Over the weekend I watched the documentary Ingredients. It is a documentary about, you guessed it, the ingredients in the foods we eat, and as a direct result, the foods we are in essence creating a demand for. Think about it, stores aren't going to stock foods that people do not want to buy, so if we keep buying foods that are bad for us, they have no reason to change their inventory.
Ingredients does a great job of informing viewers, in a positive way, of their message---some documentaries can be a bit too alarmist for me and it takes the pleasure out of an evening of movie going/watching. Interviews with real farmers who are harvesting crops when they are in season, breaking bread with their workers, having a respect for the land, etc. pepper this film and just make you want to run out and stick your hands in the dirt.
As a small business owner, I prefer to support small businesses with any purchase that I can. It makes the transaction so much more personal, while enhancing the community at large. I have become close with my fish mongers, my produce folks, etc. and as a result I can trust the foods that I am preparing for BISCo. customers and my family. I am not just a scan across the checkout counter, I am a face and a person.
One way that we can all support our farmers is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You pre-pay for your allotment of produce and then pick it up at a designated location each week. I was really pleased to learn that Queens, NY has an abundance of offerings for CSAs. You can find a CSA near you here. CSAs are a great way to support farmers and develop a relationship with the people growing your food. There is something old-school about it--making your meals out of what is in season, using fresh ingredients that flavor your meal in a much more impactful way, and it also forces you to experiment with new foods that you may never have picked up on your own. It can seem expensive upfront but typically turns out to be about $20 per week. You know what they say, you are what you eat!
I have joined the Stoneledge Farm CSA that starts in June and I will do my best to give weekly updates on what is included and how I use it. I am eagerly anticipating this experience and the new faces that I will get to know.
Do you belong to a CSA or shop at farmer's markets? If so, how has your experience been?