But, as we all know, eating local takes work. The easiest way to take advantage of our local growing season is by joining an area CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm. If youâre new to CSAâs, hereâs how they work: Once a year you purchase a share in the farm. That share entitles you to a selection of free produce every week throughout the growing season. You never know what youâll get until it shows up in your box.
I wrote about Geraldson Farm a little over a year ago, when the Manatee County-owned CSA project was just getting started. Now, the crops are going into the ground and itâs time to pony up for local produce. This week, Geraldson Farm began taking $50 deposits to reserve one of the 180 shares they have available for the next growing season, with the actual share cost predicted to run between $450-500. From November to May, you can pick up your organically-grown fruits and veggies at the farm in northwest Bradenton, or have them delivered to community pick-up sites in Palmetto, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
In Tampa, there's always Sweetwater Organic -- a Florida CSA pioneer -- where memberships run $615 whole/$315 half, but they fill up quick and you need to pick up at the farm (which, admittedly, is a lot of fun). Down in Punta Gorda is Worden Farm ($600/$350); they deliver to the Downtown Sarasota Farmers' Market.
The great thing about a CSA is that veggies are forced into your life -- fresh, local and organic -- and you just have to figure out what to do with them. You'll have to get creative, but you can always email me for a passel of recipes involving kale.