We are lucky enough to live on a property with plenty of room for a large organic garden. Between the bugs, disease and deer, our garden has been a lot of work! And with a new baby, I wasn’t even going to attempt to try to grow late season crops. As a result, we have been missing out on our daily dose of local produce.
Here in Virginia, it is possible to have fresh local vegetables even in the winter. I have several friends who grow things like spinach throughout the winter using helpful aids such as row covers, greenhouses and cold frames. Mother Earth News describes a technique where you can attach a raised bed to the side of your house and grow vegetables all winter long! Definitely something I would like to try once I am a homeowner again. If you have a root cellar or a similar setup, you can store root vegetables like potatoes and carrots all winter long.
Since cold frames and root cellars are not on the agenda for us, we turned to the next best thing . . . a CSA share! For Good Deed #7, I signed up for a winter produce share. Every week, I get a box of fantastic-tasting fruits, vegetables and other foods that come from local farms. Even though it is the middle of winter, we are able to feast on pumpkins, sweet potatoes, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, honey, mushrooms, frozen berries, squash, onions and more.
A CSA (or Community Supported Agriculture) is an arrangement where you purchase a share or subscription in a farm and receive a box of seasonal produce and other foods in return. Some CSA programs (including mine) allow you to choose, from an available list, which foods are included in your box. I also get to choose from other foods like eggs, meat, bread and granola.
The great part about a CSA share is that enables me to support local farms as well as my local economy. I am no longer buying foods that have been shipped from hundreds or even thousands of miles. And most of the foods I receive are organic or low-spray.
You can find a CSA farm near you by visiting LocalHarvest.org.
For more information about eating healthy and locally:
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