Friday, February 11, 2011

{homestead} CSA for Valentine's

From Crackers

Hello Everyone!  I'm happy to introduce a new column on PG called {homestead}!  I've been kicking this one around for a while, but listening to readers request more info and insight into how to live green has prompted me to make this one a reality.  You'll have to bear with me though... this column will be, at times, nothing more than my experiments on making things at home, wasting and wanting less, learning more, reading and watching, talking and listening.  I'd like to learn to take nicer photos... we'll see how that develops.  

In the meantime, I thought a nice kick-off to PG Homestead would be to offer up an idea for an alternative Valentine's Day gift, instead of scrambling to find a gift for your loved one, who probably has everything they need!  Right now you're looking at photos of eggs, tractors and veggies and wondering what on earth I could possibly have in mind.  Well, how about a subscription to your local CSA's, or Community Supported Agriculture.  Gaining more and more in popularity, hopefully where you live has at least one to offer.  Basically, the idea behind CSA's is that you 'subscribe' to a farmer's product by paying for your 'subscription', or 'share', up front.  This greatly helps the farmer for a variety of reasons:
1. He/She gets money at the START of the season, which is when they need it to purchase seeds, livestock, buy equipment and maintain their farm.
2. It gives the farmer a 'quota', or target yield for the year, ensuring that they can meet the demand.
3. It supports your local, organic economy - you get to eat yummy, nutritious, 100 mile food, they get to earn a living.
4. You share the risk.  You don't realize how much a farmer puts on the line... disasters such as drought, floods, windstorms, bug infestations, disease, etc. can mean that a farmer's crops are destroyed, or the yield is reduced.  By sharing a little bit of that risk (it doesn't happen often, but it's a reality of working with living things), it ensures that the farmer will recover and will be able to operate another season.

From Crackers

In exchange for your support, you will receive either weekly or monthly packages, containing whatever share you purchased (this would be decided at the time of subscription).  I will be subscribing to two CSA's this year: 1 veggie (in exchange for $100/month I will receive a weekly bundle of the freshest veggies), and 1 meat  (for $475/6 months I will receive a monthly package of meat, eggs and preserves, enough for two to eat very comfortably).

Here's one more reason to do this: you save money!  Usually you will end up paying less per pound than you would at the grocery store, and you don't have to shop.  For example: my meat CSA costs an average of $4.50/pound, where at the grocery it costs an average of $5.60/pound.  Another added bonus? Sometimes you receive veggies/meat you don't usually eat.  It will force you to expand your horizons, try new things, and research/create killer recipes for your newly discovered food.

From Daniel Hurst's Flikr

From Cannelle et Vanille

Consider it.  Happy Valentine's everyone!

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