CSAIt’s officially summer – time to enjoy the sunshine and take advantage of sunshine and beautiful weather.  This is also the best time of year to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s local farmers and fresh produce through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership or supporting local farmers markets.  

I’m really excited for my CSA this year. There are several benefits to joining a CSA or purchasing from local farms at a farmers market:  

  1. Fresh produce that is local, seasonal and organic. Typically, the produce is picked the morning of your CSA delivery or farmer’s market.
  2. Get to know your farmers. As a society, we’ve lost touch with where our food comes from. There’s no connection with the farmer when you go to the grocery store. Also, when you get to know your farmers, you are able to learn about special sales, promotions and events happening at the farm.
  3. Challenge your palette and cooking skills. Often, in your CSA share, you’ll find produce that you’ve never had (or seen before). It is a fun challenge to learn about new food and how to prepare it. Google is your best friend, in this case!
  4. Support local businesses. There aren’t as many farmers as there once were, but their job is more important than ever. Joining a CSA or supporting your local farmers at a farmer’s market allows you to support their business.
  5. Save money. When you sign up for a CSA, there’s pressure to cook and eat all of the fresh vegatables in your fridge. This means that you won’t need to spend as much money at the grocery store (and that you’ll eat more vegetables and greens!)
  6. Less trips to the grocery store. Does anyone else dread going to the grocery store? The long lines, the busy parking lot – not to mention the fact that it’s another errand on the list! It is much more convenient to pick up the CSA farm share or make a trip to the farmers market. 

Do you have a CSA membership or frequent farmers markets during the summer? Share your experience in the comments below.