CSAs: Get your taste on

Story by Chris Graham

You might find out what a tomato is actually supposed to taste like. That’s one advantage to community supported agriculture.

“It’s picked fresh that day, so you end up with an incredibly fresh selection of vegetables that have not been treated with Clorox to preserve them,” said David Beebe, the owner of Cherry Ridge Farm in Rockbridge County, which makes its produce available to local subscribers through a community supported agriculture, or CSA, program.

Participants in the CSA program get a bag of produce picked fresh from Cherry Ridge each week from May through early December.

The CSA concept began in urban environments where residents pitched in to grow a community vegetable garden. The CSA program at Cherry Ridge has some similarities. Subscribers can get a discount by putting in some sweat equity on the farm, or they can just pay the full fee and pick up their bag of vegetables each week, Beebe explained in an interview for this week’s AFP Show.

“Either way, it’s a great experience for people who have lost touch with where food comes from,” Beebe said.

The difference in taste between what you get from a local farm and what you get at the grocery store is not even comparable.

“The items here have been picked ripe, which is one of the most common compliments that we get from people, which is, Wow, I didn’t realize that a tomato was sweet, or, This corn has a sweet taste. When you pick things premature from Argentina, they do not have the same nutritional value,” Beebe said.

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