FOOD & DRINK
07/02/2014 07:00 am ET Updated Jul 07, 2014

8 Reasons CSAs Are Better Than Grocery Stores

Flickr: Pam

If you've ever compared the difference between grocery produce and farm-fresh harvests, you know how strikingly different they taste. (Just a look at these strawberries says it all.) Not everyone has time for farmers markets, or the bankroll to frequent them, but CSAs are worth the effort for sure.

CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture, is crucial for keeping small farms up and running and is a great way to get loads of just-picked produce in your home. For those who are new to the concept, CSAs work like this: You sign up for a share with a farm before the harvest season begins and receive a haul of fruits and veggies with your name on it every week. It's pretty great. The only downfall is having to pay the lump sum for the goods before the season starts, but this fee helps the farms run smoothly. And it means you don't have to pay a penny for produce throughout the 20-25 weeks that the CSA runs.

We're not going to lie to you, a CSA is not without its downfalls. Sometimes you get stuck with a handful of stinging nettles or fiddlehead ferns and things become very confusing. Other times you are handed a big box of leafy greens that needs to be quickly eaten before everything wilts. But the pros outweigh the cons -- here's how.

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Join a CSA

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