If you’re interested in eating locally grown fruits and vegetables, but don’t have the time or space to start your own tomato patch, think about buying a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
A CSA is a relationship between you and a farm. You purchase a share before the growing season begins. Once that first crop of gourmet lettuce is ready to harvest, the farmer delivers a weekly box filled with seasonal produce to a drop off spot in your community.
“I like the idea of receiving fresh vegetables on Thursday. You’re a little ahead of the game versus waiting for Saturday to go to the farmer’s market,” says Susan Faurot, a client of New Era Farms. “Also, I’m a foodie and I love the quality and the element of surprise each time a delivery comes.”
Many CSA farms are certified organic and grow their crops using sustainable farming methods. And because the food is local and not shipped from California or halfway around the world; it tastes better and it’s better for the environment. You also get a chance to know who is growing your food.
“While I was planting seeds in the greenhouse last week, I kept picturing the faces of my friends and family — the people I’m growing this food for,” says Lisa Marsh, owner of New Era Farms. Lisa lived in Wilmette for many years before becoming a farmer in Wisconsin. “It’s truly a cooperative venture. You’re paying me in advance so I can buy seeds and start planting. Then I’m going to deliver the freshest, best tasting fruits and vegetables that I can.”
Try a CSA if you . . .
- Are willing to be flexible and cook with seasonally available produce
- Wish you could go to the farmer’s market every Saturday, but usually don’t make it
- Want to eat more locally grown produce
- Would like to know where your food is coming from
- Are interested in eating more organic food
Here are some CSAs that deliver to the North Shore:
Wednesday deliveries to Deerfield, Evanston, and Wilmette
Vicki Westerhoff: (815) 953-1512
Wednesday deliveries to Highland Park and Skokie
Home Grown Wisconsin
Katrina Pine: (608) 333-1227
Wednesday deliveries to Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, and Northbrook