One of my resolutions for 2011 is to play closer attention to where my food comes from. Last week, I planted several edible plants in my apartment
to start, and my peas are already peeking through the soil!
Signing up for a local CSA is another great way to eat healthy and support local agriculture. CSA is an acronym for community-supported agriculture, and it is also known as a farmshare program. Shareholders enter into a partnership with the farm of their choosing at the beginning of the growing season by buying a farm share. Then, participants pick up their weekly portion of produce, meat, dairy and anything else the farm offers. It's a win-win situation, because the farmers receive financial backing for growing and raising the food, while shareholders get weekly servings of healthy, fresh produce all season!
There are dozens of CSA options in Massachusetts (one list is available here
, a map is available here
). I've chosen a few to highlight that have pickups around Boston and the North Shore.
Appleton Farms, Ipswich.
This summer, Appleton Farms will offer 500 shares of its produce. In addition to the weekly grocery bags worth of vegetables, there is also a selection of pick-your-own crops (can't beat these strawberries), which could be a great way to teach children about where food comes from. Check their website for the full range of produce, which includes: lettuce, carrots, green beans, broccoli, eggplant, herbs and much more.
Summer season: Second week of June until first week of November.
Pickup locations: Ipswich.
Stone Soup Farm, Belchertown.
This farm offers several different options for share size and season. It also offers a sliding scale pay system so that shareholders can pay based on their income. Stone Soup Farm is chemical-free, dedicated to organic practices and even suggests recipes for all the produce sold on Veggipedia
. Summer season:
June until October.
Pickup locations: Belchertown, Cambridge, Boston.
John Crow Farm, Groton.
If vegetables aren't your thing, you certainly can still support local agriculture through a meat or dairy CSA. The John Crow farm sustainably raises sheep, cattle, pork and chicken using grass for feed and pastures for living quarters! These shares are delivered monthly rather than weekly, but if you need your fix more often read about John Crow's "Carnivore Cash" program here
Bolton, Cambridge, Groton, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, Boston (home delivery), multiple farmers markets
Each farm has something unique to offer you, so do some research before signing up for a CSA. I can't wait for pickups to start now that spring is finally here!