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Join a CSA and discover the joy of produce from small, local farms

Want your kids to eat their veggies? Give them food that is delicious – not durable.

(Star-News Feb. 2, 2022) Most of the vegetables in the grocery store weren’t grown for flavor. They were designed to be uniform in appearance and easy to ship. The easiest way for food producers to do that is to harvest the vegetables before they ripen, when the skins are still tough and the sugars haven’t fully developed. So of course they’re tasteless and, well, yucky.

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us, the majority of kids in the United States aren’t consuming enough vegetables. Desperately, we responsible parents resort to all kinds of clever ways to “trick” our kids into eating their veggies: Cauliflower in the mac and cheese! Carrots in the marinara! Peas in the pesto! It turns out that hiding vegetables to mask their tastelessness is not the best way to get kids to form good eating habits. As National Public Radio reported, research shows that frequently exposing kids to tasty vegetables, even in small amounts, is the best way to get them to eat more of them in the long run.

One way to bring a continuous supply of delicious vegetables into your home is to sign up for a CSA share. Community supported agriculture connects individuals and local farms in a mutually supportive relationship. You become a “member” of a farm in exchange for weekly “shares” of the seasonal harvest. Shares can vary by size and some are delivered every two weeks instead of weekly, depending on your needs. Some farms include fruit and other options such as herbs, flowers, meat, fish, eggs and even mushrooms.

Farmers usually reserve their top quality produce for their CSA members.

CSA has been around for a long time but has picked up in popularity in the last two years due to the pandemic, the demand for local food and short supply chains. People have learned that knowing your grower has many other benefits too. It keeps food dollars in the local economy, it combats climate change by supporting sustainable agricultural practices and it keeps our local farmers in business.

So why would signing up for a CSA get kids to eat more veggies?

Here are five reasons:

  • Vegetables taste way better when picked at the peak of ripeness. They’re sweeter and tastier, which means your whole family is more likely to eat them – even the picky ones! And because they’re yummy, you don’t have to disguise them!

  • Because they have ripened naturally, their micro-nutrients have fully developed. So CSA veggies are healthier and more nutrient-dense than those in the grocery store. (You don’t have to tell your kids that.)

  • When kids visit their farm, they gain an understanding of where their food comes from, how fruits and veggies are grown, and how animals are humanely raised. This gives kids a connection to their food and the land, which makes kids enjoy their food even more.

  • CSA helps kids learn about food diversity and seasonal eating. Did you know there are over 300 kinds of tomatoes? Grocery stores only have four – cherries, roma, slicers, and maybe, exorbitantly-priced heirlooms. And for the most part they’re tasteless because they’re grown for durability – not taste. A CSA share might contain such treasures as Jimmy Nardello sweet peppers, little gem lettuces, or a tetsukabuto squash. All completely kid-friendly!

  • CSA is a fun, culinary adventure for the whole family. Kids can have fun opening the box each week to find the surprises inside! It’s fun to see a crazy-large head of broccoli or a full stalk of brussels sprouts. Is it something you’ve never seen before? There are great websites out there like Cook With What You Have, by local cook and longtime CSA enthusiast Katherine Deumling, chock-full of simple ways to get tasty veggies on the table quickly.

Drop by the CSA Share Fair event on February 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Redd Event Space, on Southeast Salmon in the Buckman neighborhood. It’s a fun, free, kid-friendly way to learn about CSA. You’ll have the opportunity to meet local farmers, ranchers and fishmongers and learn about the wide variety of b memberships available. You can also win prizes from local artisans and sign up for a share on the spot. Want to pay with SNAP? Many farmers now accept Electronics Benefit Transfer (EBT) and can apply Double Up Food Bucks to stretch dollars even further. Fun activities for the kiddos will help jump start your CSA adventure! Learn more at

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