Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.

Close Wallet, Open Mouth

Posted: April 14, 2010 | Author: Rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Like many people, I’m concerned about how to get more bang for my buck while maintaining my fabulous (read: not that fabulous) lifestyle. But that’s a little tricky to do when it comes to food since I cook often and bring lunch to work already, and I’m not about to buy wilted lettuce or old cans of beans just because they’re on sale. As someone whose groceries are mainly produce and demands at least decent-quality stuff, how am I supposed to cut back without sacrificing my health?

A good answer: join a CSA. What the heck is a CSA, you ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a way for consumers to buy fresh produce directly from farmers. As described by Local Harvest: “A farmer offers a certain number of ‘shares’ to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a ‘membership’ or a ‘subscription’) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.” This can include things like fresh eggs or other products a particular farm offers.

Something like this:

“Whoa there,” you’re saying. “That’s a lot of veggies in the box! I am but one person, surely I can’t eat all this every week!” Neither can I. That’s why a lot of CSAs offer half-shares that you can split with another person. Some CSAs will pair you up with someone if you don’t have a share buddy. Also, it’s half the cost!

Right now many CSAs are gearing up for the harvest season and have already begun to sell shares. You don’t go to the farm to pick up your box, they have drop off points in the community or neighborhood they’re serving. You can check out Local Harvest (linked to earlier) to see what’s available near you. A good alternative would be to check out a local farmers market, especially if you only want particular items.

I’m fortunate to live in New York City where there are tons and tons of CSAs all over the place, but what’s super cool is that one of my favorite organizations, Hazon, is now the largest faith-based CSA network in the United States. The farms aren’t necessarily run by Jews, but Hazon CSAs can be based out of synagogues or JCCs and offer Jewish education programs and enhances a local Jewish community. Though Jewish CSAs are far more prevalent due to Hazon, non-Jewish faith-based CSAs can be found too!

The CSA I am considering joining will end up costing $12 per week over 22 weeks for a half share. Though it has to be paid upfront, that’s not a bad deal for someone like me! I’ll get to experiment with new, locally grown veggies and try out new recipes. Can’t wait!

2 Comments on “Close Wallet, Open Mouth”

  1. 1 Joh said at 12:37 pm on April 14, 2010:

    I am SO glad you found a CSA to join!! We also joined one, and I can’t wait to start getting my veggies every week!
    One thing to note is that some CSA’s have a service requirement as well, which is a great way to find more ways to get involved.
    Happy veggies!!!

  2. 2 Joh's Dad said at 1:48 pm on April 15, 2010:

    Joh – if there’s a service requirement for your CSA, maybe Jesse can show you how to plant that huge backyard of yours with Jo-Beans!!
    Instant truck farm!

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.