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YOU MAY HAVE heard
One way to eat more locally grown foods is to shop at a nearby farmers market. Another way is to join a CSA, or community-supported agriculture. This time of year, early spring,
My family joined one
Our farm's basket will have everything from asparagus to zucchini, depending on the season. We'll also get free newsletters with recipes and invitations to events on the farm, such as potlucks and pick-your-own strawberries, snap peas and pumpkins.
If you haven't heard of them before, CSAs have been around in the U.S. since the mid-1980s, a good idea imported from Europe. Now, there are probably more than a thousand CSAs in the states, including one in the Fredericksburg area.
Prices vary by farm. Most farms allow you to buy a full share, which is a weekly market basket of produce large enough for a family of four, or a half-share, suitable for singles or couples. Prices depend on the foods included and the length of the harvest.
This year, my husband and I chose a CSA half-share that cost $378 for 26 weeks; it also includes you-pick strawberries and sugar snap peas. It works out to about $14.50 a week, or about $1 a day per person for chemical-free produce. And when you add in the organic strawberries, it's an even more budget-friendly deal.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES
We're not the only people who benefit from buying locally--it helps our neighbors, too. Money spent on local businesses tends to help the local economy, while profits earned by national chains tend to be spent out-of-state on corporate executives and the like.