This time of year, in the Maryland area, perserved food seems to prevail in our diets. With budgets and availability, if you don’t know how to shop well for the fresh stuff — like through Community Supported Agriculture — winter veggies seem to come out of a tin can. That stuff’s loaded with salt and lacking the full amount of vitamins as fresh. Excess salt can cause a bunch of health problems, not the least of which is swelling. I have a hard time wearing jewelry this time of year, myself. Here’s a solution for people in or near Maryland, from our Department of Agriculture:
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging residents to consider joining a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local farmers while receiving healthful, fresh produce all summer long. CSA members pay an upfront subscription fee to farmers in return for a share of the season’s harvest, which is usually provided weekly. For convenience, many CSAs deliver to central locations for pick up closer to subscriber’s home or work on a certain day of the week. Still others have special rates if the subscriber helps with the harvest on the farm.
“CSAs are another way for residents to buy fresh, nutritious food directly from a local farmer and to better understand how our food is grown,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “This is the time of year to join a CSA and enjoy the fruits of local farms all summer. By purchasing local food, consumers reduce the carbon footprint of food transportation and protect the environment by keeping land in farming rather than development. It’s also another great way to support our family farmers and local economy.”
According to the most recent agricultural census completed in 2007 by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, there were 12,549 farms in the US marketing their products through Community Supported Agriculture. In Maryland, there were 161 CSAs.
Make sure to sign up soon, CSA memberships typically fill up fast. Check out the CSA listings to see which arrangement, pricing, variety of products, and pick-up location will work best for your family and act now to reserve your spot. The department’s Maryland’s Best web site currently contains 84 farms that offer CSA programs. To find a CSA farm near you, go to www.MarylandsBest.net.
Brief soundbooks of Maryland farmers talking about their CSAs are available online:
Davoncrest II, A CSA in Talbot County – http://youtu.be/gk0Mjmxm6hA
Homestead Farms Inc, A CSA in Queen Anne’s County – http://youtu.be/lqiugFNptWQ
Even Star Organic Farm, A CSA in St. Mary’s County – http://youtu.be/R6IOUVHytOM