community supported agriculture

By Wednesday, January 06, 2010 ,

I just received an email from our CSA farm, Driftless Organics, about this coming season. I know, I know, it's been below zero for days, there is snow on the ground — how can I be thinking about summer? But, it will be here before you know it and it's fun to imagine it being warm and sunny again.

Last year was our first year with Driftless and it was a great experience. The produce was beautiful, the newsletters were informative, the recipes were great and I loved being able to pick it up at my favorite breakfast and lunch spot, Mermaid Cafe. We did the every-other-week share so that I could go to the Dane County Farmers' Market on the off weeks. It worked well, and while sometimes you had to be creative in order to eat everything (like the enormous head of cabbage!), the produce lasts so much longer in the fridge because its super fresh since a truck didn't have to drive from California or Mexico to bring it here.

I would highly recommend doing a CSA this year for several reasons:
1. You know where your food is coming from — and the people who grew it, harvested it and packed your box.
2. It will be the freshest, most vitamin-rich produce you can get.
3. It's like getting a present every week or two — there are always a few (good) surprises in your box.
4. It will inspire you to try new foodstuff, experiment with new recipes and eat less meat, all of which is good for your health and the planet's.

If you live in the Madison area, check out there are some great resources to locate a farm:
1. REAP Food Group: an excellent resource for eating locally, seasonally and responsibly; check out their annual Farm Fresh Atlas for a comprehensive list of area farmers and producers.
2. MACSAC: an organization that supports and promotes CSAs in Southern Wisconsin. They have a great list of CSAs from which to choose.

To search nationally: Check out the Robyn Van En Center which provides information on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs located both nationally and internationally. Here's a link to their CSA database.

Happy eating ... locally, -s.

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