Why a CSA Will Change the Way You Eat

With so many new food and dining fads popping up every day (Raw! Vegan! Sugar, gluten, and dairy-free!) it can be downright overwhelming. Yet, one movement we're fully in support of--from both a nutritional and environmental standpoint--is Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. "In the traditional CSA model, you buy a share in a farm in exchange for weekly produce boxes throughout the growing season," Kate Mulling of Los Angeles-based CSA Summerland Farm to Frontdoor says. This relationship not only leads to better nutrition at home, but also helps benefit the environment and your community. Read on for reasons why we love Summerland and to find a CSA in your area, check out the directories at Local Harvest or the National Agriculture Library. _1Though they have been around for decades, the popularity and availability of CSAs is increasing. "CSAs are important because they help to shift the paradigm of how we consume food towards a more local, sustainable, and seasonal model," Mulling says. "[CSAs] help people choose farms over factories and people over packaging -- it's a choice you can make for your health (no dangerous chemicals and pesticides), for your community (supports local farms and businesses), and for the environment (smaller carbon footprint)." It is important to note that as a shareholder in a farm, some of the trials and tribulations of the farmer also become your own. "You absorb the risk should something happen to the harvest and there isn't always as much variety or choice when it comes to the produce selection," Mulling shares. _2As one of our local CSAs, we love the perks that come with being a member of Summerland. They offer free delivery seven days a week, from $30 a choice of three standard boxes (all fruit, all veggies, or 75/25 fruit and veggie), and all boxes come with recipes from some of their favorite chefs and tastemakers, as well as tips on how to store your produce. "In addition to delicious fruit and vegetables, we also offer add-ons for your box from our robust marketplace. You can add a dozen of free-range eggs, Pressed Juicery's green juices and almond milks, gluten and dairy-free baked goods from Coco Bakes, and more specialty goods from both international and local companies," Mulling shares. _3Planning on hosting a brunch or looking to cleanse? Summerland also offers specialty boxes catered to different occasions. "Our specialty kits include: a Tuscan Soup Box, The Brunch Box, The Salad Box, and a Juicing Box for those in need of a little detox," Mullling says. Not in the Los Angeles-area? Summerland will be offering national shipping in the coming weeks. Are you a member of a CSA? What advantages have you seen from your subscription? Let us know in the comments.


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The Juicing Box, $45, Summerland The Brunch Box, $43, Summerland The Tuscan Soup Box, $40, Summerland
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Photograph: Courtesy of Summerland

-- By Liz Lynch