My first CSA pick-up is a fond memory. I was living in Kingston, Ontario, it was pouring rain as I drove to an unfamiliar area of the city; I was excited, but had no expectations. I arrived at the pickup to two smiling faces, keeping their boxes of produce stowed safely in a garage. The impression that stuck with me from that experience is: these people really care. I cannot speak enough to the care and effort that goes into every harvest box program, from the growing, through the packing, and delivery.
What also never fails to impress me is the quality of the produce. The CSA program provides access to the highest quality local produce: something that often cannot be found in stores because of our current supply chain model. Of course, there will always be individuals, even those who support the philosophy of the CSA model, who are unwilling to commit.
The major reason I’ve encountered as to why a CSA may not seem right for some is a simple concept:"I want to choose my groceries each week." This is a privilege-turned-expectation that we can have whatever produce, herb or ingredient all in one place, any time of year. Although I am thankful to have access to the bounty that international traded grocery stores provide, it’s unrealistic.
"I’ve never ended up with an item in my
harvest box that I couldn’t use or share."
To those feeling they want to choose their items specifically each week, I say: instead of seeing eating seasonally and locally as a burden, see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to explore what your region offers, to try a vegetable you’ve never heard of. This is kitchen inspiration chefs dream of. I can’t believe how many Calgarians have never had raw beets as a salad, or chocolate beet cake?
I’ve never ended up with an item in my harvest box that I couldn’t use or share. I did find one winter harvest box to be too heavy on the beets, but that was because the year before the farm had received the feedback: “more beets!” I appreciate the responsiveness, and the interconnectedness that is integral to the CSA system.
The community aspect is what attracts me most to the CSA pick-up. It’s significantly different than the transactional nature of going to a store. You don’t ring yourself through an automated teller to pay, in fact there’s no transaction at all. That part has already been taken care of. The scheduled nature of a CSA pick-up means mindfully connecting with your food. The mindfulness of the CSA pick-up means people remember their own bags – most of the time – at least far more frequently than impulsive shopping.
The CSA pick-up is a way to slow down and reconnect with the people in the community, around what brings us together most: food! During the pick-up you can get dinner ideas on the spot – ask the farmer! When was the last time going to the grocery store was so engaging?
So, ready to sign up for your own CSA? Get your YYC Growers' Harvest Box today, start by choosing your pick-up location! - click here