Getting healthy food isn’t always easy or inexpensive. With more box delivery and meal delivery services, it is getting easier and cheaper to get great food. With these options, you don’t need to spend hours at the grocery store or your weekends finding food at the local farmer’s market. In this article, we will talk about the ways you can get fresh vegetables while helping local farmers, define what makes healthy vegetables, and talk about the best ways to get healthy food directly to your door.
Helping Farmers Through CSA Programs
CSA programs are a great way to get quality food and help local farmers. CSA, short for community-supported agriculture, are programs that deliver vegetables and other farm products directly to your door. With a CSA program, you will receive fresh food from local farms weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on what you sign up for. The best part is the cost; it’s cheaper than buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. When it comes time for your next delivery, you simply pick up your fresh produce at a local drop-off site or have it delivered right to your door.
CSA programs help farmers also. The farmers treat the produce boxes as buying CSA shares of their produce before it is grown. This method helps the farmers to finance their upcoming season of growing through pre-sale. CSA boxes are beneficial to both the farmer and the consumer.
When looking for farms to support by purchasing CSA boxes, it is important to look at the practices of the farm. You want to know if the farm uses organic and sustainable practices in their fields and greenhouses. You should make sure the farm recycles and reuses water and soil. They should not use chemical fertilizers, spray pesticides, or use herbicides. Knowing if they apply animal manure when growing produce for your CSA boxes may also be important to you. Organic farms will often take extra steps like crop rotation to protect the soil from wearing out too quickly.
A CSA box will contain a variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs depending on the season and farm. From June to November, you may expect to receive potatoes, onions, sweet corn, tomatoes, banana peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, radishes, salad mix, other leafy vegetables, cabbage family crops, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, culinary herbs, and fresh cut flowers.
In the winter months, expect to receive potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, beets, carrots, onions, winter squash, apples, radishes, parsnips, garlic, and greens-leafy vegetables.
Understanding Organic, Non-GMO, and Sustainability
With the wide variety of food available for you to buy, it can be hard to determine what is healthy. When deciding what vegetables are healthy, look for local produce with vibrant colors. Healthy vegetables will be filled with flavor, while ones that are past their prime will have less color and taste. Buying fresh and organic food is important. Buying too many imported vegetables or vegetables grown with chemicals can be unhealthier than not buying vegetables at all.
Organic foods are free of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, according to the USDA. Under standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food companies that label their product as “organic” must be at least 95% organically produced. Foods labeled organic must also be free of genetically modified organisms or ingredients, irradiation, and growth hormones.
The term “GMO-free” means that the food was not produced using a genetically modified or engineered seed. Genetically engineered seeds have the DNA of other species inserted into the plant’s genetic code. It can be difficult to avoid buying genetically modified food even if you are eating organic produce. Some research has shown negative health effects from consuming foods that have been genetically modified. Fortunately, some companies are labeling their packages “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” to make it easier for people like you and me to purchase food that they feel safe eating.
The Sustainable Agriculture Standard was developed by the National Organic Standards Board and recognized products that have been grown, harvested, transported, stored, and manufactured according to specific practices set forth by the USDA. These standards must be maintained for at least three years, with most farms undergoing an annual third-party audit. Sustainable agriculture is better for the environment because it does not deplete the soil, pollute waterways, or encourage large-scale farming. It supports local family farms and small businesses to help create a healthier economy.
When you are looking for an organic farm to purchase CSA boxes from, it is important they operate with these principles in mind. The Nashville CSA program has a high standard for the middle Tennessee farms in their program. They only allow farms in the program that meet strict standards. Their flexible CSA program has a variety of options for purchasing and can be picked up at the Nashville Farmers Market.
Added Convenience with Delivery Options
Another added benefit of CSA boxes is that they can be purchased through meal and grocery delivery services and delivered to your doorstep. Services like this make it much more convenient than having to drive the Nashville Farmers Market to pick them up. These delivery services offer other benefits like the ability to add other products to your CSA box.
Many services also deliver goods from other local producers and farmers that specialize in organic and sustainable goods. Some include butcher shops, such as Beaverdam Creek Farm and Caney Fork Farms, that offer grass fed beef, pork, and lamb. You can also add other goods such as certified organic and fair trade coffee from places like Honest Coffee Roasters. Home delivery is the most convenient and easy way to get fresh produce and high-quality, sustainable goods.
When deciding what vegetables are healthy, look for local produce. Organic foods and sustainable farming practices help to ensure a healthier environment and support small family farms, which in turn provides more jobs and economic prosperity in our communities. When selecting organic food, it is important to consider how they were produced, as well as where they come from. When looking for an organic farm to purchase CSA boxes from, it is important they operate with these principles in mind. Find a delivery service near you that can deliver CSA boxes and other local goods. It is possible to eat healthy and for it to be convenient.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.