You are busy, health-conscious, and money-savvy. Oh, and hungry.
Join a CSA, which stands for “community-supported agriculture” (even though it’s used as a specific noun). You’ll sign up to receive fresh, local produce every week for a whole season. The vegetables and fruit, usually local and organic, are fresher and cheaper than they would be at a regular grocery store.
Search Local Harvest to find a CSA near you. It features listings all around the country, so don’t be put off if some of the search results sound a little off-the-beaten path—the site displays the location of the farms in the main search results. Those results probably showed up for your search because there’s a drop-off location near you, so click through to find out where it is. What’s more, many CSAs even deliver.
Check out the math: We know of a CSA in Manhattan that costs $500 for a 22-week membership (about $20 per week). The share feeds three to four people, so if we went in with three friends, we’d each pay less than $7 per week for awesome, fresh vegetables.
Most memberships provide enough vegetables to feed three or four adults each week; if that’s overkill, you can often buy a half-share for one or two people. In our experience, half-shares are usually slightly more than half the price. All the same, we find that CSA portions are often bigger than we expect. Summer shares are generally lighter, with a lot of mixed greens, whereas autumn shares tend to be heftier and contain large squashes and root vegetables.
Each week, you’ll receive whatever’s fresh on the farm, often up to ten different vegetables each week. We love the grab bag: We’re simultaneously indecisive and excited to learn about new foods. Some CSAs deliver more than produce, too. Many sell meat and eggs in addition to distributing produce. There are even CSAs that only distribute grass-fed organic meat.
Why is this financially savvy? The main idea is to cut out the middle man, allowing regular people to buy healthy, organic food at reasonable prices. CSAs give you access to an excellent assortment of produce and hefty portions (for non-hefty prices). What’s more, you’ll support the local economy and avoid trips to the grocer! If Local Harvest doesn’t turn up any CSAs near your home, use it to find farmers markets, instead.
Eating healthily and supporting local agriculture has never been more stylish.
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LearnVest Living: How To Go Green, Even On A Budget