How to Eat Seasonally and Support North State Farmers with a CSA Membership

Aside from shopping at natural food stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one of the best ways to provide your family with high-quality seasonal produce, while at the same time supporting local farmers.

A CSA membership allows consumers to purchase a share of produce directly from a farmer, and either pick it up on site or have it delivered weekly. The produce is usually packaged in a big box and contains an assortment of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and specialty products (such as canned goods, eggs, cheese and nuts), depending on the farm.

To join a CSA, find a listing of programs for your county in the Healthy Food Resources section. You can visit their website or give the farmer a call to learn how you can get involved. Many local North State farms allow customers to pick out their items for their weekly CSA box online.

Every farm is a little different, and many CSA programs vary based on what the local agriculture has to offer. Some CSAs, like GRUB CSA Farm in Chico, Country Organics in Redding and Top Picks CSA in Mount Shasta, have more items to choose from because they provide produce from a variety of farms in their surrounding counties. Others, like Homeward Bounty Farm in Grenada and Churn Creek Meadow Organic Farm in Redding, grow most of their own produce and still offer an impressive variety of produce and even seeds.

When you purchase a CSA membership, you typically pay for six months to a year upfront. Memberships range from $450-$650, depending on the farm. Many CSAs offer a variety of payment options, including cash, credit card and PayPal. Some accept food stamps/Cal Fresh and have a sliding scale.

Although buying from a CSA might not seem as convenient as going to a chain store, it does have some very important ecological and community benefits. It directly supports small local farms, keeps money within a community and helps families connect with local farms in the actual location their food is grown, as well as the people who grow it. A CSA also protects the environment by reducing the number of miles food has to travel in order to make it to your table. Additionally, many CSAs are willing to deliver weekly boxes directly to your home or workplace for a nominal fee.

When asked why her family loves having a CSA membership, nutrition education specialist, Amy Gonzales, MS, RD, CLC, says, “Convenience! Seasonal, local produce is literally delivered to your door. How much more convenient can it get?” Amy also notes, “Seasonal produce is more nutritious. When produce is picked and eaten in season it retains more nutrients. For example, kiwis picked in season (winter) hold more vitamin C than kiwis that have been in cold storage for months.”

Families who purchase a CSA subscription will soon find themselves with a fridge and pantry fully stocked with unique fruits and vegetables – and this can make for some exciting adventures in the kitchen. Many CSAs stock their boxes with diverse varieties of produce (kohlrabi, anyone?) and often include recipes and advice for preparation. It’s a wonderful chance for kids, teens and even parents to try something new and get healthier in the process.

Jenny Wirth is a certified yoga instructor in Siskiyou County with a BA in English and Creative Writing from Sonoma State University. She is passionate about the health and well-being of families and children.
North State Parent
About North State Parent

North State Parent is a free monthly publication that circulates within five California counties: Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Southern Siskiyou and Tehama. Our pages are filled with family-oriented places to go, services and products geared for women and things to do; a focus on parenting, community, health, education, teens, youth, and much more.

Updated: Oct 10, 2017 @ 11:19 am