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Despite the weird rainy and cool weather we had this week, summer is upon us. And in New England, that means local farms are sprouting some serious goods.

For me, nothing is more satisfying than eating fresh produce. Besides all of the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, they taste wonderful. And before I moved to the Boston area, I didn’t have a lot of really fresh and locally grown food. (Even last summer, I’ll admit, I only made it out to the farmers markets in Boston and Russo’s in Watertown a few times.) But when I did, I was delighted with how enhanced my dishes were with fresh produce.

And I wanted more this year.

A lot more.

So I signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Essentially, a CSA is a farm share. You find a farm in your area that supports CSAs (most do), and you simply sign up for one and pay your dues. Then once a week in the summer and throughout the fall, you receive a box of fresh produce that comes straight from the farm. Since it’s what they grow themselves, you’re always getting it fresh — and what’s in season.

I’ve wanted to buy locally grown food for a while now. I cringe inside sometimes when I buy produce from the supermarket. I know that it’s probably been sitting on trucks for days and have traveled across the country. It’s been sprayed with strange chemicals. It’s often not that fresh — my spinach bags wilt in a day sometimes — my onions are sometimes rotted on the insides — it’s discouraging. I lose both nutrients and flavor.

Also, buying local produce supports our local farms. They work hard! And someone should be eating the amazing things they’re growing out of this Earth :) Plus, I want to continue this tradition for many, many more years to come — that can only happen if they’re in business!

Last, it’s economical. Produce prices in the store can be outrageous, and a lot of that has to do with traveling costs for the produce. With the boxes I get every week, I can plan out my menu based on what’s in the box (most of my shopping is done!) And all I have to do is get supplemental ingredients, which are most likely going to be the staples I already have in the pantry (flour, spices, rice, pasta, etc.)

I received my first box of produce this week, and cannot wait to make something out of my rhubarb and strawberries — and make stellar salads with my kale, radishes, and lettuce!

Where did I sign up for my CSA? I have a share through Enterprise Farms out in Whatley, MA. The great thing about them is that they have pick ups all over the Boston area, including Newton! AND they still have some farm shares left for the summer season — if you are interested, check out their website and grab one before they’re all gone. CSAs are becoming extremely popular, and a lot of other farms are completely sold out for the season. (They also have year long CSAs — check those out, too!)