CSA Farms- What, why and how?

The Story of Momma Pig

When I was little, my parents would bring my sister and I to visit a farm near our house. We would  feed the chickens, pigs and cows, and talk to them as if they were our life-long friends. We would spend hours there; imagining which pigs were friends with the chickens, and wondering why we couldn’t bring the piglets home. One of our favorite animals was Momma Pig. She was always in the same stall each time we visited, with all of her little piglets oinking, eating, and running around her. She was a staple to our visits, and we would race to her stall first to see how she, and her piglets, were doing.

One afternoon we came to visit the farm, and to our horror, Momma Pig’s stall was empty. We looked around everywhere for her, but she was nowhere to be found. My dad told us that they had moved her to a different farm, where she had more fields to roam and more ice cream sundaes to eat. We couldn’t imagine she would ever leaving us, or her piglets, but with a little convincing, we believed him. A few years later, when my dad thought we were old enough, he told us how Momma Pig never made it to the “new farm” and explained to us the reality Momma Pig faced that day. When you’re little, you don’t realize the animals you think our your friends, are also the ones that end up on your dinner plate.

I imagine this would be the time in a person’s life where they would decide to be a vegetarian. Luckily for me, my concentration span was short, and it wasn’t long before I was back to eating cheeseburgers and bacon.

Although I still eat meat, I know the way animals are treated in big factories and slaughter houses is not okay. In a way, they should be treated as friends, but eventually there will be an end to the friendship (cue “The Circle of Life” song from the Lion King). This is why I am a HUGE fan of CSA farms. Buying shares from a local farm means always knowing the food you eat is safe (both for us meat eaters and for the animals).

About CSA:

For those of you not familiar with CSA farms: CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”.

There are CSA farms all over the country that sell shares of vegetables or meats (depending on the farm) to its community. This is a great way for farmers to meet the people and communities that benefit from their farming, and also a great way for the community to get super fresh meats and veggies straight from their local farms! It’s also a great way to support your local businesses, opposed to those big-name, mostly-chain grocery stores!

Now to the good stuff- the food. In any recipe, the ingredients are what makes the dish stand out. You need fresh, flavorful ingredients to make your eyes pop and your taste buds dance. I receive my monthly CSA from Chestnut Farms in Harwick, MA and each month I receive a 10 pound cooler full  of fresh, delicious, beautiful meat. Each month is a surprise, so we never know what we are going to get, but it makes cooking and creating that much more exciting. We’ve received all different cuts of chicken, beef, lamb, turkey and pork, which have all been as delicious as the last. The share gives me a chance to test out new recipes, which I will be sharing here on the blog!

Each CSA works a little bit differently, so if you are interested in joining, take a look online to see what CSA farms are near you. LocalHarvest.com has a tool you can use to find the farms in your area!

If you are from the Massachusetts area, check out Chestnut Farms and learn more about the shares they offer here: http://chestnutfarm.org/

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