Why join a CSA you might wonder? If you haven’t already figured out the answer I’ll give you a big hint – your tastebuds will thank you.
Eating food that is in season means that you are eating fresh food. Food that was picked very recently, that was not stored and that hasn’t travelled from the other side of the Earth from the opposite season to get to you. In Australia, we are extremely lucky. We don’t have to store root crops in a cellar to get us through the winter or preserve every last piece of summer goodness to eat during a snow storm. With a bit of planning we can grow and eat freshly picked local food year-round.
So how fresh is fresh? Have ever eaten an apple fresh off the tree at a pick-your-own farm? Even fresh at the start of the season from the shop - you will know that they taste better than the apples available at Christmas time that have been stored for many months before you bought them. Some foods like mangoes which have little shelf-life are only available seasonally in Australia. This makes us appreciate them so much more than something like a banana which is available every month of the year. Or tomatoes, which should really be a treat for 6 months of the year, not a weekly purchase. The tomatoes you buy in winter in Sydney are chosen for their ability to ship from warmer parts of the country, not their flavour. Or they are grown in artificially-heated greenhouses that guzzle fossil fuels.
A CSA avoids the issues of unsustainable farming practices and tasteless vegetables. You only eat what is fresh and growing during that month of the year. What’s more, you only eat what is growing locally and has been picked 24 hours or less before it lands in your lap. This is why it tastes so good. You will eat more vegetables without even trying. Sugars in the plant haven’t begun to turn to starches so they taste sweeter. Dehydration hasn’t taken hold so vegetables are still crisp and juicy. Vitamins and minerals are still present so nutrient content is higher. Microbes haven’t begun to spoil and rot the vegetables. A small-scale producer running a CSA with limited customers can pick vegetables at their peak of ripeness, without worrying about mechanical damage from large shipping and warehousing operations. The supply chain is smaller and so quality is easier to maintain. Best of all you can ask the farmer questions about the produce and support the person who grows your food to receive a fair wage for their labour.
We all know that eating more wholefoods like vegetables decreases our risk of developing cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes – the biggest killers in the Western world. But it also makes us feel more energised. Our digestive systems begin to function more normally. Our mood lifts.
So, get on board. Join a CSA. Join this CSA if you like – your body will thank you for it and your tastebuds will come alive with joy.
Yours in veg,