You know the saying if you ate today, thank a farmer? We just signed up for our third year for the F&M Farm Produce Share program. Nothing tastes better than fresh veggies literally straight from the field to our plates. In some cases things are picked just hours before delivery! How is that for fresh!?!
How does it work? Most farm shares are referred to as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. You generally pay in advance in the early spring or with a couple of installments throughout the season as you help the farmer plant and pay for the crops. You are investing your “share”. When the crops are ready for harvest, your share is divided up for pick up or delivery whether it be weekly, biweekly or an agreed upon frequency. The farmer is doing the work for you, and you are reaping a delicious portion of this farming. CSAs are not only available for produce but locally grown meat as well.
Why do we participate in a farm share? Supporting our local farmers and encouraging ourselves to try less familiar things – I discovered I love chard a few years ago that I had never purchased before and likely wouldn’t have just on my own. It is very affordable (we spent way more at the grocery store for less fresh veggies) and for the most part it keeps us away from the grocery store most of the summer months and we eat significantly healthier. We still need to visit the grocery store for a few basics then and again, but we shop a lot less often for the 20 weeks we receive our fresh produce bundles. I personally think it is cheaper than what you would pay for all you get from the local market too, but I haven’t priced out everything in our bundles to give you exact differences as everything changes each week depending on what is in season and available.
A great resource to search out local farms in our area is Durham Farm Fresh. Here you will find a long list of local farms and farmers markets and large amounts of information on our locally grown food. Visiting a farm, going to the market, or investing in a farm share is a great way to get your family excited about locally grown food, eating healthier or learning about farming in our community. My son is always eager for delivery and helps dad put all the goods away when they arrive all summer. Some veggies don’t even make it to the fridge before they become an afternoon snack! We will be sure to share pictures during the season of our goodies so if you don’t make the commitment to one this summer, it is something to think about for next year!