Thursday, July 10, 2008


On days when I get my CSA I like to chant "C-S-A! C-S-A!" like the peeps do at sporting events (and military events?) when they chant "U-S-A!". It gets me excited, and tickles my fancy, and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

But, seriously, I would like to take a moment to expound on the virtues of having a CSA. I know I've said it before, but then I talked to a couple people this week who'd never heard of a CSA, so I'm gonna say it again.

Here's how wikipedia describes a CSA, but the basic run-down is that CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and what the deal is that you subscribe to a weekly farm share from a local farm, you pay up front, and then every week (usually early June-ish through mid-Novemberish, in this part of the country) you get a delivery (in various drop-off points around the city) of fresh produce that the farm(s) have picked mere hours or days before. Some of them also offer meats, breads, eggs, honey, cheeses, etc. In Pittsburgh I've used both Kretschmann's and Penn's Corner. I've loved them both. This year I'm doing Penn's Corner. I know they still have slots open, as do many other local CSAs. Here's a good list of all the CSAs available in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, and you can check here for national listings.

To give you an idea of what one gets in a CSA subscription, here's what my last few boxes have consisted of (I split my box with eDawg):

Week 1 (6/18):
free-range eggs
gourmet lettuce mix
head lettuce
baby beets
sugar snap peas

Week 2 (6/25):
new red potatoes
sugar snap peas
shelling peas
romaine lettuce
red ruffled lettuce
green cabbage

Week 3 (7/2):
free range eggs
sugar snap peas
snow peas
baby beets
head lettuce
bibb lettuce
hydroponic cluster tomatoes (1st tomatoes of the season! i can't wait for the onslaught!)

Week 4 (7/9):
black raspberries
new potatoes
young onions
patty pan squash
red cabbage
black seeded simpson lettuce
swiss chard

My CSA box paired with some goodies from the farmers' market almost covers all my eating! Also, when you subscribe to a CSA you're getting healthier food because it's freshly picked, and all the nutrients are still going strong. And, you're supporting your local agricultural community and local economy. And, you're cutting down on fossil fuel usage by choosing foods that don't have to be transported from all over creation to get to you. And, you're further helping the environment when you subscribe to organic farms that aren't using the pesticides that end up as run-off and the like. And, you're more in touch with seasonality as you see the growing seasons for various plants in your particular region. It feels good, do it!

So, don't you wanna go sign up for a CSA right now?

No comments: