In case you’ve never heard of the term CSA before, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The idea is that a farmer can sell a share of his expected crops to a person within the local community. That person, in turn, receives a weekly box of what the farmer grows in exchange for payment and, in some cases, a set amount of volunteer hours on the farm. CSA’s have been around since the 1980’s but have only become commonplace in the last decade or so.
As CSA’s become more popular across the country, local companies have begun “sprouting up” in an effort to streamline the process and make quality local produce, meat, eggs and specialty products more available to the people in their communities.
The Produce Box is one such organization in the city of Charlotte where I live. They take on the work of coordinating with local farmers and artisans and I sign up through them for a weekly box of goodies. There are several benefits to using a company such as The Produce Box vs. a traditional CSA:
- Because they work with a larger number of farmers and artisans, your selection of goods is much greater than it would be if you were working with a single farm.
- In most cases, everything you purchase is delivered directly to your door so there is no need to travel and pick up your weekly box.
- You have the ability to skip a week if needed and you only pay from week to week instead of one large payment up front at the start of the growing season.
- You are still getting the benefits of supporting local agriculture in your community and keeping the family farm alive and thriving.
For two Thursdays (my delivery day) I set out a cooler and waited for my spoils to arrive. Here are a sampling of the goodies that showed up on my doorstep:
In addition, I received a sheet detailing all the products in my delivery, which farm they came from, when to eat them for best quality and a recipe or serving suggestion for each. Yes, you will pay a tiny bit more than in traditional grocery stores but in exchange you have the bonus of front door delivery and the peace of mind that you’re helping to support your local community.
If you live in North Carolina and think The Produce Box might be something you’d like to support, head over and check out their web page for more information. If you’re outside of North Carolina, try running a Google search for local produce delivery and see what companies pop up. You can also check out Local Harvest for a list or more traditional CSA’s in your area.
Note: While The Produce Box provided me with a credit to try out their service for two weeks, it should be noted that all opinions in this post, as always, are my own.