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Joining a CSA


Bite into a succulent strawberry or nibble on a steamed asparagus spear to appreciate how fruits and vegetables are delicious ways to lose weight.

As you decrease chomping down on unhealthy foods, your palate becomes more refined and robust.

You now desire produce full of the freshest tastes. No longer do you want to eat raw spinach or raspberries and get a mouthful of chemical additives, required for the long transportation – often from foreign countries.

You want to taste the multiple weeks’ worth of bright sunshine that ripened a tomato – not bland red glop.

Luckily, the US’ continuing demand for fresh and local food has seen a boon in community sustained agriculture.

Known as CSAs, joining one provides the best foods to fuel your healthy diet and work for local farmers and agricultural workers.  Across the country, many operate year-round from California’s Central Valley to New York’s Hudson Valley. Membership costs range from $15.00 – $50.00 per week, depending on your geographic location.

Peach Trees - Sutter County, CA
Peach Trees – Sutter County, CA

In addition to fruits and vegetables, a CSA box can also contain dairy products such as organic cheeses and eggs, fresh herbs and seasonal items like Christmas wreaths.  Many farms periodically offer meats, ranging from free-range chicken and grass-fed beef to pasture pork and lamb.

Whether you live in a small six-story apartment, a desert condo or a house in the Midwest a CSA can be found near you.

The Local Harvest website is a terrific place to begin.

Enter a zip code for listings of local farms offering CSAs.

Playing Sherlock Holmes online will help you best decide which one best fits your lifestyle and budget.

Most memberships come with enough produce for two to four people.  Some farms, like those near New York City occasionally offer smaller plans perfect for singles.

CSA farms typically deliver weekly or bi-monthly to one or several locations central to most members.

Parents with picky eaters for children often find the excitement of a weekly box, filled with colorful produce, spurs their excitement over any reluctance to eat.  Everyone enjoys visiting their CSA farm during seasonal open houses.

Full Belly Farms Guinda, CA
Full Belly Farms Guinda, CA

Another bonus is the chance to try a diversity of new foods.

A week in July might provide watercress, grape tomatoes and yellow peppers, while rutabagas and red cabbage brighten winter meals.

Your healthy lifestyle can only benefit from joining a local CSA, today.

Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary

Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 10 ounces each), scrubbed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, preferably Japanese tamari or shoyu
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Set two racks in middle section of oven. Line two lipped baking sheets or large, shallow roasting pans with foil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Halve potatoes crosswise (no need to peel). Cut each piece in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece into wedges about 1/2-inch thick. Spread out on baking sheets.

In a small bowl, blend oil, chili powder, and soy sauce. Dribble half of oil mixture over each batch of sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange wedges in one layer with a little space between them. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Roast for 12 minutes. Turn slices over. Reverse shelves for baking sheets. Continue roasting until potatoes are tender, 8 to 12 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional salt, if needed.

To serve: Transfer potatoes to a platter and toss in rosemary. Serve hot.

Recipe Author: Lorna Sass

Recipe courtesy of www.localharvest.org


About LJ Bottjer

LJ Bottjer is a citizen of the world, whose journey began in Manhattan. Now living in Northern California, her garden produces healthy food almost year-round and she enjoys biking, yoga and hiking. www.words4sail.com
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