Plan CSA & farmer’s market now

June is exciting in these parts. It’s time for the farmer’s markets, CSAs and the like to swing into action.

Last year, we only went to one farmer’s market and I was not impressed. In the spring the tables were full … of goods brought in from other, warmer states. I wanted local produce, and there was hardly anything. (It was mid to late June, and I know our garden already is or could be producing lettuces, spinach, radishes, carrots, peas, onions … so why not the pros?) Our grocer stocks a lot of local produce, so I gave up easily.

This year, I’m going to make more of an effort. If you would like to find a local farmers market in your area, you can check Local Harvest. Better yet, search for “farmers market” and the name of your state or city. Many states have a farmers market association with listings of local markets.

And, exciting for me — I found a local (within 100 miles) organic CSA to join. We purchased a half-share, which was still available last week. We’ll get about a big sack of produce every week through December.

Bulk/advance buying changes your whole grocery-budget mindset: This spring I will have forked out over $800 for food I can’t eat right away (our local beef and the CSA). But if I divvy those bills out over the course of now through December, it comes to about $23 per week for our produce and meat — not too bad at all. We will of course be supplementing with our home-grown produce. The CSA farm mentioned that it anticipates having extras available — like roasted green chiles and tomatoes — for members to put up for the winter. Our first pickup is next Thursday – I can’t wait to see what we get.

Have you signed up for a CSA? Are you a farmers market regular?