Hallmark Editorial Director Emily Akins is known around our building not only for her mad word skills but also for her eco-passion and culinary chops. She’s on the blog today to tell us how much she loves this little thing called a CSA.
I think I need to find some sort of “Ask Me About My CSA!” bumper sticker or something. I am always going on and on about Community Supported Agriculture. Whether I’m talking about the CSA farm where I’ve been a member for 10 years (can’t believe it’s been that long!), the CSA here at Hallmark (yes, we can pick up locally grown organic veggies and free-range meats right here at work), or any of the other numerous CSA programs around Kansas City, it seems I can never quite say enough about my favorite fruits, veggies and farmers.
One of the big perks of living in the Midwest, besides the scorching heat (kidding!), is that we have a pretty long growing season. There’s ample fertile farmland inside the city limits and beyond. KC has farmers’ markets six days a week, and we can access a broad array of delicious foods that were grown sustainably. And with a CSA, we get those delicious foods all bundled into a subscription service and delivered straight to us at the office. Hallmark has done a great job of working with local farmers to make it easy for employees to enjoy the bounty of the region and to support local family farms. But that’s really the beauty of a CSA anywhere you find one: You get delicious local food that comes to you very fresh, and small family farms get the financial support they need to keep farming. It’s a win-win.
My favorite thing about joining a CSA—besides interesting vegetables like kohlrabi, which looks like a spaceship and is fun to cook—or fresh fruits like strawberries, which are cliché but are such delicious clichés—is the fact that my CSA enables me to get to know the people who grow my food. I know my farmers’s names, and they know my name. My kids know our farmers’ names, and the farmers know my kids’ names, and yadda yadda. You get the picture.
That sense of community can be a rare treat in our fast-paced, digitally enabled, connected-yet-disconnected world. It gives me confidence knowing that I’m buying direct from “my” farmers. My food is fresher because it comes straight to me soon after it’s picked, safer because it was grown without pesticides, and healthier because it’s unprocessed, whole foods. Not to mention, my CSA fruits and vegetables are so much more delicious. Before I joined a CSA, lo those many years ago, I thought I didn’t like tomatoes. Actually I just don’t like bland, plasticky tomatoes that are shipped from who-knows-where to the big-box grocery stores. It turns out, I love a good local, organic, heirloom tomato.
CSAs are a great way to get local, organic and free-range food into your life each week. Around Kansas City, you can find a list of CSAs on the KC Food Circle site. Elsewhere, you can use LocalHarvest.org to find a CSA near you. I still haven’t found any “Ask Me About My CSA!” bumper stickers yet…but I’ll bet I don’t have to wander the Hallmark halls very long before I find someone to DIY some!
Artwork by Livy Long.