As more families opt for organic eating, community supported agriculture — commonly known as CSA — is growing in popularity. CSA is a fun way for families to buy local, seasonal food directly from farmers.
"We appreciate knowing where our produce comes from and that it's local and in season and all organic," says Shalene France Gray, mom of two in East Nashville. Her family is now in its 10th year of CSA membership with with Delvin Farms. "There's always a great variety, and the box we receive each week is a work of art! We also get to talk with our farmers directly as well as partake in the sense of community the CSA brings about by seeing, meeting and chatting with other members," she adds.
HOW CSA WORKS
Local farms that participate in CSA offer a certain number of "shares" to the public. Share are also known as "memberships" or "subscriptions." When you buy a share, you'll receive a box of vegetables, fruits and other farm products every week throughout the farming season.
According to Local Harvest
, there are several benefits to purchasing a CSA:
• Eating ultra-fresh food with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
• Exposure to new vegetables
• Taking the kids to the farm for a visit
• Developing a relationship with the farmer who grows the food
• Kids typically favor food from "their" farm.
Some farms offer variations, including mix-and-match options while others provide a standard box for each pick up. Many farmers also offer shareholders the option to include items like farm-fresh eggs, meat, cheese and even flowers. The majority of farms in Middle Tennessee offering CSAs have pick-up seasons running mid-May through October. Winter CSAs run into November and early December.
"Participating in the CSA is extremely affordable," says France Gray. "It seems a bit pricey on the front end, but it averages out to around $30 a box, which would otherwise cost two to three times as much if you were to purchase at the grocery store each week," she adds.
CSAs IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE
Bells Bend Farm
Eaton's Creek Organics
Green Door Gourmet
Old School Farm
Six Boots Grower's Collective
Bountiful Blessings Farm
Bloomsbury Organic Farm
Flying S Farms
Gentle Bee Farm
Sinking Creek Farm
Madison Creek Farms
Oak Grove Farms
Produce Harvest Market
Walnut Hills Farm
Featured photo: CSA goodies from Delvin Farms