(This blog is inspired by someone who often inspires me- she lives by example, is a wonderful person, not only is she a superb Registered Dietitian, she is also one of my best friends. I introduce to you, Amanda Terillo (Buchhalter). Before I proceed, I want to tell you about how we became friends. It was our second day of a new semester at C.W. Post- Long Island University. A girl I have never met before comes up to me and asks where I live, she proceeds to tell me where she lives, then a few seconds later suggests we car pool to school together…and I agreed, albeit hesitant that I had no idea how these 2+ hour commutes to school would go with someone I don’t know, I mean, what if we couldn’t stand each other? It turns out that not only did her amazing company make those long semester days bearable, we made the best memories out of it and we have been great friends ever since. )
Amanda and her husband recently signed up for their first CSA– Community Supported Agriculture (click on the link to read about their experience, the easy process and other useful information).
Community Supported Agriculture is a fantastic way to support your local farmers AND receive the freshest, best quality, nutritious seasonal fruits, veggies, and more, straight from their farms. What makes CSA’s unique, is that you are supporting your farmers before they even begin to grow their crops.
“Each season, members purchase a share of a farmer’s crop before it’s planted. This allows the farmer to pay for seed, water, equipment, etc, upfront, so s/he is less reliant on banks and loans. Each week, usually during June through October, the farmer delivers great tasting, healthy food to pre-determined spots in the city. In some instances, members pick up the share from the farm directly.”
Amanda did her first pick up last week and she was able to write about her exciting experience and post about a delicious meal she made with her fresh items. Read Productive Meal
Amanda explained the benefits of a CSA in such a beautiful way that she had me looking up for local CSA’s in Long Island immediately!. She was also generous enough to include the delicious recipe that I cannot wait to try! I encourage you to read her posts, but here is a snippet from her first CSA post:
Benefits to the Farmer
- Helps them to market their food early in the year
- Farmers receive payments early in the year which helps them to purchase the equipment they need
- They get to know their consumer
Benefits to the Consumer
- Get super fresh products
- Get local products
- Be more inclined to try new fruits and or vegetables
- Knowing that you are directly helping local local economy
This leads me to my next point of the Benefits of Local Food
- More Nutrients
- The less time that food passes between the farm and the consumer, the fewer nutrients it will lose.
- Many vitamins and minerals are heat, light and pH sensitive. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to excessive heat, light and pH when in the truck traveling hundreds and thousands of miles, in the ware house, and sitting on the shelves of grocery stores
- Local Fruits & Veggies are picked at their peak freshness, which makes them contain more nutrients
- Last LongerLocal foods are often safer because local farmers take pride in their foods and do not use harmful substances such as:
- Local Fruits & Veggies are picked more recently, which means you will have more time until they become moldy/smelly!
- Antibiotics are used to prevent sickness in animals. This can be harmful in humans as it encourages bacteria resistant pathogens.
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
- Taste (the most important part!!)
- Local crops are picked at their peak of freshness
- Farm made products, such as cheeses and jams are hand-crafted for the best flavor
- Food traveling hundreds (or even thousands) of miles is older, has been stored in warehouses, super market shelves and traveled on planes/trains and cars before getting into your mouth
So there you have it: great taste, the best quality, more nutrients and minimal chemicals- its a WIN-WIN…WIN! I highly suggest doing some of your own research and find a CSA in your area.
Note: some may feel that even when purchasing produce from local farms, prices may still be a little higher than the big supermarket companies. Well this is because those big companies can afford to do so…because they purchase produce that has been genetically modified, sprayed with chemicals, shipped across the country/overseas and has lost a great portion of their nutritional value. The more we support our local farmers, the easier it will be for them to grow and sell more crops, hence a decrease in prices. Again, WIN-WIN…WIN!