Taking nothing away from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem, there’s one sure way to force yourself to start eating better this summer. Sign up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
By joining a CSA, you’re basically subscribing to a local farm and helping to fund a farmer’s expenses for growing and harvesting the season’s crops. You, in turn, receive a periodic (usually weekly) farm box loaded up with fresh-from-the-farm produce.
Emily Fleischaker of Bon Appétit proclaims the “Farm Box Diet” as the venerable magazine’s “favorite new ‘fad diet’.” As she notes, when you’re a CSA shareholder, your diet can’t help but be overloaded with vegetables packed with all sorts of nutrients that will help you feel better and hopefully ward off some of those nasty diseases we all know about.
Plus, you’ll be trendy because you’ll be eating local, one of the hottest food trends of recent times. You’ll be enjoying foods that were harvested within days, or even hours of the time you pick them up or have them delivered.
Week after week, all during the harvest season in your area, you’ll get a large carton containing your “share” of what your CSA farm is currently picking out of the soil–and what the farmer grows plays a large part of what your “diet” will be. If the farm has a bumper crop of tomatoes, you’ll get a ton of tomatoes. If there’s an abundance of kohlrabi (as our local CSA harvested last year) you’ll need to develop a taste for kohlrabi (pictured, right). You’ll need to keep an open mind about eating your vegetables, including some you may have never tried before or even heard of.
To join up with a CSA, you can visit localharvest.org and enter your zip code to find a list of farms near you. You can also stop by your favorite stall at the local farmers market and ask if they have a CSA program you can sign up with.
Bon Appétit has a collection of “CSA-Friendly Recipes” you may wish to try—whether you sign up with one or not.
The Farm Box Diet is a “fad diet” that no nutritionist would have any objections to. Even Michael Pollan and Michelle Obama can get behind this one.
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