Get Tasty, Fresh, Inexpensive Organic Produce Directly From Local Farmers By Joining a CSA -- New Yorkers, Join Mine Now
Posted Dec 18 2008 8:10pm
With spring arriving, fresh fruits and vegetables will be growing in abundance all across the country. One of the best ways to quit focusing on those culprit carbs (think sugary and processed foods) is to begin to relish tasty, nutritious fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
But you don't have to buy expensive veggies and fruits grown clear across the country. After all, these have to be transported in gas-driven trucks and you'll pay more at the supermarket. Your best bet for your body, your pocket book, your local economy and your nearby farmers is to buy locally grown produce.
For a mere $14 a week, you can get the most amazing variety of tasty vegetables, and for an additional $10 a week, you can receive a whole bunch of diferent fruits. (Read on to learn more.)
Last year, I learned that you can save money on veggies and fruits and at the same time help your local farmers and economy by joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. So, at the nudging of the talented, hard-working Christine Savarese, a classmate of mine from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I joined the Columbus Circle CSA in New York City. You can join our CSA now by e-mailing Christine.
Of course, Manhattan isn't the only city where you can get delicious, locally grown fruits and vegetables. In fact, there are CSAs all across the country, and it's very easy to find one near where you live.
Just go to information-packed Local Harvest website, where you can do a search by zip code, city or state.
But if you live in Manhattan, I cordially invite you to join my wonderful CSA. By becoming a member of my CSA, you're in for a real treat. Last year, each and every week, I received a batch of the most delightful, fresh "goodies" from Norwich Meadows Farm.
On any any given week, we received six to eight different seasonable vegetables. (The pickings vary every week so you get surprised. For instance, one time last year, we received about three bags of five different kinds of the most succulent heirloom tomatoes you could ever eat. On other occasions, we got:
Bok choy (delicious!)
Lettuce (all kinds)
Squash (different varieties)
All kinds of cabbage (napa, red, etc.)
Heirloom cucumbers (wow, did they taste amazing!)
Of course, I thought I'd enjoyed veggies and fruits before, but I'm telling you, I have never eaten such juicy fresh fruits and vegetables!
The new season runs from mid-June through mid-November. Here's how it works:
You pay in advance for your vegetable and fruit "shares." (Again, the fees are outrageously low and considerably less than what you'd spend in supermarkets for the same amount of fresh organic foods. Again, you're paying a mere $14 a week, and all the proceeds go to the farmer.)
Every Thursday, between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., you (or a friend) go to the pick-up point in the West 50s in New York City to pick up your fresh goodies for the week. (We have the most delightful pick-up point -- it's like a green oasis in the middle of the city.)
You donate 4 hours for the season to the CSA, whether it's to help unload the truck, give people their produce for the week, or help publicize it (such as I'm doing here).
You also get other wonderful benefits from being involved with a CSA, especially mine:
You get to meet and network with lots of wonderful, like-minded, health-oriented people.
Every week, if you have time, you can hang out for a while with these fun folks.
You can visit the farm play farmer any time over the summer. For Norwich Meadows Farm, you can even sleep in a tent on their land or go to a nearby motel. (Unfortunately, I couldn't go last year, because I was on book deadlines, but Christine and other friends told me about how much fun they had planting cauliflower and picking fava beans.)
You get to participate in periodic special events.
For instance, my Columbus Circle CSA has two special events planned thus far:
On Thursday, July 12, I'm going to do a private book signing of SUGAR SHOCK! and sell limited-edition hardcover copies. (I'm selling the books for a really reasonable price, because these are all my friends and colleagues.)
On Thursday, July 19, talented Raw Food Chef Dan McDonald -- co-founder of True Radiant Health -- will develop an improvisational menu using tasty treats from straight off the truck. (You can hear him chat here on the beta version of iFood.tv.)
Again, I invite you to join my Columbus CSA now. Just e-mail Christine directly, and she'll immediately send you a membership form, which includes info about the excellent prices.
Remember, you'll save lots of money, because what you'll pay to get fresh fruits and veggies direct from the farmer are outrageously low compared to what you'd have to spend at the grocery store. Plus, they taste better. (Of course, you can still get other organic produce from your favorite health food stores.)
Also, I invite you to attend one or both of two upcoming open houses at our Columbus CSA location. They are on:
Thursday, May 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and
Saturday, May 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
At both open houses, you'll get to taste some scrumptious veggies and fruits, and Christine will answer your questions about the CSA.
What's more, you'll get to experience the wonderful "garden oasis in the city" that is our pick-up point. (Yes, as I mentioned above, although my CSA is smack in the heart of Manhattan, we have the most charming, spacious, green space where we pick up our fresh produce.)
By the way, in addition to buying fruit and vegetable shares, you also can order organic eggs, yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, chicken and beef.
So join my Columbus Circle CSA if you live in New York City. Just e-mail Christine now.
A very special thanks to another former IIN classmate,Krista Peterson, co-founder ofTrue Radiant Health, for help in writing this blog entry. Krista, a big fan of raw foods, offers some exciting programs and products, including her Everyday Raw DVD Series. She's also presenting our CSA's talk on July 19 with chef Dan McDonald.