Months and months ago, I got all excited after reading about CSA memberships, found one in my area, and signed up. I got wait-listed and assumed I wouldn't hear back from them until next year when they had new membership openings. But then I got an email two weeks ago saying they had winter shares open. So last night I ventured out to pick up my first CSA share.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and the basic idea is that local farms make some of their food available as public "shares." For my local CSA, you sign up, pay up front for several weeks worth of food, and then each week (or every two weeks in my case, as I purchased a half-share) you pick up a bag of locally-produced groceries. The groceries vary by season and depend on what was brought into the pick-up site for that week. If you want to read more about CSAs or see if there's one in your area, you can visit this website from Local Harvest.
So, what did I get?
It was a pleasant experience--friendly people, lots of extra local produce I can purchase at the pick-up site, and a well-organized pick-up system.
It's going to be a challenge to my grocery routine, but that's part of the reason I wanted to sign up in the first place. I only know what I'm going to get a day in advance, and--in some cases--I have no idea what to do with some of the foods. For instance, I have never even heard of sunroot, which the nice man at the pick-up site told me to sauté with garlic. So I guess we'll be experimenting.
I also think it will force me to eat a little healthier. We've been doing pretty good with the healthy foods, but seeing all of those varieties of lettuce sitting on my refrigerator shelves will force me to figure out ways to include them in my meals.
And bratwurst burgers are delicious!