February 21, 2013

Community Supported Agriculture in East Tennessee

This morning I'm visiting my friends at Knoxville's WTNZ Fox43 for a segment about one of my favorite things...CSAs! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and if you're a regular reader of my blog, you might remember me waxing poetic about my CSA boxes of fruits and veggies in the past.

Participating in a CSA is a great way to get healthy while supporting a local farmer. You pay one amount of money at the beginning of the season and this acts as an investment for the farmer to do his planting.

Then when the crops start coming in, you get a share of the bounty. Most CSAs allow you to pick up a box of veggies and/or fruits each week. Some are every other week. There are all vegetable shares, all fruit shares and a mixture of both. There are also cow shares and different types of dairy shares, honey shares, flower shares...really anything the farmer or producer can dream up!

One benefit of participating in a CSA is that it forces you to try new things. Lots of veggies came in my weekly box that I wouldn't have tried otherwise. Things like turnips, bok choy, and kale that I'd never eaten before. Now, I love these different veggies and I'm glad I was forced to try them.

Knoxville folks can attend a CSA fair this Saturday February 24 at Three Rivers Market. Several farmers and other vendors will be on hand to share their information and let you sign up. If you'd like to find CSA options in your area, check out this great resource.

I used to joke that each week felt like Christmas because I'd get all excited wondering what was going to be in the box. Then I experimented with some fun new recipes that incorporated the items.

I hope you'll consider participating in a CSA this year. If you can't find one in your area, at least scout out a farm stand or farmer's market. It's a great feeling knowing you are supporting the livelihood of a farmer and enjoying local foods as well! Sometimes it's an adventure (remember my Kerosene cucumbers?), but for the most part, it's a great experience!