We love the farm. We are so lucky here in the Hudson Valley to be smack in the middle of such diverse areas. Only a few minute drive and you can be in either a city or a farm. My boys and I spend many summer days visiting the cows, riding horses and petting the goats at some of the nearby farms. Our favorite, Sprout Creek Farm has a super friendly staff, lots of animals and absolutely delicious ice cream in the summer! Another favorite farm activity is berry picking. We are excited to jump into the fields and pick our own fruits to turn into delicious treats So many of our local farms offer animals for petting, fresh foods, classes and even activities such as playgrounds and jump pillows.
Since I have 3 (yes, daddy counts!) healthy, growing boys who consume their fair share of foods I often thought about joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture share). Though I have to admit I only knew it meant you got your foods directly from the farm. I started talking to friends who participate and read articles around the web. (Hint: HVParent have a good one here) and was really interested! Then I had to build a case for my dear, penny- pinching husband. I first had to prove that we would be in-fact saving money despite the hefty upfront costs and I had to back up the money facts with all the ways I felt a CSA share would be a good fit for our family.
So I am sharing with you today, not only 23 Hudson Valley Farms that offer CSA shares but also my Top 10 reasons to join a farm CSA!
1. I would say probably the #1 reason why CSA’s are wonderful for families are because you are receiving great, local, farm fresh food at a great price. While paying upfront might seem a bit daunting to the budget, many have done the math and decided that savings of a CSA outweigh the costs of purchasing organic quality foods.
2. Many times you open your box to discover foods you haven’t tried before or maybe have never even heard of! As part of a farm CSA you may discover delicious new foods, try new recipes and get an opportunity to introduce the kids to many different things.
3. You will most likely eat healthier. Often times that fresh bunch of arugula looks more appealing than a can of peas!
4. Support local economy and farmers. Paying upfront for your share helps ensure the farmers will be getting a pay check regardless of weather conditions and other factors that often hurt the farmer and his family. According to localrootsnyc.org, “Three of the top 20 most threatened farming regions in the United States are in the New York State area:
#10: Syracuse – Buffalo Region
#11: Hudson Valley
# 19: Eastern Long Island – Suffolk County”
5. Make it into a fun outing for the kids. Pick-ups are a lot of fun, especially at a farm with different animals to visit and feed and kids get a first hand look at where our food really comes from… more than just a supermarket!
6. When you are able to see the work that goes into each plant, you watch it grow, you touch, smell and taste it straight from the farm you have a better appreciation for the foods and are more likely to eat them. Both solving picky eater dilemmas and creating healthy meals!
7. Many farms that offer CSA shares have dedicated sections specially for U-Pick options. Some put no limits on the amount you pick! (Though a general rule of thumb is to not over pick, the point is still a share here). If you are a family like us who love to pick our own fruits throughout the season you know how much that adds up!
8. Becoming a part of a CSA is truly a sharing community. Members will often swap recipes at the pick- up line, kids play in the fields and you overall feel good about helping and being a part of the community.
9. Many farms offer education, workshops and special events. Have you ever wondered how to pickle those cucumbers? Check out your local farms and see if they offer any workshops near you!
10. When you join a CSA, you are protecting the environment, supporting farmers, small businesses and all around creating a better planet for our children’s children. What better reason then that?