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Eat Better and Healthier for Less Money

Scott Monge

Get your hands on fresh, tasty, healthy food and spend less at the same time by joining a Community Supported Agriculture program. CSAs are a great way to buy local, in-season produce directly from the farmer. By joining a CSA, you purchase a share to gain access to fresh veggies and other farm products. Generally, a membership will get you a box of produce each week throughout the season you purchase a share for. Each week the farmer will deliver your box to a local farmers market. With some CSAs, participants can even pick up their goods straight from the farm.

CSAs offer consumers fresh-from-the-farm food that’s typically richer in flavor and nutrients than the stuff you find at the supermarket. Because farmers grow what’s in season specific to regional weather, soil and geographic conditions, they are likely to produce unusual fare you won’t find in mass markets.

And not only will your share provide fresh, healthy produce, but it’ll save you money, too. Grocery store prices are at an all-time high. The average cost of organic produce from CSAs is lower than most markets. With your veggies already purchased, your grocery store list will be smaller and result in fewer impulse buys and fewer trips to the store.

Most weekly boxes will have you covered for several meals and cut your expenses on eating out. During peak picking seasons, some farms allow share owners to pick excess crop to take home for free on certain days. When you get your fruits and veggies straight from the farm, your produce is fresher and lasts longer.

CSAs are a great option for finding fresh produce. Over time the health benefits can lower your medical bills and give you a great opportunity to sustain a healthy diet. If you have children, days at the farm picking extra produce and finding new recipes will get them excited about what’s for dinner. Foster a great relationship with food growers in your area and research CSAs near you. Be sure to inquire about prices, what’s included in certain seasons, half-shares, pick-up locations and payment due dates

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