The Benefits of Buying Early

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

As the calendar changes over to April, our thoughts may turn to spring and the gardening season. Though I do not have a garden of my own, I have a deep and profound appreciation for vegetables that are locally—and organically—grown. This appreciation was instilled in me by my grandfather, an avid gardener who grew a large variety of vegetables and whose bounty filled our dinner tables from July to November. Some of my fondest memories are of walking through the garden with him, as he proudly pointed to the small vegetables just starting to sprout from the plants. He taught me how to pick the ripest and sweetest tomatoes and what to look for in the perfect pepper. I loved spending summer days at my grandparents’ house; just before lunchtime my grandmother would send me out to the garden to pick yellow beans, tomatoes, or cucumbers, which she would then use for our lunch. Nothing tasted better than those meals made with the freshest of ingredients and an abundance of love.

Not everyone has the time or the space to grow an assortment of vegetables but that doesn’t mean we have lost our taste for fresh, organically grown produce. In fact, as more and more people place a high priority on eating healthy foods today, the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables has increased. But a trip to the local grocery store is not a guarantee that we are going to get the true farm to table experience—since not all of the produce is fresh and locally grown. One of the best ways to ensure that your table will be filled with the freshest of vegetables this summer is to buy a CSA. The acronym stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it refers to a program in which people buy “crop shares” in the early spring, and become CSA members. They pay for a 20-week supply of produce and begin picking up their “harvest” in June. By paying up front for their supply of vegetables, members are supporting the farmers during the planting and growing portion of the season and sparing themselves the expense and uncertainty of buying fresh vegetables at the grocery store.

The advantages to investing in a CSA program are as plentiful as the vegetables, themselves. Here are just a few good reasons to sign up for a CSA:

  • When you arrive at the farm stand to pick up your weekly supply of vegetables, chances are good that the produce was still on the vine or in the ground as recently as that morning, ensuring that your meals will truly be “farm to table” fresh.
  • CSA shares offer the opportunity to feed your family food that is free of pesticides and chemicals—is there a better reason to invest?
  • You get the benefit of having the “experts” select your produce. Because the weekly shares include vegetables that are ready for harvesting, the farmer and his crew—using their experience and expertise—are choosing which vegetables are ripe for picking.
  • Freshly picked, organically grown vegetables purchased at the farm tend to be less expensive than the organic vegetables sold in grocery stores.
  • Picking up your CSA shares at the farm stand gives you the opportunity to develop a relationship with your local farmer. If you bring your children with you, it gives them a better understanding of where their food comes from and an appreciation for the people who grow their food.
  • CSA shares tend to include a wide variety of vegetables, some that you may not be familiar with. This provides you with the opportunity to try something new—which is always a good idea.
  • And when you purchase your CSA from Colchester Neighborhood Farm and pick up your weekly shares, you get the chance to visit with Dapple, our famous celebrity donkey.

If you have not done so, please visit today and download an order form to sign up for your CSA shares.

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