Wouldn’t it be great if you could have easy access to fresh, nutritious foods while supporting your local community? When you join a CSA, you can do exactly that. CSAs allow farmers to offer their freshest produce and other products to their local community, and you and your family can reap the benefits.

What Is a CSA?

A wide variety of colorful vegetables on a table in Oklahoma City, OK

Image by engin akyurt is licensed with Unsplash License

Maybe you already get locally grown fruits and vegetables, eggs, flowers, and more from farmers markets and food co-ops. Joining a CSA, short for community-supported agriculture, is another great choice.

CSAs are becoming a popular way to purchase local, seasonal food directly from farmers. While every farm structures their CSAs a bit differently, farms offer a number of “shares” to the public. A share is essentially a membership or subscription to the farm’s products. You buy a share, and in return, you get a box (or maybe a bag or basket) filled with seasonal produce every week during the farming season.

Typically, shares feed three to four people. Some farms may offer half shares that feed two to three people. Cost and length of membership vary by farm, with memberships generally lasting anywhere from eight to over 20 weeks. You’ll usually pick up your CSA box at the farm or designated pickup sites, though some farms offer delivery options.

What Are the Benefits of Joining a CSA?

Joining a CSA offers an abundance of benefits for the consumer and the farmer. Farmers have a guaranteed market for their products and a steady income flow, and they get to know their community. When you support a local farm through share purchase, you empower that farm to feed the community and be good stewards of their land.

Along with knowing you’re supporting your local economy, you and your family can look forward to the following advantages of joining a CSA:

  • Eating seasonally: Seasonal eating comes with nutritional benefits thanks to the diversity and quality of foods you’ll get. Different fruits and veggies come into season throughout the year, so you’ll get to experience different flavors, colors, and nutrients in your diet — not to mention a real boost in taste.
  • Simplifying your meal planning: When you constantly have to shop to keep your kitchen stocked, it’s easy to get into a rut planning weekly menus. A CSA gives you high-quality ingredients, all in one place, so you save time you’d otherwise spend shopping and get to have fun cooking and eating instead.
  • Creating a clean diet: Having a kitchen well-stocked with fresh, delicious produce will change how you approach your meals. Instead of reaching for processed and low-quality foods, you’ll have a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables to work into your recipes, all while you learn the value of food quality.
  • Expanding the foods you eat: Shopping at the supermarket usually means sticking to your standard shopping list. CSA shares make you test your boundaries and try unfamiliar produce you might not otherwise sample, expanding the flavors you and your kids can enjoy.
  • Getting adventurous: All those unfamiliar foods might seem like a challenge if you’re trying to feed picky eaters, but it’s a great opportunity to involve your kids in the meal-planning process and learn together. You’ll get a diversity of foods that naturally inspire you to cook and experiment more. Some CSAs even offer cooking inspiration along with their shares.
  • Knowing what’s in your food: With a CSA, you’ll get your food from one trusted source, getting to know the people who grow that food. If you’re interested in learning more about the practices your farmers use to grow the food you receive, just ask — most farmers are enthusiastic about letting their community in on the methods and principles they use in their farming.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint: Today’s global food system means you’re generally getting your food from all over the world. When you buy a CSA share, you cut your carbon footprint by getting food that travels a short distance and requires less machinery to grow.
  • Saving money: Joining a CSA cuts out the middleman so you can directly purchase your food from a local farm. That means the produce you get in a CSA share is priced below market value.

You pay the cost of a share upfront with CSAs, which can make joining a CSA feel costly and daunting. When you break down the total cost, however, you’ll find that you’re likely paying around $20 a week to feed your whole family with healthy, high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. At the same time, you’re helping to build your community and joining a movement of people who care about wholesome food and the environment.

What CSAs Are Available in the Oklahoma City Area?

The sense of community you get when you join a CSA means you’ll get to meet your neighbors, join events at your local farm close to home, and engage with your surroundings in a truly meaningful way. There’s nothing that brings people together quite like a love of food, cooking, and eating.

You can search for CSAs close to Oklahoma City using tools like Local Harvest. To get you started, here are a few local farms to check out:

  • Cityside.Farm: Cityside.Farm’s CSA lets you choose a frequency and time frame for your share so you can get a portion of whatever the farm harvests that week. Choose from produce, eggs, and flowers and take your kitchen to the next level.
  • Guilford Gardens: With produce available for pickup or even delivery in the Oklahoma City metro area, Guilford Gardens’ CSA baskets make enjoying fresh produce easier than ever before. This 2-acre urban farm started out with a summer-only CSA but has now expanded, offering year-long CSA options.
  • Doodles & Blooms: CSAs aren’t just for produce. Doodles & Blooms, an Edmond-based specialty flower farm, lets you get monthly bouquets of high-quality, fresh, and local flowers. 

There you have it, Crème de la Crème of Oklahoma City just gave you some great reasons to join a CSA in the Oklahoma City area, with some awesome local farms to explore. Does your family get a CSA box from another local farm? Drop us a line so we can add more recommendations to our list.