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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Excited about Farm Shares

This morning the clocks sprung forward, and naturally today I am thinking about signing up for a farm share. Technically known as a CSA--community supported agriculture-- farm shares are a great way to get the freshest, locally grown at a price and value that beats Whole Foods any day.

I became attracted to the idea of farm shares last year when an acquaintance offered me her share while she was on vacation. It was from The Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts. I picked up a box of freshly picked produce from their local drop off at Iggy's Bread in Cambridge on a Tuesday afternoon. I got a selection of organic produce including: strawberries, to onions, fresh basil, chervil, & dill, fennel, garlic chives, red lettuce, purple potatoes, and sweet tomatoes. It also came with a charming newsletter with recipes and anecdotes about the farm. I loved the surprise of not knowing what kind of produce you're going to get each week, and planning delicious and healthful menu that pushes me out of my creative comfort zone.

The cost of the farm share is around $600 for 20 weeks staring in June through the Fall, and can be paid in installments. That equals about $30 a week for a generous box of local, organic produce, which is ample for a family of two. Better still, the proceeds from the CSAs go towards supporting local farms and sustainable agriculture education.

I'd recommend you sign up for one soon, as they are limited and sell out fast due to people signing up year after year. Trust me, once you've tried it you'll be coming back again too. Looking for a farm share in your area? Here is a list of CSAs available across the country.

If you are a single, you could save money by splitting one with a friend. I plan on gifting my farm share to my friends when I am away this summer. What better gift than a box of fresh locally grown produce?

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