Your food choices can make the world a better place. Joining a CSA is a great step in the right direction. Participating in a CSA doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle, though, but with a few grocery shopping adjustments, patience, and know-how, you can move the needle of getting quality food on your table and in your life for good.

Find out if committing to a CSA is right for you and your household by considering these questions.

The following 10 qualifications (and there are so many more) are reason enough to consider becoming a member of a CSA in your region:

1. You get to support a local small farm

We love growing for our neighbors, friends, and CSA members. As a CSA member you receive first dibs on the varieties of fresh veg we grow, dibs on surplus for canning and preserving the harvest, and personal access to our knowledge base of usage, storage tips, and other questions about what’s in season.

2. Peak nutrition

We pick our produce just before it goes into CSA boxes, at it peak nutritional value. Washed and kept cool until you pick it up. Our Farm Stand also stocks organic goodies from other local farms such as honey, maple, pickles, and preserves.

3. Full circle diversified farm

We pack our market garden soils with rich compost, vermicompost, and mulches that maximize soil health and feed the microbial life below the surface that make good vegetable plant prolific and healthy. Healthy soil makes healthy food. Expired plants’ stalks and trims go right out to the compost pile to get back in the cycle of life, and surplus produce and fallen fruits are shared with the animals, giving them a delicious variety of foods to supplement their non-GMO feed and pasture foraging.

4. Eat healthy in season

Eating fruits and vegetables in season provides peak vitamins and minerals for the body. We don’t eat tomatoes in January, even though they’re available at the grocery store. Unless, of course, they were canned or preserved in some fashion right after picking. So yes, we do eat tomatoes in January…but only the ones we transformed into salsa, sauces, or just plain jarred or frozen.

5. Expand your fresh food horizons

We love to experiment with some of those wacky outlier plants like kohlrabi, asian beans and greens, and other foods that are rare to see in this neck of the woods. Variety is the spice of life, they say. You never know what you’re going to fall in love with, and sometimes we can be delightfully surprised with new flavors and ingredients.

6. Happy, healthy farm animals

We’re on a path to become Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) for our pork, and strive to make their time on this farm an exceptional experience. Our pigs get to live their ‘best life’ on pastures teeming with tasty forage vegetation, and we share our garden trims with them, along with delicious kitchen scraps from a restaurant in downtown Middlebury. Nothing goes to waste here, and everyone benefits. Our animals are fed a healthy diet of non-GMO (or organic if available) feed, supplemented with all the bugs, worms, and pasture plants they can eat. Happy pigs (and chickens and turkeys) make tasty meat.

7. Carbon Farming

Carbon Farming is a term used to describe the reclaiming of carbon from the atmosphere, and getting it back into the ground. Plants, whether a forest, sugarbush, or garden, draw that atmospheric carbon back down into the soil, helping reduce our carbon footprint. The more plants in the ground, the more carbon the soil is absorbing. We plant something new in just-harvested beds, whether edibles or cover crops. By also not tilling the soil (we are a no-till farm), we aren’t pumping carbon back into the air, thereby reducing our footprint here at the farm further. It’s a win win for the soil, the air, the earth, and your CSA box.

8. Diet Diversity

We grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in our market gardens, from staples like tomatoes, cukes, and kale, to specialty items like heirloom squash, shiso leaves, kohlrabi, and pea vines. CSA box contents will vary from week to week, and there shouldn’t be a dull moment inside.

9. Kitchen Hacks & Tips to make the most of a CSA box

Your CSA investment should not only include the goods – abundant fresh food – but should also include a roadmap on how to use it all. From recipe ideas, to storage and preservation tips that will help you get the most bang for your CSA buck. Your farmer really wants you to succeed and a member and should help you every step of your CSA journey. You can’t get that from a grocery store.

10. Neighbors feeding neighbors

Our location makes it an easy drop in to pick up your weekly box, and the Farm Stand will also have more items if there’s something else you’re looking for to complete your menu for the week. We’re small, but have so much to share with our neighbors and community. We also pledge to deliver surplus veg to our local food shelf. Everyone deserves fresh, nutritious food, and we like to be a part of a healthy, well-fed community.

 

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash