Farmers Market Update: CSA, Los Angeles

by | Sep 11, 2011
Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture

This is the first Farmers Market Update describing a CSA (community supported agriculture) box, and I absolutely love it. Thanks Samantha!

If you’d like to share your own CSA or farmers market with Summer Tomato readers, please read this and contact me.

Farmers Market Update: Central Farmers’ Cooperative

by Samantha Jones

I’m Samantha Jones, a Bay Area girl who now lives in LA. I’m getting a masters in public health at UCLA (which is awesome) and I love running, cooking, and dreaming about growing my own veggies.

Wednesdays are the most exciting day of my week. I leave work or class, rush to a designated pick-up site, and retrieve a mystery box! I head home, joyfully unpack the box and make something amazing for dinner, often for a friend who has noticed I have delicious lunches and wants to know my secret. The secret is a weekly CSA share, something I’ve been participating in for the past three years. Thanks to my CSA, I am now an awesome cook, I can turn any vegetable into a tasty meal and I have a diet centered on fresh, affordable produce.

Week 1

Week 1

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it’s basically a system where we as veggie-consumers buy our produce directly from the farm that grows it. The idea is that the farm gets payment up front to support their operating costs, and their subscribers share in the farm’s harvest via a weekly produce delivery. In the SF Bay Area, where I bought my first veggie box, I subscribed to the very awesome Riverdog Farms. Now that I live here in Los Angeles, I subscribe to the equally awesome South Central Farmers’ Cooperative. I know affordability is relative, but I have found CSAs to be very reasonable.

Week 2

Week 2

I wrote this over the course of three summer weeks, and each week I got a TON of produce. I have mounds of spicy peppers.

Peppers

Peppers

And more summer squash and zucchini than I can handle.  (I invite friends over for dinner and force them to take squash home.)

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

I also get melons each week, a treat because boxes are generally veggie focused.

Watermelon

Watermelon

This summer I’ve also gotten bunches of beautiful basil every week, which smells AMAZING.

Purple Basil

Purple Basil

I get kale year round (several kinds in the winter time!) which is great because I can eat it every day.

Kale

Kale

I also get tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers each week. Last week was unusual in that I got a vegetable I’ve never seen before – I think it is some kind of long bean?

Long Beans

Long Beans

This was all summer produce; in the fall and winter I get several kinds of greens each week, (collards, spinach, kale, chard) broccoli, winter squash, carrots, cabbage, beets, (LOTS of beets) and citrus fruit. In the spring, I get asparagus, fava beans, more beets, more greens, little carrots, strawberries and lettuce so good it will blow your mind. With some CSAs you can even order pasture-raised meat and eggs!

Peppers, Tomatoes, Kale, Melon

More summer produce

I started buying a CSA because a good friend loved hers and I wanted to try something new. I was really bad at actually making it to farmers markets and when I made it there I got excited and spent way too much money. My CSA solved these problems for me, but now I keep it up just because I love it so much.

Sometimes I tell people as a joke that my CSA totally CHANGED MY LIFE, but really, it’s kinda true. It has raised my standards for produce quality, made me a better cook and an all around healthier person. I totally encourage people to try a CSA, you can check out Local Harvest to learn more about CSA programs and find one in your area.

What did you find at the market this week?

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7 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: CSA, Los Angeles”

  1. Suzanne says:

    My favorite reader post, ever. Thank you!

  2. Carrie Stocks says:

    Ok, I have to agree. This is one of my favorite reader posts ever. I was able to find a CSA in my area. I am so excited! As a full time student, I am rarely able to get to our local Farmer’s Market. I try so hard to eat well but it is very hard. I work at night so I have to have a sustainable lunch that can go to work with me at midnight and be edible at 1 p.m. when I am ready to eat it. Veggies tend to lend themselves rather well to staying fresh. I can’t wait to see what I get and I will try take pictures of what I get. Thanks again Darya.

  3. Beverly says:

    I totally agree with my daughter, Suzanne! I am so very envious of the beautiful vegetables that are available in CA, compared to the slim pickin’s here in NM. I so look forward to our return to San Diego and the availability of CSA’s!

  4. Gina says:

    Love the Eagle Rock Brewery pint glass in the background!

    Darya, any way I can have Samantha’s contact info? I live in LA and am actually applying to UCLA’s Public Health masters program this December. Would love to ask her some questions about it!

    Would so appreciate it if possible,
    thanks,
    Gina

  5. There are some great CSA’s here in Northern Nevada; as a fellow grad student I don’t always have the money up front for a membership but it’s nice to buy from local farms.

  6. Margaux Elizes says:

    Hi,

    I love reading your blogs, I am slowly switching to being a vegetarian.

    Btw, I am from the Philippines, and that “long beans” is called “string beans” or “sitaw” in Tagalog.

    Though some of the vegetables in the States are not available here, I try to alternate them with what is closely similar to the veggies we locally produce. I have been sharing your website to some of my friends who are now health conscious.

What do you think?

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