I love food – we all do.
But I really love food that’s good for me – whether it’s straight up fruits and veggies – or super tasty – but that’s not always good for me, like a decadent dessert. So much so, that our family road-trips usually revolve around local restaurants whose star of the menu is something super tasty and most of the time, not the healthiest.
Healthy food choices and keeping the family happy
Like most health-conscious families, we try to make the best food decisions based on time, quality, and let’s face it – taste (is it delicious?!). Trying to also follow the mantra of “eat your colors”, “eat your food as medicine now or you’ll eat your medicine as food later”, my family is starting to get tired of me saying, “think of all the goodness going into your body when you eat…[insert grated beets, cauliflower, steamed kale, and other less mainstream veggies].” They humor me by nodding along and giving everything a chance.
I’ve tried it all …
To try to make the best choices for our family, I’ve tried my hand at doing all the things that you read about: growing our own food, paying attention to ingredients and nutrition content, limiting processed and packaged foods, being conscious of where our food comes from, weekly meal planning, etc. And we find the time to cook and bake from scratch when possible.
This year, however, was the tipping point. Between raising two growing girls, changing jobs, and losing a parent, my focus was on other things. When it came to food, Eric, my husband, kept our family going – for meal planning and keeping me interested in gardening and grounded in reality; he’s mostly kept our mindful eating habits going. (Thankfully we have a similar point of view on that!)
Reality and a busy life
Through the craziness of life the first half of the year, I’ve come to terms that my busy life just doesn’t have the time or energy to grow as much of my own food as I would like.
So the question that I faced these last few weeks was – how can I get the best tasting and healthiest food and know that it was raised in the best way possible?
The answer – going direct to a farmer!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had several conversations with local farmers selling at our nearby farmer’s market to learn about how I could get food directly from them especially through the fall and winter when our farmers’ market closes down for the main growing season.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
This is where CSA is a perfect fit. If you’re not familiar with CSAs, a CSA:
- Can put you in direct contact with the farmer. Most of them are very passionate about how they raise their food and are happy to share that information with you.
- Allows you to “subscribe” to portions of food raised by the farmer. Depending on your location and the farmer, this could be fruits, veggies, meats, etc. Sometimes the farmer will divide their bounty ahead of time; other farmers may allow you to choose your items “market style”.
- Lets you see to whom and where your food money is going. You know your money is going directly back into the pockets of hard working farmers.
- Gets you back to seasonal eating – eating what can be raised in the season, depending on where you live. It’s a great way to get introduced to new veggies that you may not think of picking up at a store – when all of the “regular” vegetables are at your fingertips year round.
Based on what I’ve learned, enrolling in CSA seems to be the next best thing to growing your own food and the best part – they know what they’re doing (compared to my adventures into backyard gardening)! Farmers who are making organic, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable farming practices as part of their way of life and their livelihood are who I want to support and trust for my food choices.
Direct to consumer becomes real in the food industry.
Thank a farmer for tasty and healthy food in all seasons
This is something many of us who have the desire for healthy and tasty food and who care about the environment may want to consider as well – especially as summer farmers’ markets wind down for the season and if fall and winter gardening is not your thing.
I know I’ll still have to supplement with items from the grocery store and I’m OK with that because I know every little action counts. And if more and more people did the same thing – no matter how small we might think it is – we can make an impact on our health, our earth, and in the lives of the farmers who are environmentally conscious as well.
Check out what’s available in your area:
- Go to your farmers’ market and talk to the farmers to see if they offer any sort of CSA subscription
- Google CSAs in your area. If you’re in the Kansas City metro area, check out the Kansas City Food Circle. There is an entire section on CSAs.
Comment below and let me know what you think or if you’re trying out a CSA. I’d love to hear about it.