I joined my first CSA (community supported agriculture) last year and it ended up being a highlight of our summer. My kids are both picky eaters. I have tried many times to get them on the vegetable eating train, with little success. They didn’t end up eating most of the veggies, but I think the exposure and going to the farm each week was good for them. It helped me to eat more vegetables. It also felt good to be supporting a local farm.
CSA’s in Central Mass
Here are just two CSA’s in Central Mass that I’m familiar with, but I suggest you check out the ones in your area and find what works best you. There are TONS to choose from and there is probably at least one right near you!
Fay Mountain Farm – Charlton, MA
This is the CSA I did last year. They have a nice farm store. Instead of getting a pre-packaged box each week, you get to fill up your own basket. They offer full bushels and ½ bushels. They also have a big sandbox filled with toys! Pick Your Own Blueberries, apples, and pumpkins are also offered.
Whittier Farms – Sutton, MA
I have not done the CSA at Whittier Farms, but I have been several times and their produce and meat are always great. They offer a lot in their farm store including dairy products, meat, breads and pastries. They also have a curbside pick-up option which is AMAZING for those days you just don’t want to get the kids out of the car seats. My kids love the flavored milk, ice cream freezer and visiting the cows. The staff there have always been super helpful, so I’m sure the CSA is great too.
Things to Consider When Selecting a CSA:
Most CSA’s have a scheduled day and time for pick-up, and they plan around those times, so there may not be a lot of wiggle room. You’ll want to make sure that pick-up day works for your schedule.
I have seen a huge range in the prices of local CSA’s. You’ll want to check out different farms and make sure the one you choose makes sense with your budget. Different farms may offer different sizes, which of course come with different prices.
Some CSA’s include a work requirement as part of the package. It could be anything from working the store, to harvesting and planting. CSA’s with a work requirement are often a little bit cheaper, if you have the time. This option doesn’t make sense for me right now, with a 2 and 4 year old, but maybe when they are older it will be a good experience.
Size and Type
Some CSA’s have you go pick the produce yourself. Others have prepackaged boxes. Others simply let you shop their farm store produce. Make sure you choose a CSA that fits how active you’d like to be in the food selection process.
My kids are still picky eaters, but the CSA helped us to eat a little healthier over the summer. I’m still using some vegetables I had frozen. It also gave us a set family activity each week. It’s a win all around!