Community Supported Agriculture. That’s what the acronym CSA stands for – and it’s one worth remembering, especially if you live within driving distance of Miller Farms or one of the farmer’s markets they attend.
As a registered dietitian and farmer’s daughter, I was on the lookout for a good option for local produce when I moved to Colorado a few years ago. Luckily for me I stumbled across Miller Farms’ CSA. After just one season of experiencing the goodness, I was sold forever.
Why do I love the Miller Farms CSA so much? Oh, let me count the ways…
Fresh Food Just Tastes Better
Produce doesn’t get any fresher than when it comes from Miller Farms. Everything sold at the market is picked within days – and often within hours – of it showing up at the stand.
On the other hand, produce from the grocery store has been picked before it’s fully mature so it can withstand the long travel times from field to store to my kitchen.
As a dietitian, I’m constantly encouraging my clients to eat more veggies. The problem? Many of my clients think vegetables don’t taste good – and the reason is because they’ve never tasted fresh produce.
If your only experience with zucchini are the sad little squash in the produce section of a grocery, I’m not surprised you’re underwhelmed. Do me a favor and go try one of Joe’s zucchini. You’ll never believe how sweet a squash could taste!
The CSA Makes my Food Budget go Green
I live to eat healthy, quality food. I shop sales and I’m very budget conscious. A CSA is an investment – both an investment in your local farmer, but also an investment in yourself. In your health.
It might seem expensive for the up-front cost of a CSA share (although Miller Farms understands the importance of budget and offers financing options) – but once you’ve invested, this CSA will return double on your dollar.
The first summer I signed up for the CSA, I cut my food bill in more than half and found myself challenged to eat all the vegetables. Not only did purchasing the CSA save me money in the long run, it also kept me accountable to eating healthy, quality food. What could be better?
Bonus: if you have SNAP benefits, you can spend them on your CSA!
Unlike many CSAs which require you to go to the farm and pick up a basket of pre-selected vegetables – which you may or may not need or want for the week – Miller Farms lets you bring your basket to one of their many farmer’s markets and select veggies yourself.
This means I don’t have to drive 30 miles to their farm in Platteville (I save that drive for the Fall Festival). Nope, instead the local farmer’s market Miller Farms attends is within biking distance of my house.
Every Sunday I take 20 minutes out of my day to pick up my veggies. Miller Farms also raises and sells meat, so when I pair this with other goodies I find at the farmer’s market I often skip the grocery store altogether.
It’s amazing to find everything we need to eat for the week all at the farmer’s market!
Support the Local Economy
Buying local and supporting small business doesn’t just help the small business; buying local also benefits the community. Studies show that “shopping small” returns about 45 cents on the dollar compared to 14 cents on the dollar when shopping at big-box retail.
From creating jobs to putting money in the pockets of people who will spend it locally, supporting local and small businesses is a huge benefit to the community.
Support a Family Farm
I’m going to be honest: I’m a little biased towards supporting family farms.
You see, I grew up on a farm and know firsthand the blood, sweat, and tears which go into producing a crop.
It’s hard work – physically, mentally, and emotionally – to be a farmer. You pray for rain when it’s dry and pray for sunshine when it’s flooding.
Investing in a CSA is a way to provide cash flow to a farmer at the time when he’s doing most of his investment: buying seed, paying employees to plant and weed, and purchasing nutrients to give to his crop.
If you want to be directly involved with modern agriculture, there’s no better way for you to participate than to sign up for a CSA.
As a special thank-you, sign up for the CSA during the month of March (2020) and receive a free month of my seasonal meal guides, which include a grocery list and recipe packet.
Whole Share: $800 / Half Share: $500 / NEW Quarter Share: $300
Ann Kent is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who owns a private practice based out of Fort Collins. She collaborates with Miller Farms to write meal guides based on locally available seasonal produce. Learn more about her meal guides and nutrition coaching services on her blog and website, Peas & Hoppiness