Sunday, June 1, 2014

CSA and Farmers Markets

After I began writing a gigantic blog post on local and seasonal food, I decided to chop it up into a series of semi-informative smaller posts.  Seeing as how June has just begun, I am already behind schedule for talking about local farmers markets and the lesser-known CSA.


CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which is a way for local farmers to sell food directly to consumers.  To get food from a CSA, you buy "shares" of the farmer's harvest, and those shares are delivered or made available to you as baskets full of food every one to two weeks during the harvest months. The harvest months include all months where vegetables can be harvested, which are usually May to October.

Usually, you will have an opportunity to buy shares in a CSA farm (is community supported agriculture farm redundant?) before the growing season starts, and some farmers give you incentive to sign up early.

For those who live in Salt Lake City the CSA Utah website has an excellent list of local CSA farms. The Herald Journal of Logan had a cool article of Logan CSAs.   I want to be inclusive to my friends in Indiana who read my blog, so I should mention that the Consumers website has a list of CSA farms in Indiana. The Local Harvest Website also has a neat map showing locations of local farms for the entire country.

After doing some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, I decided that most CSA deals are a little to a lot more expensive than buying vegetables from the grocery.  However, you will know where these vegetable came from, and you will be supporting your community.  Also, obligating yourself to get vegetables every week means that you will be motivated to eat more vegetables every week. By participating in a CSA, you are eliminating hidden costs to your health and the environment (most CSA farms use sustainable farming practices) that could bite you later in life.  Some CSAs have excellent deals where you can volunteer your time to get a huge discount on their services. I am sure a savvy individual who did a little research could make participation in a  CSA much more healthy and cost efficient that regular trips to the grocery produce isle.

While speaking on CSA farms, I would like to give a shout out to a CSA in my neighborhood of Salt Lake City (Glendale), B.U.G. Farms.  This CSA uses back yards in my neighborhood to grow their crop.  The yards are provided by homeowners in exchange for some level of participation in the CSA. Pretty cool.

Farmers Markets!

Farmers markets are excellent places to meet local growers and sellers and fun family thing to do on a Saturday (even if you don't buy anything).  While the city did have an excellent Winter Market, I am getting especially excited about visiting the summer market. The Salt Lake City Summer Market opens June 14! Another excellent marker, the Wheeler Farm Market, opened today! 

 The Cache Valley Gardners market has been open since May 10, and has some great vendors.  It is definitely one of the great things about Logan, Utah.

The Evansville Farmers Market started May 16.  Unfortunately, I have never had a chance to visit this market, and would be interested to hear from my Evansville peeps if it is any good.

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