November 26, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture, Farmers' Markets and Market Days



The image of a table laden with a bountiful harvest isn't just for Thanksgiving. Local farmers' markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are available throughout the United States providing fresh, locally grown produce during the growing seasons. In other countries, markets are a part of daily life.

Even during the cold months of winter, some market farmers continue to sell products such as honey, eggs, cheese, nuts and meats. At the North Carolina Farmers' Market there are peanuts, pecans, cabbage, sweet potatoes and apples available for purchase in December. Additionally, there are jars of jams, jellies and other home canned goods.

Now is a good time to find farms in your area that participate in the CSA programs. With a CSA program, you subscribe in advance to receive shares of the locally grown, fresh produce from area farmers. By buying these shares, you help ensure that the farmer will be able to cover their expenses and salaries to grow and deliver the produce. By subscribing in the winter months, the farmer can plan how much to plant and order seeds for the next growing season.

Through a subscription with a CSA farm, boxes of fresh produce are sized according to the number of people to feed in your family. Many of the CSA farms will deliver the boxes to your home each week during the growing season, or provide a pick-up point in a nearby location. The CSA program is so popular in the Triangle Area of North Carolina that there are even waiting lists to subscribe with some of the local farms.

Whether you live, or travel, in another country, you're probably not very far from a market. For example, there are lists of market days for villages in France. Other countries publish similar lists. If you are traveling, you can also ask at the tourist information office. When my son lived in London, he shopped daily to purchase fresh produce from his neighborhood market.

Buying from a local market is not only a great experience, but a wonderful way to get to know the farmers who grow the produce. If you're a traveler, you may be introduced to fresh foods that you would not find elsewhere.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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