It’s not too soon to think “Summer CSA!”

CSA basketYes, I know the snow is still flying for some of us, but my friends, it is NOT too soon to think “summer CSA”.  It’s just the right time, in fact, because many CSAs have already opened up reservations for summer participation.

But first things first!… you know about CSAs, right?

If not, here’s a little bit of explanation:  CSAs, or community supported agriculture, are the best way to share in the bounty of the freshest, organic, locally-grown produce and foods.  It’s a partnership between farms and community individuals who support the growing and production of food.  Members “purchase” a share of the harvest and are usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of fruits and vegetables (and sometimes even dairy, meats and grains).CSA harvest

It’s the perfect scenario… you get fresh and organic foods, support local growers and farms, AND avoid the CO2 emissions created to bring your food from other parts of the country… or world, for that matter!

Last year we participated in a CSA with Fresh Fork Market.  If you’re lucky enough to be in Cleveland, take a look because… yes, they’re taking reservations NOW!  Last year, during the 22 weeks of summer, our CSA participants sampled over 350 different products from 62 local farmers.  At year’s end, Fresh Fork proudly spent over $300K with local farmers! THAT gives me the warm fuzzies!  Not only was I serving my family fabulous, organic food but we ALSO helped generously support local farmers and the local economy.  Everyone wins in that scenario!

straw1If you aren’t in Cleveland but want to find a CSA in your area check out Local Harvest or Biodynamics to put you in the right direction.

Get on board, sign-up, eat organic and support your farmers… I promise, you won’t regret it!

(These are our strawberries from last year… NO methyl iodide included!)  🙂

Grab your CSA and get fresh!!!

The clock is ticking!  Have you grabbed your CSA yet???

CSA basketCSAs, or community supported agriculture, are the best way to share in the bounty of the freshest, organic, locally-grown produce.  It’s a partnership between a farm operation and community individuals who support the growing and production of food.  Members “purchase” a share of the harvest and are usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of fruits and vegetables (and sometimes even dairy and meat).

It’s the perfect scenario… you get fresh and organic produce, support local growers and farms, AND avoid the CO2 emissions created to bring your produce from other parts of the country… or world, for that matter!

… so what’s with the ticking clock???  Well, many CSAs are getting ready for the season and probably filling up… quickly.  You certainly want to get your spot now, so to find a CSA in your area check out Local Harvest or Biodynamics.farmrs mkt

If a CSA isn’t the way to go for you, and you just want to locate a local farmer’s market, you can also check another area of Local Harvest or the Farmer’s Market site.

Luckily, I WON a spot in a local CSA at EarthFest at our Zoo!  (Yes, for a change {instead of me looking for a winner} I was the winner!)  I will be sharing in the bounty of Fresh Fork Market, so if you’re in or around Cleveland check them out… there are a few membership spots left!

Now don’t wait a second longer… grab your CSA!!!

Summer and the most organic produce has arrived…

lettuce-gardenSummer has arrived!  Yippee!

Not only does summer gift us with the best weather of the year, endless opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy every activity imaginable but also the gift of the freshest organic produce to grace our tables (“hold” the harmful and dangerous pesticides!).

In fact, this weekend while visiting my in-laws house, I was assembling a wonderful BLT (I normally steer clear of bacon, but it smelled so temptingly good, I couldn’t stop myself!), but the lettuce was fresh from my mother-in-law’s garden so it felt a little more justifiable.  It was so organic that I actually had to wash off the dirt and lovingly picked off two tiny little green bugs and released them back into the yard!  (My sister-in-law and niece thought I was nuts!) If the lettuce had come from the grocery store I probably would have squealed in horror, but knowing it came from a true organic garden, it just kind of felt accefarmers-produceptable!

Maybe you have a backyard garden (not me, unfortunately… we have far too many trees and ravenous deer… they’ve even come onto my patio to get my veggies when I’ve attempted to grow them!).  If you were lucky enough to participate in a CSA, you’re probably already enjoying some amazing bounty.  But if not, remember to take advantage of the season.  Locate your nearest farmer’s market (check Local Harvest or the Farmer’s Market sites if you need help) and indulge in locally-grown, organic produce while you can.

Remember the dirty dozen and the clean 15 too… the necessary and unnecessary organic produce, if you feel you need to pick and choose what to buy.

Since our own garden isn’t an option in the foreseeable future, I will be visiting the local farmers markets and taking my mother-on-law up on her offer to “come by and just take what I need”… the dirt and bugs are just a part of nature’s goodness!

CSAs: Farming for city folk!

One of my greatest memories as a kid was summers spent gardening and growing at our school farm.

A local farm, outside of the city, rented a portion of their land to the school district and students could then rent a plot for a whopping $5!  They gave you the seeds, the tools, the water… you provided the work.  I just remember it being so, so rewarding (and let me tell you, I cultivated one serious vegetable garden!).  My mom and I often had what we called “Garden Dinners” that were strictly the veggies I had grown and I had so much excess we gave away a ton of produce too… I was very popular with the neighborhood parents!  And let me also tell you, since they were fresh and pesticide- and herbicide-free, they were AMAZING!

Even if you’re a city dweller or suburbanite, have no room for a garden, no time for a garden, no desire to garden, you can still reap the benefits of wonderful fresh produce through your local CSA.

CSAs are “community supported agriculture”.  In a nutshell, it’s a partnership between a farm operation and community individuals who support the growing/production of food.  Members “purchase” a share of the harvest and are usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of fruits and vegetables (and sometimes, dairy and meat).

If this type of commitment isn’t for you, you can also consider local farmer’s markets.  By supporting local farms, you will not only be offered the freshest, organic harvests but you will be one step further in your pursuit of being eco, because your organics won’t have the carbon footprint of shipping and transportation from some foreign grown produce.

Considering the time of year it may feel strange to be thinking about next summer’s harvest (especially if you live in a northern climate, like me! —  it’s SNOWING… a lot!… unseasonably early!) but believe me, many CSAs are filling up now for 2009, so don’t wait if you want to give it a try.

To find a CSA in your area, you can check Local Harvest or Biodynamics.

If you want to locate a local farmer’s market, you can also check another area of Local Harvest or the Farmer’s Market site.

And if you have a lot of extra produce, feel free to invite me over for a “Garden Dinner!”