(NaturalNews) They seem to be everywhere these days: straight-from-the-farm subscription programs where folks can order shares of the weekly food harvest from their favorite local farms and partake in their seasonal offerings. But community supported agriculture (CSA) is expanding to become a whole lot more than just a regular box of vegetables, as many farms are now adopting whole-diet CSA systems that provide their customers with a full range of healthy foods they can eat in tune with the changing seasons.
One such farm is Moutoux Orchard in Purcellville, Virginia, where every week a full array of fruits and vegetables is spread across long wooden tables, and refrigerators and freezers are stocked with fresh eggs, meat and dairy, allowing customers to pick and choose what their families will eat that week. Members of this full diet CSA drive in from all over the region to load up their coolers, tote bags and trunks with some of the freshest and healthiest food available in the area, all of which is grown either directly on the farm or on nearby farms and is in season.
"We look to produce a full diet of mineralized, healthy food for you and your family -- including beef, pork, chicken, dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and whole grain flours," explains Moutoux Orchard on its website about the program. "Simply put, you can think of it like homesteading with us, like being part of the family and having the same access to all of the abundance of foods that we enjoy out here on the farm. You come to the farm weekly, all year round, to pick up your bounty -- and the offerings change throughout the year following the cycles of seasonal eating."
Benefits of whole-diet CSA living include better health, stronger communities, greater appreciation for food
Though it represents a somewhat significant shift away from the conveniences of the modern supermarket, where the same generic foods are always available year-round, whole-diet CSA programs like the one offered at Moutoux Orchard offer members other unique benefits that surpass mere convenience. Besides gaining the unique opportunity to forge stronger community relationships with local farmers and fellow CSA subscribers, members also get to take advantage of better nutrition through local, fresh foods grown and raised in harmony with the seasons.
"More than a vegetable supplement, the whole-diet CSA embodies the full extent of community-supported agriculture, in which one farm provides members with the makings of a well-rounded omnivorous diet, year-round," writes Emily C. Horton for The Washington Post. "Subscribers commit to align their diets with the output of one farm ... one tied closer to land and community, in which they swap recipes for the ingredients that give them pause, and seasonal shifts are reflected in the butter as it turns from buttercup to pale blond."
It is food the way nature intended, in other words, and it is revolutionizing the way health-conscious individuals everywhere live their lives. Since it obviously takes extra time and creativity to adapt one's eating patterns to reflect the availability of seasonal foods, there tends to emerge a much deeper appreciation for food in general and the energy and resources needed to produce it. Eating locally and seasonally also encourages community, as local farms that specialize in different foods can mix and match their offerings to maximize variety and availability.
"The goal is to reclaim our food, from field to kitchen, and to be able to provide year-round for a community and ourselves a healthy, well rounded diet of whole, local foods," adds Moutoux Orchard about its mission. "Our motivations are living well in good health, achieving that intimate and close connection to our food sources, and fostering a sense of community."
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