We all know fresh veggies are a vital part of our diet and that the more colorful our plate is, the more nutrients we’re getting.

Well, even if you’re already filling your plate with veggies, chances are there’s still some room for improvement because if you’re getting all your vegetables from the grocery store, you’re not getting the freshest selection.

So, how can you get the best veggies on your and your family’s plates? Go local by signing up for a CSA! Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you opt for getting your produce through a CSA.

What’s a CSA?

First thing’s first.  You may be thinking, “What the heck is a CSA?”

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and operates as a mutually beneficial relationship between the farmer and the consumer. Farmers need to tend to their soil and continually produce to keep their farm working and viable. To help offset an excess of produce, the farm shares the costs with consumers who sign up for the CSA understanding that they will get a variety of produce during a set season.

CSA memberships operate differently, so take time to look into options that work best for your family’s needs. For example, our CSA at East Lynn Farm is slightly different in the sense that we let you pick your own produce so you can choose the items you like best and the amount of each you need.

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You’ll Get More Nutrients 

Have you ever looked at the stickers on the fruits and vegetables in your grocery store? Some of them come from the other side of the country or even from far away countries, which means there’s no way you’re getting a super fresh bounty.

Those fruits and vegetables had to be picked, packaged up, shipped many, many miles and then unloaded into your grocery store’s produce section. Therefore, by the time it gets to you, you’ve got to use it quick because it’s past peak freshness and its nutrient levels have decreased. According to the Cleveland Clinic, exposure to artificial light, varying temperatures, and extra time as food cycles through your grocery store all contribute to a drop in nutrients.

In contrast, when you get your food through a CSA where it’s picked and at your home within 24 hours, you’re getting the most nutrient dense food possible. Not to mention, getting your veggies from a CSA will also lend itself to eating seasonally, which results in a more balanced diet.

Support the Environment and Your Local Community 

We all know shopping locally helps benefit your local economy, and shopping for local food is no different than shopping for local textiles or home goods. When you spend in your backyard, you’ll see the benefits in your own community.

However, another benefit to being a part of a CSA is that in addition to supporting your local community, you’re also helping the environment. Because your food does not need to travel as far to get to your plate, your food’s carbon footprint goes down dramatically.

Also, many CSAs practice environment-friendly growing practices, which most large, commercial growers cannot claim. For example, at East Lynn Farm, we do not use any synthetic, non-organic herbicides or pesticides, and we fertilize our growing fields only with compost made from organic matter (e.g., leaves, straw, hay, spent vegetables and flowers) combined with aged manure from our livestock.

When you spend your money locally and with farms who use sustainable practices, you’re voting with your dollars and taking a stand on the values you support.

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Bonding 

Whether it’s getting to know the farmer who tended your seeds or teaching your kids how to cook with fresh food that came from a few miles down the road, there’s a special bond that forms when you know where your food comes from.

When you get your produce from a CSA, you’re also getting a story and an opportunity to build memories with the loved ones you share your meals with.

And we don’t know about you, but the idea of making memories of our loved ones has us excited to get out on the farm and then straight to the kitchen!

Have any questions about being in a CSA? Let us know in the comments! If you’re wondering about being a part of our CSA at East Lynn Farm or are interested in joining, take a look here.