All About CSAs: An Easy, Affordable Way to Go Organic

Go Organic (and Save!) with a CSA. Here's How. | eMeals #eMeals

Whether you’ve decided to follow a Clean Eating or Paleo lifestyle, or you just want to eat healthier, taking the leap to organic produce can be expensive. Thanks to CSAs, however, buying organic can be more affordable.

What is a CSA and how does it work?

Also known as “Community Supported Agriculture,” CSA groups provide high-quality produce from local farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you purchase a “share” of seasonal produce. These shares tend to be cheaper than buying from the grocery store because you cut out the middleman. Subscription payments can be yearly, monthly, or weekly, depending on the preference of the farm. Not only are you helping farmers, but you’re also providing the freshest fruits and vegetables for your family.

Each CSA group is different. You can get a fruit and veggie box once a week, twice a month, and so on. Some CSA groups even allow you to help pick the produce from the farm for a discount on your own box. You may also find that your local CSA provides fresh eggs, organic meats, and other products. To find a CSA in your area, check out Local Harvest.

Related Article: The Best Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Variety

Another great benefit of getting a CSA box is the variety of produce you’ll receive. Some groups give you a few days’ notice of what the box will contain, while others allow you to pick what you’d like from the farm directly. Either way, you will most likely be able to experiment with produce you may not have ever cooked with before. This is a great way to get the kids involved in trying new things. Don’t be worried if your box has ingredients that aren’t in your weekly eMeals plan. Our recipes are flexible and substitutions can be easily made to allow you to take advantage of the delicious produce. Here are a few suggestions for substitutions:

Use these interchangeably

Hearty Leafy Greens: kale, Swiss chard, collards, turnip greens, spinach

Salad Greens: arugula, baby spinach, mixed baby greens, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce

Cruciferous Veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli rabe

Cabbage Family: bok choy, baby bok choy, green cabbage, red cabbage

Root Veggies: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas

Onions: red onion, yellow onion, sweet onion, shallot (use a small amount of onion if replacing)

Tree Fruit: apples, pears, nectarines, peaches

Berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries

So next time you shy away from trying organic produce because of the overall cost, consider giving a local CSA a try. Check out Local Harvest to find a CSA in your area, and pair your produce with your eMeals meal plan for extra savings.

-Text by Ashley Strickland Freeman

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