The benefits of joining a CSA are many. Not only are you supporting locally grown food, you are also paying the farmer directly. Additionally, CSAs are a community of like-minded people who share some similar values, like what we actually feed ourselves and families. CSAs are not just for fruits and vegetables either. There are CSA shares for free-range eggs, bread, cheese, and meat. CSAs are not always, but often grow their produce in accordance with organic standards and you don’t need to be wealthy to join a CSA. There are discounted shares for low-income individuals and I know of people who have gotten together with a friend or other family and split shares. Here is the most current Dirty Dozen – the popular list of 12 fruits and veggies that should be purchased organic due to the fact that they contain the greatest amount of pesticides/herbicides/etc. 2014 list courtesy of EWG: apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods contained a number of pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items. Ever wonder why grocery store apples are so shiny and feel a bit slick? It’s because they are covered with wax – yum! Unless you live in California where I have personally seen some gorgeous organic produce (kudos San Francisco), fruits and veggies are often imperfect in shape, size and color. I find this refreshing in the same way I find TV shows from the U.K. refreshing – the people look REAL. They are not ‘waxed’ to perfection and gleam like plastic (e.g. American television). Knowing what real food looks, feels and tastes like is important to me. Check out the pears we got in our CSA fruit share yesterday.