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As spring approaches so do opportunities to purchase community-supported foods

As Spring approaches, community supported foods increase
As Spring approaches, community supported foods increase
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ann Arbor is a "community supported" town with several opportunities to purchase fresh foods. As the warm weather approaches, more markets will open for business.

In case you're not familiar with the new buzzwords, here's an explanation:

Community Supported Agriculture

Many communities and private land owners are graciously offering pieces of land to provide community-supported agriculture. These programs offer the opportunity to buy shares of the food production. You can have fresh, local produce available (usually) on a weekly basis. Sometimes they provide food delivered right to your door. This is a great way to start a new habit of eating more fresh and whole foods and less packaged foods that tend to be high in salt and refined sugars. It also offers those with juicing machines the needed produce to "juice" instead of just taking-up space and collecting dust on your counter. Maybe you have a quesadilla maker but no creative ideas on how to use it. Sometimes a change in habits will inspire creative ideas in the kitchen. Habits that provide color to your diet. Literally, color! The more colorful your plate, the more chance you are getting a variety of vital nutrients in your diet.

In addition, these community-supported endeavors often provide educational programs to the public.

The website Shared Earth (http://www.sharedearth.com) is a free website that connects land owners with gardeners and farmers.

The general public is also desiring more resources when they're "on the road," whether it be for business or pleasure. We want to work and play smarter and we know how we feel after a high fat, heavily processed meal.

If you're looking for an "eat well" travel guide, personal guides, seasonal food guides, and a data base of Local, Sustainable, Organic Food Guides, by city, state or province check out:http://www.eatwellguide.org.They also have a blog called eco centric; a blog about food, water and energy. If you type in your city you'll get another screen of choices ranging from Butchers to Farmer's Markets with address, phone and any other information available such as a website.

At http://www.localharvest.org you'll find an extensive website that provides the following from farms and CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) around the U.S.A.:

  • On-Line Shop - food, seeds, garden tools, honey, bee equipment, herbs, soap, coffee and tea, syrup, gift baskets, flowers, wool/fibers, pet needs and Lavender has its own category.
  • Farms finder
  • CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) finder
  • Forum
  • Events - around the country
  • Newsletter- providing helpful hints and advice
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Featured Products

If you're traveling you can map out your journey to find where these farms and CSA's are located. Go a little further and coordinate with the events listed under the Events tab.

Farmer's Markets

A trip to your local farmer's market, or better yet, a new habit of consistently shopping at them, can trigger a change in your thinking. It can inspire you to shop your local grocery store around the perimeter and less in the middle, where all the packaged foods are kept. Not that having some packaged foods on hand is bad, it's just better to eat fresh and whole as much as possible.

Farmer's Markets often have fresh, local produce, sometimes at a great price. If you wake-up late and think you're going to miss-out, think again. While choices may be slimmer, the vendors sometimes don't want to re-pack a lot of food, and will lower the prices. For example: A vendor at The Brighton Farmer's Market (Livingston County) was offering clamshells of berries for $1 near closing time and he was throwing in the last bit of corn-on-the-cob for free.

• Take this produce home and experiment with your juicer, just for fun! Remember a few pieces of melon will make any concoction taste good, even the ones that have fresh spinach.

• Get that quesadilla maker out and top some whole wheat tortillas with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, fresh parsley, a little fresh cilantro, a few black beans and some cheese. Maybe dig out that garlic press and add a little fresh-pressed garlic. Sprinkle some fresh lime over it.

These sites are numerous and represent the times. Google is seeing searches for canning procedures, recipes and organic gardening. Fruits and vegetables are quality carbohydrates that offer a bounty of nutrients. It doesn't have to be complicated and you can start some new habits for a lifetime of health. Check out where your closest Farmer's Markets are located. Some are indoors offering year-round hours of operation.

This author does not endorse any of the websites provided above. They are mentioned simply to note the sign of the times and as possible resources.

Be Well!

Coach yourself to the life you've always dreamed: http://www.tinardlifecoach.com

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