Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

Have you ever heard of Community Supported Agriculture?  It is when you "buy a piece of the farm".  Basically you buy a share of the farms crops- if they have a good season you get a lot bad season not so much. You share the risk.  Some other models several farms work together an you get different crops from different farms- blueberries from one, potatoes from another ect.. this way you get a wide variety and consistent supply.  That is the model I am trying out. I heard about it last year when someone came to talk one who brought the sweetest strawberries you had ever tasted.  Nothing like the jumbo but flavorless ones from the grocery store.  I did not sign up however.  I had several excuses: 1. the drop site was too far 2. What if I don't have time to cook it all? 3. I like to pick stuff out (but actually I really just cook with what I have a lot of the time) 4. It cost to much.  Well I decided to revisit this.  Basically: they have a drop site that is not too far away.  I cook anyway and I will use what I have.  The last one is the toughest.  It is more expensive BUT it is organic, local, and fresh- so I will share my experience as I ask myself is it worth it?

Currently fresh produce is not in season so we are starting with dairy and meat.  The extra cost is really the meat but it is grass-fed, no hormones, antibiotics ect..  Recently we decided to eat less meat but eat a higher quality.  We are adding more vegetarian meals and fish.  When you do it this way the extra cost of the meat doesn't have as much impact. 

One of main reasons for deciding to give this a try is that is a win-win with supporting local farms.  The main reason America's meat is filled with antibiotics and hormones is the consumer demand for an inexpensive product.  Unfortunately there seems to be  a price to pay.  In my field we see more and more girls with precocious puberty and a growing problem with antibiotic resistance.  While these products are not solely to blame I am concerned they are playing a role- and I don't want to find out the hard way.  In our regions a lot of tobacco has been produced and several farms are switching to other products.  This gives them a consistent market and we get a guarantee on the quality of our food- see win-win.

Well follow along and we will find out together if what seems good in theory really works out.

Ok here is the first order.  We got a dozen farm fresh eggs, 2 local artisan cheeses, 1 farm raised whole chicken and 2 sirloin steaks (we are signed up for mixed meats you don't know what you will get each week)- what a pleasant surprise! 

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