We’re only weeks into 2019, but it’s already crunch time for most people’s New Year’s resolutions. Whether your goals were to lose weight, eat healthier or save time on things like grocery shopping, community-supported agriculture could be your trick to resolution success.
CSAs are a subscription between you and a local farm, where you receive a bountiful box of seasonal fruits/veggies, meats, eggs and/or dairy in exchange for a reliable customer commitment.
Loudoun County is home to a vibrant agricultural industry and has at least 18 CSAs to choose from. Products include the staples that your family would buy anyway, as well as specialties like fresh-cut flowers, herbs, honey and more.
Here are seven of the many benefits of buying food directly from the farm:
- The very freshest food. Farmers often harvest the produce, milk the cow or collect the eggs within a day of the CSAs being delivered. That means that a vine-fresh tomato that was picked that morning can be on your plate by dinner.
- Meet your food producers. Ask most kids and they’ll tell you that food comes from a grocery store, never knowing that much of it started in a farmer’s field. How much do you know about the food you buy at a grocery store? With a CSA, you can meet with farmers and sometimes even visit the farm to see your future meals in production.
- Avoid preservatives and contaminates. Did you know that a supermarket apple in the U.S. can be more than a year old? Picked before it’s ripe, an apple is sprayed with preservatives and a thin coating of wax before being stacked in cold storage. This process helps make apples, which are harvested in August and September, available year-round. All this time in storage decreases its nutritional value, as well as taste. CSAs help you know where and when your food was grown.
- Support local businesses. Shopping local has a substantial impact on the community, including direct and indirect job creation. Also, consider that 68 cents of every dollar spent locally stays within the community. When you shop at national chains, only 43 cents of every dollar stays in the community.
- Appease your picky eaters. Studies have shown that kids are more likely to eat foods when they know where it came from. When you can drive past the fields where your food is grown, it helps kids feel connected, which helps expand their food palate.
- Conserve and protect the environment. Eating locally has a positive effect on the environment by reducing packaging and the fuel needed for transportation. By selling farm shares, farmers can also better plan for crops, which helps prevent good food from going to waste.
- Variety is the spice of life. Kick your recipes into high gear with unusual or heirloom varieties of produce that aren’t sold in stores. Even something as simple as using purple or white carrots in a dish can add excitement to a meal.
No matter what reasons matter most to you, community supported agriculture gives you a connection to your food and the people who grow it. Click below to find the CSA that works for you:Shop Our CSAs for the 2019 Growing Season