It’s finally here! I walked into my apartment last night bearing a particularly leafy prize: the first installment of my Duke Campus Farm CSA. In moments radishes, beans, and lettuces adorned my countertop, providing me with fresh, healthy, and local food.
CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, are growing in popularity throughout the United States. The idea is simple. Customers pay in advance for a weekly or bi-weekly box of fruits, vegetables, and/or breads that they pick up from a pre-determined location. In turn, the farmers fill those boxes with the best produce they have growing that week. The CSA system is a win-win for everyone: the farmers know they have weekly customers they can depend on, allowing them a certain measure of financial security. In addition, customers are exposed to vegetables that are fresh and in-season, and perhaps even varieties they have never tried before.
That’s how I felt about radishes. Okay, I liked the look of them. With their red, round bottoms and tall, leafy stems they are certainly a pretty vegetable, but how the heck do I eat them? Hopping on Google, I searched the obvious, “How do you eat radishes?” The answer was surprisingly simple – with salt! Since I’m not one for cooking, I was thrilled that radishes could be eaten without the need to sauté or boil them, and I was even more thrilled to discover how much I liked the fresh crunch.
CSAs are branching out of fruit and vegetable boxes. NC Catch offers customers a selection of local seafood, caught on North Carolina’s own coast. Like the produce CSA, these fish and shellfish options expose consumers to new varieties, thus providing more revenue streams for fishermen while taking pressure off the most popular fish species.
It may be June, but there are CSAs still open. Transplanting Traditions, an incubator farm located on TLC’s Irvin Farm property, still has space in the second session of their summer CSA. To find more CSAs, check in with your local farmers’ market or local farmers and sign up for your own today!