It’s this time of year that we start going a little stir-crazy, right?! This winter has been mild, but the consistently warm weather is still weeks away. This time of year also leaves us sorely lacking fresh, local veggies. Hardy winter beets, squash, and potatoes are gone, and spring greens are not sprouting yet. It feels far away from Summer’s bounty of fruit and veggies, but now is the time to sign up for a CSA.
CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) has become popular is recent years as many more people are conscious of food choices. You get a weekly share of a farm’s weekly harvest that is filled with a variety of vegetables, and sometimes fruit, flowers, meat, or eggs. The share is straight from a local farm and costs a discount off of the retail price.
If you haven’t tried a CSA yet, there are so many benefits to trying it this year:
- You are supporting a local farm, and we need our farmers to produce the freshest and most nutritious produce
- You get to try new veggies! There are always a few varieties that are new to you. This is how I found my love for kohlrabi, watermelon radishes, and big leaf spinach.
- You get to visit the farm and pick your own
How it works
When you choose a farm to support, you will pay for the share of vegetables before the season begins. Most of the time payment is in full, but some farms allow multiple payments. The cost of a share usually breaks down to about $30 a week for a big box of veggies. The variety is based on what the farm plants, but that price is always a great deal.
Consider splitting a share with family or friends if you don’t think you’ll finish all of the produce.
What to look for
The most important aspects to consider when searching for your CSA are:
1. Is it organic or do they follow organic, no-spray practices? Small farms don’t always bother with getting certified organic because it is a lengthy and expensive process, which doesn’t mean they don’t follow the practices anyways. It is important to ask what their farming practices are because eating organic produce is so important!
2. Is everything in the share from your farm? Many times a small farm will supplement their shares with produce from other local farms, which is totally fine. You want to be aware of the companies that call their products “CSA shares”, but they are really selling boxed produce from around the world that you can get at the grocery store.
Organic Farm CSAs in North NJ
Hesperides Organica (This farm is in Warwick, NY, but delivers to many Northern NJ locations)
Do you know any more organic farms in the area, or those that deliver to the area? Let us know in the comments and we’ll include them in the list!