Can I Get You to Bite? Visit the Upstate's Farmers Markets & CSAs!

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty
http://actvra.in/yLG

If you're into eating well, there are some incredible farmers markets and CSAs in Upstate SC for you to discover. With our long growing season and variations in altitude, our area offers a wide range of fresh, tasty crops for a good portion of the year. As a vegan, my nutrition comes totally from plants, so I'm very particular about picking the very freshest organic produce, which provide me the highest levels of vitamins and minerals I can get. And there's nothing quite as tasty as fresh corn on the cob or tomatoes right off the vine! That's why I visit our local farmers markets and why I'm considering signing up for a CSA share.

What's a CSA, you ask?
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." It's a mode of connecting local farmers and consumers, and it's the perfect was to keep you and your family well-stocked with plenty of very fresh, nutritious vegetables, greens, and fruits.

How does a CSA work?
Usually, you sign up for a "share" of a farm's (or group of farms) weekly crops, pledging with a set weekly amount to support the farmer during a certain growing season (8 weeks, perhaps?) in return for a box of freshly picked produce each week. What you receive depends a lot on what the farm grows, so it's important to find out the typical crops for that CSA. Each CSA offers a different combination of products - greens, vegetables. fruits, herbs, flowers... some CSAs may even offer milk or meat products. Each CSA arranges pick-up points for your box, so also make sure it's a convenient spot for you.

I love the idea of a "grab bag" approach of not knowing exactly what you'll discover in each week's box - it makes mealtime more exciting. You might find an item mixed in with the familiar green beans and spinach that you've never had the opportunity to try before... and this gives you a great opportunity to expand your world, one bite at a time!

So how do you find CSAs?
You can search online for CSAs and find links for farms who are participating, visit http://agriculture.sc.gov/CSA, or I highly recommend picking up a magazine called Edible Upcounty (or visit the Website www.ediblecommunities.com/upcountry/). The Spring 2012 edition is now available, and page 9 offers a whole list of CSAs, along with addresses and contact information. The farms range from Anderson to Saluda and all points in between - there are plenty on the list, and you see more and more signs popping up along the highways with information about CSAs... Case in point: Just this week, I noticed a sign for Greenbrier Farms (www.greenbrierfarms.com), which is not mentioned in the magazine, but it offers a yummy range of produce!

Farmers Markets
If you don't want to commit to a weekly CSA but are still interested in fresh produce, then Edible Upcountry also lists Upstate Farmers Markets and where/when they set up. I promise: There's a farmers market near you - wherever you are in the Upstate - from...

I could go on and on, but I'll let you discover all the other wonderful farms and farmers markets in the area, from Abbeville to Landrum. Visiting a farmers market is fun because not only can you discover new and different produce, but you can talk to the farmer himself about suggestions on how to prepare it!

I won't get on my soapbox and preach to you about the benefits of a plant-based diet... but even if you're not willing to give up meats and dairy and seafood, adding more fresh fruits and vegetables can add much to your health and your tastebuds! So search out our Upstate SC farmers markets and CSAs, and see how much better you feel!

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South Carolina
Tags:
farm
fresh produce
edible upcountry magazine
community supported agriculture
csa
farmers market
vegan
upstate sc

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