Thursday, May 1, 2014
Farmer's Markets and CSAs
One thing to know about farmer's markets is to get there EARLY. Those in the know understand, this is NOT a supermarket, they don't have "more in the back." So for the widest choices, roll out of bed with the sunrise and hustle to your market. Keep in mind if you show up later in the morning, you can not be upset that someone is out of something.... you snooze, you loose. And keep in mind, farmers sell what is in season and grows local. If you live in Michigan you're not going to nab a pineapple, just saying. And don't show up near the end of the market day expecting to grab a deal. While farmers don't want to haul it all home, they aren't going to give it away either. This is how they make a living, so respect the time and energy they spent growing/making the item.
So let's say your just not a morning person and you haven't built a relationship with a farmer.... how can you score the same wonderful produce without waking at the butt crack of dawn? Join a CSA!!! What is a CSA you ask? It is Community Supported Agriculture. What that means is the farmer sells "shares" of what they plan to grow. Depending on what is in season, some weeks you will receive more then others. Depending on which farmer you throw in with, you can get all sorts of things from produce and eggs to meat and baked goods. It is a wonderful way to get what you need and support your local farmers. Something to keep in mind: If they have a great year, your share reflects that. But if it is a bad year due to say, drought, well your share will reflect that too. CSA members are not guaranteed X amount each week.
How does one go about finding a CSA? Well you could just ask around your farmer's market. Keep in mind, many farmers sell their share way in advance of the planting season. If you do find a farmer with a CSA at the market, they may not be taking on any new members till the next year. You can also go to the website Local Harvest and "shop" CSAs listed there. The website gives all sorts of great basic CSA information as well as names, contacts, and information on what each CSA typically provides to it members in the way of goods.
So get out there and support your local farmers one way or another my friends. I promise not only is it good food, but it is good time and good friendships too!!!