Slowly but surely, I’m working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time and chronicling my adventures here.  As you can see from this month’s installment, we are an average American family who needs to fine tune and tweak ever so gradually, or else we’ll give up entirely.

Several months ago, I decided to take advantage of the agriculturally rich area we live in, and shop the local Farmer’s Market.  My kids got used to heading out on Wednesday afternoons and indulging in a churro and all the sweet strawberries and orange slices they were allowed to sample from the farmers.

Although I was enjoying this exercise in eating locally, I was always still reaching for the familiar.I saw tables covered with a rainbow of produce, but I just wasn’t brave enough to buy it.  After all, I wasn’t even sure what it was called, much less how to cook with it.

Fast forward a few months when one of the (fairly large) local farms started a CSA (that’s Community Supported Agriculture).  It seemed like everyone I knew was doing it.  But I was scared.

You see, we aren’t big veggie eaters.  I mean, sure, I can steam a head of broccoli and we can grill a mean ear of corn…but a leek?  I don’t even know what a leek looks like…but it certainly doesn’t sound very good. And I was pretty sure there would be leeks in our CSA box.  Also, beets terrified me.  I didn’t want beets in my house.

After a couple of months of hemming and hawing, I finally took the plunge and joined, and I’m SO GLAD we did. Here are my top five reasons for joining a CSA (and why you should consider joining one too!):

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1.  We eat homemade foods more often.

Now that I have fresh produce in my fridge at all times…and knowing that a new giant box will be arriving again the following week, I am forced to cook more often.

Those days when I would shrug and text my husband to bring home Chinese food are fewer and farther between…after all, we’ve paid for food and if I don’t cook it up, it’s going to spoil!

Not only is my family eating more fruits and vegetables, they’re also eating a lot less fast food.  (We have the option to get the boxes bi-weekly, but I felt like that was too much of an excuse for me to not go all out in this experiment…and I’m glad for the motivation/push of a new shipment every 7 days.)

2.  It forces me out of my comfort zone.

In some ways, this can be seen as a bad thing.  After all, I’m often searching the web for recipes, rather than whipping together the old tried and true foods we typically eat.

While this adds some time to my day, it’s a good use of time.  Potato Leek Soup is a new favorite, and with the help of this book

, I’m adding so many different meals to our standard repertoire.   It feels really good and has added some of the fun back into cooking!

3.  It saves us money.

The thought of spending $25 per week on produce seemed like a lot to me.  I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea of spending a cool $100 on vegetables every month.  Could we really afford it?

At first, I reminded myself of that saying that goes something like “but it’s cheaper than medical bills”…but even beyond the fact that we are eating more fresh produce, we are eating out less AND there are significantly fewer “hey, can you run by the store and grab…” phone calls.

Now, I have everything I need to put together a meal.  The problem with those quick trips to the store midweek is that a box of cookies, a bottle of wine, or cheese and crackers seemed to always magically appear in the cart too.  And it adds up.  More than I ever realized.

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4.  We’ve started juicing, too!

Even with the help of cookbooks and the web, there were some things I was having a hard time getting through before the next box showed up.  My husband and I had both heard so many great things about juicing, so we figured we’d give it a go.

I bought a juicer

(I know, I know…all of you juicing enthusiasts will tell me it’s not a good juicer…look, I just wanted to see if I could even stomach the stuff before I bought something more expensive), and while I’m still working through drinking it without gagging (it just looks like duck poop water to me)…my husband and my five year old (!) are loving it.

5.  It just feels good.

There’s something fun about getting a box of fresh produce every week that you know came from just over the hill.  The kids are always so excited to see what came this week, and I love knowing we are directly supporting a local family (whom we happen to know) while feeding our bodies some fantastic nutrients.  It’s like the healthy person’s warm fuzzies.

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6.  I found out I like carrots.

I know I said five things, but I just remembered this one.  I cannot STAND carrots.  Not cooked, not raw, not peeled, not shredded, not anything.  I do not like them Sam I am.  Except that now I looooove the carrots we get from the CSA.  They are deliciously sweet little morsels of goodness and I eat them like candy.  Who knew?!

Have you ever considered joining a CSA? If you are in a CSA now, what is your favorite part about it? If you haven’t done one, why not? Are you working through One Bite at a Time? You should!