Back to Basics

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April 14, 2012 by speckledroman

Today we’re going back to the basics. What’s the easiest way to have a transparent food system? Know your farmer. One of the best ways to do this is through Community-Supported Agriculture—a CSA.

So basically when a person buys a membership, they get a share of the farm products, typically a box full of whatever the farm and the season have to offer. There’s usually a weekly pick-up site on the same day each week.

CSAs have become very popular because it seems like everyone wins. The customers get access to the freshest produce. And the upfront price they pay is very beneficial to the farmers.  But for Jack, the farm-manager at Full Moon Coop, it’s about more than that. “It’s an outlet where we can directly relate to the customer and the community.” On pick up days, Jack gets to know his customers, by name, and it becomes more of a relationship than a business transaction.

Part of joining a CSA is sharing in the risk. So if by the whim of Mother Nature, something happens to the crops, everyone shares in the disappointment. But this is also part of creating that sense of community. The good news is that this doesn’t happen all too often. The farmers are professionals and they’re usually pretty good at working with what nature brings. When Jack’s carrots had poor germination this year, he supplemented his shares with other things, like greens or bok choy, and replanted.

It’s actually pretty exciting to get a mystery box every week. It forces creativity into your kitchen especially when you get a mystery item. So break out of the grocery store routine and get to know your farmer.

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