Why I am Excited About our CSA Produce Box


csa postCSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”. CSA boxes are boxes of assorted farm goods from a local farm, and are a great way to get fresh food while supporting a local farmer.

This past week we received our first CSA produce box after signing on for a bi-weekly full share. I was a little nervous about the quality or quantity lacking, since you don’t get to choose the items you want. Boy was I wrong!

For $30 we got:
2 large heads of red leaf lettuce
1 large head green leaf lettuce
1 large bunch of spinach
3 heads of pak choy
2 pints of sprouts
1 bunch of green onions
Swiss chard

photo 3All of the produce is grown locally and organically. To buy these items at the grocery store would’ve cost approximately $35 or so, and it wouldn’t have been local produce! (That’s if I could even find all of it offered in organic). I’d say this is a pretty good value!

Here are my top 5 reasons I am excited about my CSA Produce Bin:

  1. Freshness. This produce was very fresh, just like you’d find at a farmers market. Even after 6 days the lettuce looked like I just got it.
  2. Convenience. With a drop off site a mile from my house, it is very easy for me to swing by to pick it up.
  3. Supporting a local farm. This is great for the local economy, and it just feels good to know I am supporting a family farmer in the area. Plus, buying local produce is good for the environment, since most produce travels hundreds if not thousands of miles to reach our dinner tables.
  4. Healthier diet. Once you have bought the produce, you are more likely to eat it. Tip: Make a plan on how to use your produce when you get your box to make sure it gets used. For example, we made roasted pak choy for dinner with an Asian stir fry, then the next night grilled the asparagus with some marinated portabella mushrooms. (find the pak choy recipe at the end this post)!
  5. It’s like Christmas when you open the box! I think my 2 year old will really enjoy getting to open this box every other week. Plus, it offers the opportunity to teach her about which vegetables are in season during different parts of the year, and get her excited about how food is produced. It can also motivate her to eat the vegetables. Totally winning!

Here are a few local CSA offerings in the Cincinnati area. Most have numerous drop sites, so you are sure to find one fairly close to you!

1. Fair Ridge Farms. This is where my CSA is from. I pick mine up in Anderson, but you can see their other drop locations here. Please mention my name (Chrissy Bender) as a referral if you sign up! 🙂

2. Turner Farms. They also offer a work share, where you and your family can work at the farm for a discount.

3. Gorman Heritage Farm. This awesome farm also has a lot of education programs for the kiddos.

4.  Cedarmore Farm. Located in Hillsboro, Ohio.

5. Finn Meadows Farm. They also offer farm raised meat products.


photo 1Roasted Pak Choy

4 Tablespoons tamari
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 heads pak choy or bok choy

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Trim ends off pak choy. Cut in half lengthwise.
Place on a sprayed rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk together remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Using a brush, coat pak choy with marinade.
Roast for 15 minutes, turn, then roast another 15 minutes.

photo 4

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Chrissy is a born-and-raised Cincinnatian, where she lives with her husband, their three daughters, a sweet, old dog and a cat who thinks he is a dog. Chrissy is a homeschooling mom who also works as a private violin teacher and as a Freedom Fighter with Better Way Designs. She loves cooking (and eating!), binge-watching television series on Netflix during the few precious hours after her kids go to sleep, and exploring restaurants and family-friendly activities in the Cincinnati area with her family. Learn more about fair-trade products made by women freed from trafficking at Chrissy's site: www.mybetterwaydesigns.org/chrissybender



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