Nothing quite compares with farm fresh vegetables. When you eat produce picked a day or two earlier, it just tastes better than the generic grocery store goods. Of course, it is also is a one small way of reducing your carbon footprint and benefiting the environment. And, according to the University of Vermont, the shorter the time between the farm and your table, you’ll actually get more nutrients.[i]
Hence the popularity of farmer’s markets, and the growth of specialty food stores like the new Kirkwood and Ballwin Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets. Often, during the summer months, Schnuck Markets and Dierberg’s offer produce from local growers, too.
But, if you are serious about getting the freshest possible produce and supporting local farmers, an excellent option is a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA offers convenience through a subscription service. You can sign up for a season, Spring, Summer, Fall, or all three, and receive a selection of locally-sourced produce.
Local Farmer Crop Boxes is one of the larger CSA operations serving St. Louis County and eastern Missouri. It’s based in Pacific, and serves as a bridge between farmers and consumers. Farm boxes start at $29.99 per week and include vegetables and local artisanal cheese. You can pick up the box each week or arrange home delivery.
Another excellent CSA choice is available from The Libertine restaurant in Clayton. This is a great choice if you want to bring a restaurant-grade experience to your home. The Libertine “Neighborhood Bag” is a CSA program that offers a weekly assortment of local produce and house made food from The Libertine kitchen.
The Libertine CSA offers a meat and vegetable or vegetarian weekly bag. Each eight-week season costs $495. It’s one of the few CSA options that come from a farm-to-table restaurant. Libertine owners Nick and Audra Luedde came up with the idea after a similar experience they had in Chicago when Nick worked for a restaurant that had a big urban garden.
“They started doing a CSA pickup at the restaurant which was a little different than the typical CSAs we were familiar with,” Audra Luedde said. “Most of the CSAs are farmer boxes, that came from one particular farm, all fruits and vegetables, that was what we were used to.”
“And we decided to combine it. We also started adding house made goods made at the restaurant like pickles, and extras like the newsletter or recipes that will enhance the experience.”
“We love doing it and it was actually kind of a fluke, because the restaurant we worked at in Chicago was a pick-up place and it just started going from there.”
For more information about The Libertine Neighborhood Bag, contact Audra Luedde at 773-793-0058.