Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our Whole-Diet CSA





Ever since reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball a few months ago, I have been fascinated by the idea of a whole-diet CSA: a farm partnership in which one regional farm fulfills all of your family's dietary needs for an entire year with fresh, organic foods ranging from seasonal vegetables to pastured meats and eggs, to raw milk, grains and legumes.  I wondered if such a farm existed as brilliantly in real life as it sounded on paper.  It turns out, it does.

The whole-diet CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model, sometimes called whole-farm CSAs or full-diet CSAs, is rapidly expanding across the country, propelled by surging demand from consumers who are disillusioned by industrialized, chemical-laden foods and who want to regain control of their food sources.  Over the past several weeks, I have written about my summer challenge to "give up the grocery store" and buy all of my family's food direct from farms, farmers' markets, and farm collaboratives.  The discovery of a year-round, whole-diet CSA farm in my area is the logical next step to ensuring a continuous supply of organic, nutrient-dense, ecologically sustainable foods for my family.

Today we took a ride to the bucolic central part of our state to visit this agriculturally diverse, biodynamic farm that promises to feed our family the majority of its food over the coming year.  We visited with the 100% grass-fed cows whose milk is unlike any I've ever tasted.  We watched the piglets endlessly desiring to nurse and their mama shooing them away for a peaceful moment in the mud once in a while (it turns out we all need a break when our nurslings get too demanding!)  We walked the pasture with the chickens, visited the newborn calves, and savored the piles of freshly harvested vegetables that, along with pastured meats and dairy, will form the foundation of our weekly meals.

We will continue with our other local farm partnerships and ample farmers' market fare to round out our food sources, but partnering with one lovely farm for the majority of our family's meals feels good, right, and oh so needed in this time when most American food spends more time in factories than farms.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds great! I can't wait to talk to you more about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Leigh! I'll tell you all about it! We drove through Petersham and it is such a cute area.

      Delete
  2. Wow, Kerry, this is an awesome find!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly. Yes, it was so nice to find this CSA model here. I think it's becoming increasingly popular as CSAs in general gain momentum.

      Delete
  3. That is good. I am not sure that we have anything like that in Western New York from one farm. Certainly, one could piece it together. We get a CSA share for fruits and vegetables in the summer and fall. One CSA does a winter vegetable share (or you could get 2 summer/fall and freeze). Many people get beef shares or pork shares. In our local co-op, you can buy local meats and milk year round. Some of the farms are organic, but most are low spray, not organic, but significantly lower chemicals than the big industrial farms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, the whole-diet model was pioneered by Essex Farm in upstate New York. It's the farm showcased in the book, The Dirty Life. Not sure where that farm is in relation to Buffalo but it's worth checking out!

      http://www.kristinkimball.com/essex-farm

      Delete