Whether you’re just searching for unique ways to inspire your kids to eat more vegetables or you’re interested in building a more sustainable lifestyle for your family, you’ll want to consider subscribing to a CSA box in your area. Of course, it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re new to the concept. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater, NJ put together this guide to finding the perfect CSA box close to home.
What Is a CSA Box?
Image via Unsplash by whynot00
Creating meals with seasonal, organic ingredients is not only good for our bodies, but it’s also better for the environment. Subscribing to a CSA box helps connect you and your family with the process of getting food from start to finish. When it comes to store-bought food, you don’t usually know how many miles that lettuce traveled to end up on your table. You don’t know if your produce was sprayed with anything, and you certainly don’t know the farmer’s name.
That all changes with community-supported agriculture, or CSA, programs. Members of these programs pay a fee, typically as a seasonal fee at the start of a farm’s growing season or as a monthly subscription, and then receive a box at set intervals chock full of delicious, wholesome goodies. You usually pick up your box directly from the farm or at a central pickup location close to your home, though some programs even offer home delivery.
You can think of a CSA box a lot like any of your other subscription services such as Netflix or Spotify — only in this case, you’re subscribing for food. You can fill up your box with just about anything you can think of, including eggs, dairy products, healthy grains, and of course, plenty of fresh produce.
How Can You Find a CSA Box Around Bridgewater?
In addition to getting your share of items grown at your chosen farm, you’ll get to meet and interact with the farmers, making mealtime a much more meaningful experience. Many farms even offer flexible services that fit with your family’s unique needs and preferences, so you’re sure to find the perfect CSA box close to home.
You can start your search online to find CSA options close to Bridgewater. LocalHarvest is a great resource to narrow down your search. You can look for CSAs that you can easily reach in our area, then learn about the farms and products to create a list of potential programs that might work for you.
Some CSAs available within about a half-hour drive or less from Bridgewater include:
- Alstede Farms
- Flocktown Farm (home delivery available)
- Honey Brook Organic Farms (Somerville drop location)
- Melicks’ Town Farm (Bridgewater drop location)
- VonThun’s Country Farm Market (Rutgers University Student Center drop location)
Your kiddos will love getting to eat food from “their” farm. Who knows — they might even try those veggies they’ve always shunned once they have this personal connection!
Choosing the Right CSA Box for Your Family
So, how do you make sure you sign up for the right CSA box for your family’s needs? Here are a few tips to help guide you as you start your new sustainable lifestyle:
- Consider availability: Take a good look at all the farms available close to Bridgewater. This first step will let you see what you can easily access, and from there you can look more in-depth into what fits best with what your family needs.
- Understand the selection: You’ll want to check out a list of seasonal products to make sure you’re subscribing to a farm that really grows things your family will eat. A few new ingredients in each box can help get your creative juices flowing when you’re trying out new recipes. Still, you’ll want to make sure you have some tried-and-true items coming your way so you don’t get overwhelmed. You might also consider going for a “mix and match” or “market-style” CSA, which allows members to create their own boxes with some personal choices instead of getting a standard box.
- Think about quantity: Likewise, you need to understand how much food you’re actually getting. A good approach is to think about the amount of food you buy each week at the regular supermarket to figure out how much produce or meat you’ll really eat. If you realize one share will get you too much food, see if the CSA you’re considering offers half-shares, or coordinate with a local friend or neighbor to split a weekly supply. Remember that your boxes may start off smaller, too, as the growing season often begins lighter than it ends.
- Know what you have to commit: Is the pickup location convenient for you? Do you have the time during specified hours to get your box? Make sure you’re committing to something you can really work into your schedule. Additionally, some CSAs require consumers to work on their farm for a set number of hours. This can offer a great experience for some families — and a real hassle for others. If a CSA has requirements that give you pause, keep searching for other options close to Bridgewater.
- Stay in communication: Keep in mind that farmers will be busy during peak seasons, but know how to communicate with them when necessary. Farms may offer emails, websites, or Facebook pages that let you stay in touch, so open up that line of communication early on in the process. If weather or personal issues get in the way of a delivery or pickup, you’ll know how to resolve the problem.
There you have it, Crème de la Crème of Bridgewater’s tips, tricks, and advice for finding a great CSA box you can access from our home town. We hope you’re feeling inspired to check out this sustainable and healthy way of stocking up on produce and more. Do you have a favorite farm close to Bridgewater that we didn’t mention? A suggestion for how to use new veggies you discover in a box that other families just have to try? Drop us a line so we can share your ideas with other families in the area!