csaYou’d never guess it on the east coast, because it’s freaking cold, but spring will be here soon. In New Jersey, that means the local Italian families will be planting their disproportionately large gardens in their backyard, my family included.

But I live in an apartment, so I can’t. That’s why last year I joined a CSA, short for Community Supported Agriculture. In fact, that picture is my box share from Labor Day 2008. It was packed with heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, beets, garlic, lettuce and a lot more.

Community Supported Agriculture has been around since the 1960s and started in Germany, Switzerland and Japan, but you don’t have to leave the country for a good CSA, nowadays they’re all over the place.

Last year, and this year too, I joined Honey Brook Organic Farm in Pennington, New Jersey. It’s a little far from my apartment, but luckily a pickup location is right around the corner. So it’s totally worth it!

In addition to the old standbys, i.e. lettuce and tomatoes, you get exotic stuff too, like kohlrabi and daikon. The only drawback is the occasional stowaway, like a giant grasshopper, which makes me shriek like a little girl! But I’d still recommend a CSA to anyone.

If you’re wondering if there’s a Community Supported Agriculture by you, I just found an excellent website, LocalHarvest.org. It’s a database of CSAs all over the United Sates. In New Jersey there are 40 listings and California has more than 150!

Oh, and if you’re curious, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at a local Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a ton of work!

Via Stream of Conciousness.