Archive 2008 - 2019

Do You Know What CSA Is?

by Tony Lulek

Seems we are inundated with acronyms these days; everything from rolling on the floor laughing (ROTFL) to IDK (I don’t know) and TTYL (Talk to you later). But do you know about CSA. It’s the latest craze.

You can get it every week from about the first of June until the middle of October, and sometimes into the winter. You won’t get pulled over by the police for texting violations. You won’t get charged per text. But what you will get actually forces you to lift your head out of your cell phone or off the computer, and see the world around you. The cost is relatively low and the benefits are high. It will become a very healthy part of your life. You can contribute to the community around you. And best of all, it is delicious.

What am I talking about? CSA. Community Supported Agriculture. These are farms that have chosen to produce food and sell it directly to the consumer in the form of shares. Here in Holliston we have at least one farm, Outpost Farm, but there are many surrounding us in Framingham, Natick, Dover, Sherborn and beyond. Head out the Berkshires and young adults are getting together and leasing acres of land to farm to provide local fresh food. This is what it is all about. Local. Fresh. Farm to table.

Have you seen the price of vegetables and meat lately? I don’t do the shopping in our family, but my wife does. And sometimes she tells me how much stuff costs. It’s crazy. And to be honest with you, I don’t the think the quality is all that good. But you do have a choice.

With a CSA you join and get a “share.” This usually consists of one weekly pick up of allotted vegetables, flowers and other farm products like fresh eggs or even meat. Along with your pick up, there can also be pick-your-own crops like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, peas, beans, and herbs. Each farm tends to have its own system of pick ups.
On the farm we belong to (Powisset Farm in Dover --A Trustees of the Reservations), pick up is on Thursday or Saturday each week. In the big white barn are boxes and crates of the week’s harvest. There are signs posted letting you know how much of each vegetable you can take; pounds, pieces, bunches. You bring your own reusable bags; there are scales, and you load up. We divide our “share” with another couple and I can tell you that we get more than we can eat. What we don’t eat gets traded with neighbors, who also belong to another CSA and may have something different, or it ends up helping feed the chickens. The chickens have never eaten so well.

Most of the farms produce a wide variety of produce. One of the promises I made when we decided to join the CSA was that I would try everything that came out of the farm. Well, I think I have done pretty well definitely trying just about everything. I have even found a few things that are now staples of our diet. I fell in love with brussel sprouts, and kohlrabi is amazing as well. I’ve also grown fond of shallots.  I can’t stand onions, so this is a big step for me.

Kale is a new one that I am still getting used to, but found that kale chips are amazing: Tear the kale up in large 3” square pieces, lightly coat with olive oil, salt and parmesan cheese if you want, and place on a baking sheet in the oven on 400 for about 10 minutes or so. They come out crisp and kind of melt in your mouth. There are a few vegetables that we haven’t figured out how to prepare yet. It is definitely a fun and exciting experience.

The greatest thing about all of this is that you are eating fresh vegetables -- right from the farm to your table. No trucking the stuff halfway around the globe or across the country to get it to your grocery stores. You also have more control over the quality of the food. Most of the CSAs are organically farmed which is better for you, your family, the land, and the world at large.

So the next time you are at the grocery store, look at the prices, look at the quality and then think about where the food comes from and make a choice. Look into joining a CSA. Check out Outpost Farm in Holliston or Silverwood Farm in Sherborn. Is it a big decision to make? Yes, but a healthy one for you, your family, your neighbors, the farms, and our land. Invest in the future. Join a CSA today.

Comments (1)

Tony, you made CSAs sound like something everyone should participate in. It is a great idea from so many perspectives - eating more healthily, keeping the profits here in MetroWest, using the land well with small farms, less gasoline in transportation, etc. Thanks.

Carol Holly | 2011-05-20 18:53:58