Sarah Bernardi almost never goes to the grocery store. Instead, her community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription provides 90 percent of what she eats. “I buy crackers, pasta, oils, and nut butters. All those things I could live without if I really wanted to. I have not bought a vegetable since joining the CSA,” she says.
Bernardi is a member in the whole-diet CSA program offered by Moutoux Orchard, a farm in Purcellville, Virginia, an hour west of the Capital Beltway. Whereas most CSAs focus on produce, many have branched out in recent years to provide meat, eggs, or grains. A select few aim to provide all of the food that an individual or family needs, year-round. Bernardi and other members in the Moutoux CSA drive to the farm every Tuesday or Friday afternoon to pick up vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, grains, and milk. They pay a monthly fee of $250 per adult per month and take home as much as they’ll use each week.
Bernardi acknowledges that it’s not the most convenient option available. But, she says, “to make up for that, they set it up so it’s like a grocery store. You’re choosing what you want and what you know you’ll eat, you’re not just getting a box of stuff that someone’s put together for you.”
“This idea of a whole-diet CSA is a relatively new concept,” says Maureen Moutoux, the co-manager of the farm. “There just aren’t that many of them in the country.”
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