Well, not really. However, I did recently buy a share of a local farm in my area. Let me explain.
Through a program known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), local farms offer shares in their farm for purchase. The amount of shares offered usually depends on the size of the farm and the amount of produce that they produce.
People who purchase a share then receive a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables once a week during the growing season. The basket is filled at the farmer’s discretion depending on what is in season that week and what is growing particularly well that year.
Now some people might balk at that and say, “Oh, well I would want to choose my own vegetables.” However, that is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a CSA share this year. I relish the opportunity to be exposed to new fruits and vegetables that I would not otherwise purchase for myself.
There are many benefits to a CSA program for both the farmer and the consumer. One of the main benefits for the farmer is that the risk of farming becomes shared with a large group of people. When a person buys a share in a farm, they do so with the understanding that there is risk involved. If there was a drought, or a bad storm, or maybe a really wet growing season, then the consumer would obviously receive less produce every week.
The main benefit for the consumer is having the opportunity to get to know the farmer growing their food and obviously to enjoy fresh produce that is oftentimes organically grown.
So starting on May 9th and continuing until the last week in October, I will be making the short drive to Beriswell Farms in beautiful Valley City, Ohio to pick up my basket of produce. I believe that supporting our local farms is of incredible importance and having been raised in a family with several farming relatives, I truly understand the struggle that an agricultural life can sometimes be.
I have a couple goals with my participation in this program. I hope to create a healthier diet for myself, taste some new fruits and vegetables, and learn more about cooking and preserving a wider range of foods. I will also be blogging about my first year in this program as it progresses. It should definitely be a fun and interesting experience.
If you want to find out more information on Community Supported Agriculture or find a farm near you that offers a CSA, visit http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.