Back in September I wrote about the importance of buying as much of your food as possible from the farm, and also buying food in season. The same farm where we buy our beef also sells awesome vegetables. This past summer they offered their first "Simply Summer CSA", and today was the first day of their third Winter Vegie CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is simply a way for the farmer to guarantee sales in advance (and make a living wage!) and a guarantee for the consumer to receive local, farm fresh produce all season. It is a great deal where everybody wins.
The summer CSA boxes were loaded with awesome summer produce. We loved the bounty of fresh potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, herbs, corn and even some eggplant. But I have to say that nothing quite beats the beauty of a winter CSA box when it is loaded with huge heads of fresh lettuces, bunches of dark leafy greens, brightly colored red and purple radishes, fat red beets, bunches of purple turnips, fresh onions, and bright orange carrots that are the sweetest you’ll ever taste. Just the sight of one of those boxes will make even the pickiest eater’s mouth water. Yes, it is picture perfect and I admit I have taken a few pictures of my CSA boxes! Here are two pictures from today’s box:
Today’s box had several heads of lettuce, a bag of mixed lettuce, a big bunch of bright radishes, a mixture of peppers, parsley, turnips, and a variety of fresh greens. I have never been one to like greens, but because of the large quantity that came in my CSA box I have not only learned to like them but have actually been looking forward to them this year! As we were unloading the box together I mentioned to my son that because greens are so plentiful this time of year, God must have intended for us to eat them now. Greens are absolutely LOADED with a plethora of vitamins but especially vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. This means that, among other things, greens will help your body build strong bones, fight cancer, fight heart disease, and have strong immunities. Just what our bodies need during flu season! And because these greens were just picked this morning they have more of these good vitamins than greens from the grocery store.
Recently Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote an article for his newsletter about why it is so good to buy your food locally. Some of the reasons included better taste, better for you, supports local farm families, etc. It is true that fresh, locally grown food is better for you and the environment. Local farmers are less likely to use GMO seeds, they are more likely to practice sustainable farming that protects and nurtures the environment, they use less packaging (and recycle most of it) and the environment is not polluted by emissions from delivery trucks.
We love driving to the farm to pick up our boxes of fresh vegetables. It is great to get outside the city and see Tennessee’s rolling farmland with the trees changing colors. We get a break from the busyness of the week for a short drive in the country and a breath of truly fresh air. Sometimes we get to walk around the farm and visit the greenhouses where our food is grown, or feed the chickens and gather eggs, or help lead the cows to new pasture. We learn something new every visit and always leave assured that the very best care was given to insure that our food was raised in the best possible way. The healthiest way. The animals are better off, the land is better off, even the bugs are better off. And we know for sure that we are better off.
Farm fresh! It sure is different than the grocery store…
**edited to add: My dear mother has kindly pointed out that I said that buying from the farm keeps from polluting the air by emissions from delivery trucks, then immediately said how I love driving out to the farm. She felt that was contradictory. Let me clarify by pointing out that there is a difference in my personal vehicle driving a few miles to my farm vs. a big 18-wheeler driving across country or even across a couple of states. While both vehicles produce emissions, my vehicle is much more kind to our air than the big truck. Hope that clears it up!