Invest Now For Goodness All Around: Flavor, Quality, Your Health, Farm Health
Listen closely, and you may hear trowels making small holes. The small whispery sound? Onion sets, sliding into place. That silence? Pea seeds tumbling down into their snug soil beds. It's too wet to plow in most of Kentucky, but gardeners who can't wait are out there this week, honoring the old gardeners' wisdom that gives peas and onions a chilly chance to take hold in February.
In recent years, February holds a different kind of importance for those of us who do not have big gardens. It's time to invest with a farm for the growing season, time to choose a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) provider—a source for regular baskets of locally grown foods that will sustain you and your family for months. If you don't know how to locate options, the best starting point is Local Harvest. Enter your zip code, highlight the CSA button, and see what's available. The site includes 115 Kentucky options at the moment.
CSAs are seasonal, with spring and summer offering the most choice and opportunity for supporting farms directly with your food dollars. Our household subscribes to the Elmwood Stock Farm winter CSA each year, and we eat amazing organic, local food no matter how bitter the weather.
CSAs in any season offer a way to meet the challenge Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer recently issued: Invest 10 percent of food dollars in Kentucky Proud items—or locally produced foods, wherever you live:
“If every Kentucky family spent just 10 percent of its food dollars on Kentucky Proud items, that would generate more than $500 million to Kentucky farms and agriculture-related businesses,” Commissioner Comer said. “That would have a tremendous impact on the economy in every corner of the Commonwealth, rural as well as urban. Just as important, Kentuckians would eat more fresh, nutritious food, which is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the miles their food travels.”
An easy way to accomplish this goal is to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program near you. A CSA is a community of individuals who share both the bounty and the risk of a farm or group of farms. Typically, members of the CSA pay the farmer(s) in advance for weekly shares of the farm’s harvest during the growing season.
Now is the best time of year to join a CSA because each one has a limited number of slots depending on each farm’s production capacity. For a directory of CSAs, go to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture website at www.kyagr.com/marketing/CSA.html.