Support a CSA! Buy locally-grown food today

By Paul Rowney on 22nd May 2020

vegetables

Now is the time to try some locally grown food – it’s healthier for you and the planet. Before rushing off to your local store to stock up on food, consider a healthier option by supporting a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider. Or sign up to have some delicious meat and vegetables delivered by one of many local farms and growers who will bring their harvest to your door. And don’t forget the wide range of farmers markets that Nashville and surrounding areas hold each week.

Most people know about the Nashville Farmers Market, (who are now back open for business in the ‘Outside Shed’ only), but there are plenty of others to choose from where the parking might be easier and the selection more varied. There are over 20 Farmers Markets within Middle Tennessee alone, so go support a local one. There is a full list available here.

And while some of the vendors at the Farmers Markets may well be members of the CSA,, there are many more that do not go to these events. These hard-working people encourage you to visit their farms and buy their produce that’s so fresh – you’ll be astounded at the difference in taste. Many will happily deliver to your door.

Go to this great resource Local Harvest for a comprehensive list of CSA members, local markets, and a huge range of farmers and growers all within a short distance of where you live.

It’s great to get a vegetable box delivered each week. These vegetables may look a little different from what you find in the store. Firstly, you’ll have to expect whatever the provider has picked that week, so opening the box is a wonderful surprise – and means you can often receive vegetables you’ve never bought before. Secondly, they may need cleaning and preparing, and won’t be all the same size and shape. Nature doesn’t work that way.

There’s an amazing organic vegetable delivery service called Misfits Markets who have made it their mission to save all the ‘strange-shaped’ vegetables the supermarkets discard and deliver them to your door (in fact it’s estimated over 30% of the fruit and vegetables grown never get sold because they do not fit the uniform specifications demanded by supermarkets – a shocking waste). So put your scruples aside and start trying some strange shipped vegetables for the first time. Trust me, you’re kids will love it.

Another great resource for finding a local supplier of freshly, organically reared meat or a grower of vegetables and fruit, is the Local Food Resource Guide who has produced a comprehensive list online for you to browse.

It’s really important to support these local, hardworking people at Farmers Markets, by visiting their stores or signing up to their home delivery service. Often they are now more expensive than organic food you’d buy in a supermarket and of course it’s a lot healthier for you and the planet as the produce hasn’t been shipped in from miles away or even abroad.

Finally, why not try growing your own? There is plenty of advice around, such as the Nashville Food Project and short courses to attend, and once you start tasting the ‘fruits of your labor’ you will realize how bland store-bought food can be.

Related article: 10 Nashville free and outdoor activities to try

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