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CSA vs Farmers Market: Which is Right for You?

Years ago, people went to one market or general store to pick up all of the groceries and household items on their shopping list. Today, we have a variety of choices when it comes to purchasing food and beverages, from super stores and warehouse clubs to farmers markets and joining a CSA in your community.

CSAs and farmers markets are similar in that both offer local, homegrown produce to customers at prices that are often much cheaper than at the grocery store, however they can differ in price, convenience and quality depending on where your food was grown. Regardless of whether you shop at a market or join a CSA, you are receiving fresher, higher-quality produce because it hasn’t been treated with the chemicals or preservatives necessary to mass-distribute and ship it around the world.

What is a CSA?

CSA, or community-supported agriculture, is a program that lets you purchase “shares” from a farm in exchange for a weekly delivery of fruits, vegetables and other farm products like milk, eggs and dairy.


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Joining a CSA: Everything You Need to Know

CSA, or community-supported agriculture, has become a popular alternative way to buy fresh, seasonal food directly from your local farmers.

If you aren’t satisfied with the cost or quality of the produce at your local grocery store or can’t make it to a farmers market, joining a CSA program is a way to ensure that you have the fruits and vegetables you need to prepare healthy meals.

Typically, farmers will sell “shares” to the public, which may include fruits, vegetables or other types of farm products like milk or eggs. Consumers can either pick up or opt to have their shares delivered directly to their door and receive a weekly box or bag of seasonal produce.

“I’ve been participating in an individual CSA with my farmer in upstate NY for the past three years,” said Anne Maxfield, entrepreneur and founder of The Accidental Locavore. “It’s been a wonderful experience. Besides getting the freshest possible produce from a farm where sustainable farming is the standard, I’ve been exposed to all sorts of vegetables (and some fruit) that probably wouldn’t have made it into my shopping cart at the supermarket.”


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Budgeting For Better, Healthier Meals

By Ashley Watson

Budgeting for meals can be easier than you think if you remember that saving money will also encourage healthier eating habits. You already know that whole foods are more healthful than processed foods, but did you realize they were cheaper, as well?

Here are some tips to remember when creating your grocery budget and shopping lists:

Plan Your Meals

Planning your meals for the week may feel a little too ambitious, but it will save time and money in the end. Think about how long it takes to decide what you want to eat after a long day at work when you are already tired and hungry. You don’t have to sit down and write a detailed menu for every night of the week, but it’s a good idea to have a general sense of which meals you want to prepare.


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Summer Produce: What’s Up with Herbs?

With farmer’s markets across the country in full swing, you might be wondering how in the world you’re going to navigate the overflowing stands of fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.

With more leafy greens than you can count and basil plants that seem to be bursting at the seams, how does a produce novice manage to take home fruits and veggies that will make it to your table and into your meals and snacks?

This week, we’re taking you through some of the herbs – popular and obscure – that you might encounter at your farmer’s market. Because fresh herbs sold at outdoor or indoor local markets are typically fresh and free of preservatives, you’ll need to use them pretty quickly.


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Minneapolis Named Healthiest City in the U.S.

For those of you who may use the weather as an excuse for not exercising, look no further than the citizens of Minneapolis, Minnesota. That’s because they have been voted the healthiest city in the U.S. by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Each year, the ACSM rates the top 50 healthiest metropolitan areas in the country. They attributed Minneapolis’ jump to the top of the list to the increase in size and a decrease in smoking rates. Also factored into the equation was relatively low rates of obesity, heart disease, and asthma.

Additional factors were treated to the increase in healthfulness of the citizens of Minneapolis: an uptick in farmers markets and an above average percentage of park land. I think that would help explain why Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado both made the top five, as they are known for their love of outdoor living and activities. Washington D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts were number two and number three, respectively.
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