I’ve tried quite a few hacks to simplify or improve my time in the kitchen, but nothing has made as much of a difference as subscribing to Live Earth Farm’s CSA.
For a long time, I resisted joining the community-supported agriculture program—which delivers a box of produce from Live Earth and other nearby farms to a pickup location every week—despite the fact that I frequently shop at our amazing local farmers markets. I assumed it would be too expensive and inconvenient, and that I would end up supplementing my subscription with trips to the grocery store anyway. I could not have been more wrong, and am still impressed with all of the ways it has been a positive introduction into my life.
For starters, the quality of their organic produce is exceptional. Each week, I can’t help but swoon a little over the dry-farmed tomatoes, butterball potatoes, dark leafy greens, young onions, cute bunches of radishes or luscious strawberries still warm from the sun. Having just come from their farm outside of Watsonville, everything is fresh. Oddly enough, I thought I might miss shopping, but I’ve found having the choices made for me (and knowing they’re picking the best each week) is liberating.
Live Earth also lets you know what’s coming before you pick it up, and their online hub makes it easy to substitute or add in additional produce. This summer, my zucchini plant has taken over my garden, so I’ve been opting out of summer squash and doubling up on stone fruit and berries. You can also add bread from Companion Bakeshop, preserves from Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove, pastured eggs and other pantry staples.
I’ve also been surprised at how much money I’ve saved. Each share is around $25 a week, and even with veggie-centric diets, my boyfriend and I struggle to eat it all before the next pick-up. And I’ve discovered that by not going to the store multiple times a week, I’ve actually saved money in grocery store impulse buys.
But the best part is how good it feels to support our local farmers and sustainable agriculture directly. I knew it would be delicious, but I didn’t realize it would be this easy.