We love spring, summer, and fall for the fresh veggies we enjoy during that time. I grew up eating fresh veggies and being drug out to the farms to pick whatever it was my mom wanted to get that day (strawberries, blueberries, peas, peaches … we did a lot of picking).
If you are trying to eat healthy then you know fresh is better. If you look at your grocery bill, I bet you will be shocked at how much you are spending in the produce section. The problem with the produce section is that there aren’t coupons for that section of the store really. You can work with some sales and in season items are cheaper but it is still a lot of your grocery bill. (I am sure this will be a future post at some point to keep your eyes open for that.) If you hit up the Farmer’s Market, you can your goods at a better price and they are fresher but you generally need to get there early to buy what you want.
While living in Northern Virginia, we were introduced to the concept of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept. We had never heard of it but it seemed like a great idea. It was just my husband and me at the time but they had a small share and it could be delivered to our apartment. We figured out the cost and it was a little less than we were spending in the produce section at the grocery store per week. If we could send that money to a local farm, wouldn’t that be better? With that we decided we would give it a try. It was one of the best chances we ever took. As the fresh fruit and veggies showed up at our door each week, we got excited to see what we got and then would try to make extra trips to the farm for their pick your own extras. We stayed with that CSA, Great Country Farms (http://www.greatcountryfarms.com/), during our time living up in Northern VA and still miss visits to their farm.
Here in the Charlotesville area there are several CSA organizations to look into if you want to use one. Since the Charlottesville area by definition is so big, one of the first things I look at is actual location of the CSA and where their pick up options are. This website, http://www.vabf.org/csa.php, is a good resource for finding Virginia CSA organizations and one I used when we moved here.
Now here comes some personal opinion and experience. We are subscribers to Horse and Buggy Produce (http://www.horseandbuggyproduce.com/). This is our second season with them. (We did use another CSA organization our first summer in the area. At the end of each season, we have learned to evaluate if the CSA organization we used met our needs or if we want to consider another one for the next year and we did make a change after our first year here.) Horse and Buggy Produce isn’t a traditional CSA in that they don’t have a farm that grows everything they provide to their subscribers. Instead they offer up produce from various farmers in the area. For us, this have given us the wide variety of produce we love in our weekly share that we loved to get from our Northern VA CSA. It keeps us eating our veggies (and fruits!) and cooking at home which is a big money saver by itself!