In just under a week I will be starting another year of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and I just can't wait. For anyone unfamiliar with them, CSA programs are basically where you pay a farmer in the beginning of the year for an entire season's worth of produce. Then every week during the growing season you get a share of vegetables and sometimes fruit. Its a pretty great way to get more connected to where your food comes from, support local farmers and enjoy some great produce.
Last year I participated in One Straw Farm's CSA program. It was a great experience. I got to enjoy delicious organic produce every week while learning more about what vegetables are typically grown at what time in Maryland. I even got to try some vegetables that I wasn't too familiar with like chard and bok choy. I highly recommend One Straw Farm to anyone looking for a CSA around Baltimore. All of the people are extremely friendly and they have tons of drop off locations that make it convenient to pick up your produce. I'm pretty sure that they still have a few openings left for this year, so if you're interested you can sign up on their website: http://www.onestrawfarm.com/.
This year, however, we decided to try something new just for the heck of it, so we went with the Calvert's Gift Farm CSA (http://www.calvertsgiftfarm.com/) . They are a smaller organic farm and instead of picking up your produce at drop off locations, you go directly to the farm to get your veggies. I like that I'll be going to the farm every week- it makes me feel as though I'll be more connected to the whole process . Another cool benefit to this program is that they offer free pick-your-own blackberries (can anyone say blackberry jam!) as well flowers. In addition, along with the vegetable share, you have the option to participate in an egg share where you get a dozen eggs either every week or every other week. These eggs come from another local farm where the chickens are treated nicely and given plenty of space and access to the outdoors. Overall I think this program seems pretty cool, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
If you're not located near Baltimore but are still interested in CSA, don't give up hope. There may be a CSA program in your area, and who knows it might not be too late to sign up for it. You can find a list of links to help in your serach for a CSA near you at www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml.
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