking juices is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Every (or every other) week you receive a box of organic, fresh produce directly from local farmers. You can customize somewhat to suit your own taste but the best part can be the element of surprise when you open your box. The next step is giving your imagination a little room to dream up ways of using what you’ve received. If you get stuck, there are often recipes included or you can check with us.
It has become increasingly difficult to know what foods are in season since we can buy just about anything at any time of the year, regardless of where it was grown. Looking at Full Circle Farm’s website, I was able to see a list of what might be included in a box this time of year. Items grown on their farm are indicated, as are items grown in the Pacific Northwest. Once you are a member, you can view your current box contents, make substitutions and add other grocery items like grains from Bluebird Grain Farms. If cost is an issue, CSA’s seem to be a excellent alternative for any budget. A small box runs approximately $30 a week and is the right amount for 2 people. Pioneer Organics offers a “studio box” for $27 for 1 person although they do charge a $3 delivery fee for orders under $33. You can order other grocery items to make up the difference. Medium boxes for families of 4 are about $40 and large boxes are close to $50, depending on which program you join.
Some CSA’s will deliver to your home or business while others have convenient pick-up locations and hours. Most of your transactions and ordering can be done on-line which adds another level of saving time and energy. If making a trip to the Farmers Markets every week is difficult for you, you can still support our local farmers, help preserve farmland, eat in a healthy and sustainable way by joining a CSA program.