Tainted spinach, lettuce, onions, peanut butter, ingredients from China - all in the last year or so - have some Americans looking for fresher, safer foods.
Now there is a concept that's gaining popularity across the nation: allowing consumers to bring fresh vegetables straight from the farm to their tables.
"You're growing vegetables for people who really care about supporting local agriculture," said Scott Hertzberg, an organic farmer.
Every week, Hertzberg leaves his day job in Washington D.C. to harvest vegetables on his farm about 30 miles out of the city.
On Mondays, he brings a whole truckload of food to Capitol Hill to 80 families who've committed to buying his fresh fruits and vegetables all season long. It's called "Community Supported Agriculture," or CSA. The idea is to bring together farmers and consumers in a partnership to bring fresh food straight from the farm to your table.
"I feel better about bringing organic produce to people," Hertzberg said.
There are about 1300 CSAs in the U.S., many of them organic. Food experts say customers like the idea because they have control over what ends up on their plates.
"You know that whatever you're getting has only traveled the distance between you and the farm," said Jean Halloran, a customer. "So it's guaranteed to be fresh in a way that you're never going to see if you're buying at a big chain store."
Though CSAs are only a fraction of the nation's two million farms, they're growing. Each farm only accepts a certain number of customers each year. Hertzberg is sold out for the season and has a waiting list.
"It's definitely fresher a lot of the time," said Amy Ginn, another customer. "I mean, in the summertime, you may be able to get some fresh food at the supermarket, but you don't always know where it came from."
"He doesn't normally eat green beans and we've gotten green beans a couple times in there so fresh that he likes them," Ginn said.
Buying organic doesn't guarantee safety, but these customers say the closer they get to the source, the better they feel and the better it tastes.
There are several CSA in our area, for a list (click here).
|Consumer Product Safety Commission|