Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) isn’t a new concept, but there are still a lot of people who aren’t familiar with it. If you’re one of those people, not to worry—I’m here to help!
Here’s how it works:
A CSA program provides individuals with direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown by local farmers. As a member of a CSA you are purchasing a “share” of vegetables. In many cases, it’s whatever vegetables are harvested from the farm that week; some CSAs offer additional options like fruit shares, eggs, etc.
Many CSA programs have members pay an upfront fee in exchange for a promised timeframe of weekly pickups (usually around 10 weeks or so). This early payment lets farmers adequately plan for the season, reinvest in equipment, purchase new seed and much more. For individuals, the access to fresh and unique vegetables not often found in stores (hello garlic scapes) is enough to join a CSA program, but also consider this—your produce will last much longer than the typical greens you buy at the grocery story because the additional transit time is out of the equation. If the high initial cost of a CSA program is still a barrier to entry, talk to the farmers. Many CSA programs offer a flexible payment plan or offer sliding scale fees based on need.
Here in Colorado we are fortunate to have thriving farmer’s markets and several CSA programs to choose from. I’ve been part of a CSA for a little over 5 years and I couldn’t imagine not doing joining the CSA when summer rolls around each year. Joining a CSA is really joining into the risk and rewards that your local farmer faces every season. And quite frankly, if you want change in your food system then the more we support our local farmers the better off we will all be. Plus as a CSA member I’ve been fortunate to learn about new types of produce—and they taste delicious! In fact, here’s a recipe for a Fava Green puree that is absolutely delicious with in-season fava beans:
Fava Green Puree
- Bunch of fava beans in pods
- Preserved lemon
- Fresh lemon juice
- Garlic scapes
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
To prepare the fava beans, first slice open the pods and remove the beans inside. Next, blanche the beans in boiling water for a few minutes to loosen the white outer casing. Finally, remove the bright green fava bean from the white case and set aside.
You’ll immediately notice that I didn’t put any measurements beside the ingredients. That’s because it’s really up to your personal taste! Add everything except the olive oil into a food processor, slowly adding the olive oil to the mixture. Fava beans are relatively mild in flavor, so start by adding a little here and there—you can always add more later to pump up the flavor! If the mixture is too thick for your tastes, add a little water.