For those of you that have been following along this summer, this is the finale of an 8-week blogging series on my experience with my first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
Do you spend at least $25/week on produce? Do you prefer vegetables to fruit? Do you enjoy playing in the kitchen and getting experimental with different ingredients? These are the questions you seriously need to ask yourself before signing up for a community-supported harvest box. So, would I do it again? Yes!
The Good – food traceability. Meaning here’s your chance to know exactly where your food is coming from. Today, more and more growers are trying to help consumers connect with the journey of their food from farm-to-fork and harvest boxes are a great example of this. But using a CSA isn’t the only way you can cut out the middleman; buying produce at your local farmers market is great way too! Besides traceability, being forced to experiment weekly with different ingredients for new dishes was priceless. I try to practice what I preach by buying different produce every week but who am I kidding? Everyone gets in these ruts of buying the same thing over and over again. Well, if you hate food waste this is a great motivator to get dirty in the kitchen!
The Bad – when the week was busy (socially) we had vegetables coming out our ying yang. Just because I’m a dietitian doesn’t mean all I eat is fruits and vegetables, I enjoy my fair share of nachos and pizza too! So the secret here is to share the produce with loved ones (who will make you pie) or freeze the leftover produce. I hope Santa brings me a deep freezer for Christmas. Besides the endless amounts of different produce every week your favourite items might be missing because unfortunately bananas and pineapples do not grow in BC. However, kiwis do!
The Ugly – fava beans! The season has come and gone and I’m glad to see the backside of fava beans. So the lesson here is to again pass along that one vegetable that keeps sticking its ugly head up. Everyone else does this anyway with produce from their garden! “I have a ton of lettuce growing in my garden – here, take some!”
Next steps? Continue to support your local grocery store. I’m lucky enough to have “Farm to Table by Jason” in my community where I can help a local businessman who has the same food values as me, or visit a u-pick berry farm or keep dropping in to your local farmers market for your weekly produce. And CSA’s can be more than just produce! Check out Community Supported Fisheries like Skipper Otto's or Blue Sky Ranch for meat.
If you’re excited to start your own CSA journey – keep your eyes open in May when registration starts up for summer 2018. As for me, I have 10 more weeks of local summer produce to enjoy! And maybe a winter harvest box too…
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