Its official. Today I sent in my check for Doe Run Farms' "Farm to Table" CSA which means starting May 26th I'll be receiving "1/2 a bushel box chocked full of the best vegetables, berries, salad fixins, melons, and fruit that the peak of the summer season offers!"
For those that dont know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and has become quite popular recently across the US. Basically the way CSA works is that people (consumers) pay up front for a share of the harvest of the crops from a nearby farm. By having consumers pay ahead of time, local farmers can cover up front costs of farming and not worry about losing their shirts with a bad season. Then when harvesting begins consumers are guaranteed a portion of the crop. Typically every week or two pickups or deliveries are made of the crops harvested that week.
The main advantage here is that the consumer gets access to fresh produce throughout the summer at a good price. Additionally, by buying locally the "carbon footprint" from that consumer's produce is greatly reduced. Ever think about how much energy it takes to get strawberries from California or bananas from Ecuador? The downside though is that you get what you get. In other words one week you may get two pounds of kale while the next week you get a couple of heads of cabbage.
Fortunately I live near some pretty fertile farmland so my farm, Doe Run, boasts kale, onions, carrots, lettuce, past tomatoes, okra, summer squash, cauliflower, spinach, purple hull and zipper peas, hot and sweet peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and peaches. Additionally they are located very close by in Southern Tennessee and the food is delivered to a pick up location only half a mile from my apartment. They are also Certified Organic, which is a nice bonus.
As I mentioned, you get what you get each week so I'll be looking forward to trying some new dishes as a recipe is provided each week as well. More importantly though I'm really excited about getting some great tasting fruits and veggies while supporting a local farmer.