Extending the Spirit of CSA

Mike TrueseArticlesLeave a Comment

– by Amaliya Morgan-Brown

The formal 2002 CSA season is coming to an end. This does not mean that the spirit of your CSA experience has to end. Here are a few suggestions for continuing to eat local, healthy foods, and participating in the educational, social and political aspects of the CSA experience.

Where to Get Your Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
There are nearly 20 farmers? markets throughout New York City that are open year-round. Many of these markets have regional farmers who not only have fruits and vegetables but also provide fish, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, eggs, dairy products, honey, and maple syrup. This is a wonderful way to continue to eat fresh, seasonal produce and to support regional farmers.

For the dates, times and locations of all the Greenmarkets in New York City check out the Council on the Environment of New York City?s website at www.cenyc.org/HTMLGM/schedule. Or call Greenmarket at 212.477.3220.

You can also find a list of all the farmers? markets in New York State by going to the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets? website at www.agmkt.state.ny.us/AP/CommunityFarmersMarkets.asp.

Another option to consider is joining your local food Co-op. Co-ops often try to purchase locally produced fruits and vegetables and most label produce that is locally grown. Don?t hesitate to encourage your local Co-op or any store to start purchasing more locally grown vegetables. Your local food Co-op is also a great place to meet others who care about food and farm issues. Contact the 4th Street Coop (212.674.3623), the Park Slope Coop (718.622.0560) or the Flatbush Coop (718.284.9717).

Preserving Fruits and Vegetables
Storing, canning and freezing vegetables are all great ways to extend the CSA season. Take a look at last weeks Just Food article to find out all you need to know about storing and preserving food for the winter. Something to consider when canning is that canning is easier and more fun when done with friends. Have a canning party. If you are concerned with the cost of a pressure-cooker, you might consider sharing the cost with a group of friends. Another option might be to encourage your CSA to communally purchase a pressure-cooker that its members could use. Also, be sure to get in touch with your CSA site coordinator or Just Food about possible canning demonstrations. Check out the Northeast Regional Food Guide; it?s an excellent website with information about vegetables, their growing and harvesting season, their nutritional content and much more: www.nutrition.cornell.edu/FoodGuide/

Growing Your Own Food
If you are feeling ambitious, something you might consider for next year is growing your own food. It?s a great way to supplement your CSA share and can be a source of vegetables all year-round. Remember, planning for next year’s garden starts now. See www.nyselfhelpguide.org/tips/tip1011801479-43528.html or call Greenthumb at 212. 788.8070. You can also contact Just Food to find out more information about the City Farms program, which is helping New Yorkers grow more food. Visit their website at www.justfood.org or contact Kathleen McTigue at 212-645-9880 x13.

Help Save Family Farms
As a CSA Member, you already help save local family farms with your food dollars. You can also help out by learning more about and acting on the food and farm issues that interest you. Here are some issues and organizations where you can begin your search:

Farmland Preservation: 202-331-7300 or www.farmlandtrust.org
Factory Farming and Food Irradiation (G.R.A.C.E): 212-726-9161 or www.factoryfarm.org
International Agricultural and Trade Policy: 612-870-0453 or www.iatp.org
General Agricultural Policy Issues: (845) 744-8448 or www.sustainableagriculture.net

Although winter is approaching, your hard work and dedication toward supporting small, local farms does not have to end.

Have a great winter and keep the CSA spirit alive.

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