Benefits of Joining a CSA (Vegetable Share)
Farmer Zoe here from Sterling Organic Farm. In this blog post, I’ll explain what a CSA is, and then I’ll let you know the top three ways joining a CSA with a local farm can help you to reach your health and fitness goals. Please share this article with someone you know who could benefit from joining a CSA!
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Members join by paying their farmer at the beginning of the growing season, to help the farmer pay for seeds, tools and other supplies needed to produce the food. The members then get to enjoy a weekly share of the farm’s produce during the growing season. The community supports the farm to stay in business, and the farm supports the community in enjoying healthy food. Read on to learn all the ways joining a CSA with a local farm can help you in ways you might not have imagined!
A picture of a September CSA share from Sterling Organic Farm.
Top Three Benefits of a Vegetable Subscription CSA
1. Make a long-term change in your diet . . . for good!
Your habits are difficult, but not impossible, to change, and they are one of the top factors in your health. The actions you take day in and day out, including the foods you eat, can result in less or greater degrees of energy, vitality, youthfulness and health that you experience. Research has shown that it takes 66 days for an action to become an automatic habit, that you don’t even have to think about performing anymore. Joining a CSA is a long-term commitment that will help you get through those 66 days that it takes to form a habit. At Sterling Organic Farm, my CSA sessions last for ten weeks, which is enough time to get you hooked on eating healthy, delicious organic vegetables.
I don’t want the wonderful vegetables that I work so hard to grow to go rotten and uneaten in your fridge. I provide my CSA customers with easy recipes that they can incorporate into their busy lives to help them eat all the vegetables in their weekly subscription box. I check in with each of my customers when they come to pick up their box to see how they are enjoying their vegetables, and give them encouragement to get excited to eat healthy. I used to work at a school district where my job was to teach elementary and middle school students to enjoy eating vegetables, so I can even give you tips to help your kids enjoy their veggies.
Below is a picture of a delicious salad made from the vegetables in our July CSA share at Sterling Organic Farm. I like to educate my customers about fun, quick and easy ways to enjoy their veggies.
2. Make new friends who will help you on your journey
When you meet your local farmer to pick up your CSA share, you will bump into the other members of the CSA, and have an instant connection with them. They are getting the same seasonal vegetables in their box each week, and you can talk about which vegetables you are enjoying most, and how you are preparing them. Connecting with like-minded people who also are supporting a local farm and eating the same vegetables is a great way to meet new friends and gain a supportive community. People who have support in reaching their health and fitness goals are much more likely to succeed than those who go it alone.
At Sterling Organic Farm, I enjoy putting on fun events for our CSA members to further enrich the community. We will have farm tours, volunteer days, birdhouse gourd painting classes, and even a carrot pulling party (Have you ever pulled up a carrot right from the ground? It is extremely fun!) Imagine connecting with your new friends at our beautiful farm, surrounded by birds, butterflies, flowers and fresh vegetables ripening on the vine.
In the picture below is me and my family on my farm. I enjoy farming and cooking with my family. When you join our CSA, you become a part of our farm family.
3. Try New Foods
You will never get stuck in a rut with your same weekly meals when you join a CSA. Each week, different vegetables come in and out of season, and you get to branch out and try things you might not have had before. Vegetables that are fresh from the farm have greater sweetness and flavor than vegetables from other locations that might not be so fresh. You might find that you enjoy a vegetable fresh from the farm that you didn’t like before. A local farm can also provide you with vegetables not available in the grocery store. Grocery stores sell vegetable varieties that ship well and last a long time . . . in words, vegetables that are hard and bland. At Sterling Organic Farm, we grow heirloom varieties that were bred for flavor and color. We have delicious yellow tomatoes, purple carrots, and unusual treats from the garden, such as our husk cherries. Eating a variety of colorful vegetables is very important to your health, and there is no better way to achieve that than by joining a CSA.
The changing seasons on the farm bring the beautiful autumn leaves seen below in the picture of our farm house. The changing seasons also bring variety and interest to our CSA as our cold tolerant vegetable varieties come in during autumn and winter.