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Why a CSA Is Good For You

Healthy Eating Tip: Join a CSA

With local and organic food having such a high price tag, it can be hard to eat in a sustainable way. One way I've gotten around the high costs is by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The idea of a CSA is pretty simple — consumers pay farmers directly for a portion of their crop. It's a huge benefit to my health, and my money goes directly to a small, family-owned farm.

To give you an idea of how a CSA works, I'll use mine as an example. I pay $23 each week for enough produce to feed two people. My last box contained four Braeburn apples, four oranges, two pounds of heirloom tomatoes, one bunch of broccoli, two pounds of red potatoes, one pound of zucchini, one pound of green beans, one bunch of basil, and one head of red lettuce. All of the produce was grown on an organic farm located 90 miles from my home in San Francisco. For an additional fee I can also request organic dairy products, grass-fed meat, and Fair Trade coffee.

For tips on choosing a CSA,


Although the basic idea of a CSA is the same no matter which you choose, details vary among farms. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a CSA.

  • Decide how you want your produce box delivered. Many CSAs offer home delivery, while other CSAs leave boxes at convenient pick-up points in your town or city.
  • Membership is either calculated by the season or on a month-to-month basis. You'll save even more money if you can pay for the entire season at once.
  • Most CSAs choose what produce they deliver each week. Don't be alarmed —recipes are usually included and you can expect the best the season has to offer, as well as staple items. There are some CSAs that will let you pick and choose specifically what you'd like in your box that week based on their crop.
  • CSAs are beginning to offer much more than produce. If you are interested in meat, dairy, baked goods, and other eatables, shop around.

Visit the Local Harvest website to find a CSA near you.

Source: Flickr User 427


Join The Conversation
robynhannah robynhannah 7 years
Biarose, I was worried about the same thing. But! I've found that most stuff stays pretty fresh when stored correctly. My CSA sends out a weekly newsletter with specific storage guidelines- what goes in the fridge, what stays on the counter, what to cut, etc. (Did anyone else know that the best way to store Basil is in a little vase like a flower arrangement!? I had no idea!) Some things do need to get gobbled up pretty quick. I just adjust my dinner plans accordingly. I often find that I still have a bunch of fresh produce still packed in my crisper when it's time for my next pick up. (Great excuse to throw a dinner party!)
biarose biarose 7 years
But do you find that if you can only get produce once a week, it's not fresh enough towards the end of the week? I like to buy fresh produce every few days, so it's nice and fresh, but there is no way for me to get organic produce that way!
robynhannah robynhannah 7 years
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my CSA. I'm in the SF Bay area and I use Two Small Farms. I think it works out to about 22 bucks a week for a super giant box of goodies. They also have a 4 week trial so you can give them a shot before you commit to a season. (
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
This seems nice because of the convenience, but I prefer the farmer's market. I can get exactly what I want at prices that I think are at least as good.
andrennabird andrennabird 7 years
thanks, fit!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Wow, I found a CSA that has a pick up point in my city. That's really cool! I might think about joining it for the 2010 growing season. It's not that expensive and I'm sure I'd use ALL the stuff I got! Awesome!
Fitness Fitness 7 years
Hi! To answer your questions, I currently get my CSA box from Eating With the Seasons and opted to pay for the entire season to save on money.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
You pay $23 for all that food?!?!? I'm so jealous! There's definitely nothing better than fresh produce.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
My supervisor told me about one in our area. The only problem is it requires you to pay for the entire summer up front and I think it is like $400 or $500 and I get nervous about putting that much money up front, especially when my husband is such a picky eater and won't try anything new and I'd probably have to throw or giveaway half of what they sent each week. I love the idea though!
hausfrau hausfrau 7 years
no CSAs here... so bummed. i really want to do this!
andrennabird andrennabird 7 years
I am interested in what CSA you use also - the CSA's I've seen in this area don't include nearly as much produce as you described in your box!
dorisaurus dorisaurus 7 years
Hi FitSugar, I am curious about which CSA you use? I am in your area and have been looking for one with the meat and eggs option! Thanks!
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