Fresh and local produce grown using environmentally friendly practices is often assumed expensive and difficult to source. Residents served by the Alexandria Framer’s Market know differently. Slightly higher prices than local grocery stores are quickly forgotten with the aroma of huge peaches smelled from stalls away and wild harvested morels.
However, it is difficult to tell the resell produce from the locally grown. Also, you may not have room in the budget. One solution open to all residents is joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program. Take a brief look at the benefits and your options in Alexandria.
CSA Membership Features
The number feature of any CSA is building a relationship with your local farmer. You always know the source of your food and the destination of your money. Memberships are sold by the share, and these vary in size. Some CSAs continue all year long, and other programs follow a monthly or bi-monthly schedule for 22 or more weeks of the year.
Each farm has its own listing of crops that typically include a minimum of greens, colored vegetables, root crops, and protein sources, such as beans and lentils. These are plotted out on a timeline, so you have a rough idea of what to expect in your basket and when, but the harvest ultimately dictates the food selection.
Early season offerings tend to have more greens. Mid-season includes fresh herbs and vegetables. Late-season baskets bring back the greens and include root vegetables. You must learn to eat seasonally and store foods at their height of abundance.
Expanding Diversity in Alexandria
Some centralized CSA programs bring together a range of farms and other producers to include meats, eggs, and even beeswax candles in the monthly baskets. Other CSAs are limited to a single farm. If you are a snap pea fanatic, you’ll need to ensure the farm of your choice is dedicated to growing snap peas!
Fortunately, several farms in the region now offer CSA programs, and there is no reason to limit yourself to just one. Some are even working on a reduced price basket for those facing economic hardship. Take a closer look at the following farms :
Potomoc Vegetable Farms : Whether you prefer an eight-week seasonal basket or the full 24-week share, PVF is sure to keep your plate full with delicious, ecoganic produce. Enjoy the delicate flavors of chard, Chinese greens and many other veggies without worry of chemical pesticides.
Mindful Hands Group : Besides yoga and you-pick berry rides, this group also offers a 20-week home or office delivery from the Great Country Farms network. Each share feeds 2-3 adults and includes U-pick privileges.
Olin-Fox Farms : This CSA provides fruits and vegetables all year. Watermelon, berries, and heirloom tomatoes during the summer are partnered with honey, eggs, and other produce in the colder months.
Most small farms cannot afford the expense of organic certification. Nevertheless, most remain committed to , CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, Potomoc Vegetable Farms, Mindful Hands Group, Olin-Fox Farms, Chemical Fesustainable agriculture free from dependence on . do something good for your family and the Earth by strengthening local food connections this year.