Why should you belong to a CSA?
First off, let me answer the question you are probably asking yourself right now. “What is a CSA?” CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a partnership between you and your local farmers. Families, or consumers, purchase a share of fruits and vegetables directly from the farmer or farmers. There is no middle man.
Each family who joins, purchases a “Share” of the farm. It is sort of like purchasing stock. If the farm does poorly, your “share” for the week will be smaller. On the other hand, if the farm does well, so do you.
This mutually supportive relationship between local farmers, growers and community members helps create an economically stable farm operation in which members are assured the highest quality produce, often at below retail prices. In return, farmers and growers are guaranteed a reliable market for a diverse selection of crops. Many CSA are supported by more than one farmer. My CSA, for instance, is sponsored by 3 different farms in the area. Each farm grows a little something different which ensures me a wonderful variety of produce.
Shares are typically purchased well before the growing season. I purchased my share in October of this year. Many CSA will offer a discount if you pay early. Most CSA are limited as to how many people can sign up. It is a good idea to get involved with one well before the harvesting season begins.
How do I, as a consumer, benefit you may ask? I would say the most important benefit is that I know where my produce comes from. I know it is picked days, not weeks, before I bring it to my table. I can walk around the farms where my food comes from and see their growing practices. I feel I pay less for my produce, but even if I had to pay a little more per pound than at the “Big Box” stores, I would. The knowledge that I am helping my community by serving my family fresh produce is more important to me than saving a few dollars.
I hope you are getting excited about Community Supported Agriculture! Just to tempt you a little, I will share some of what I received last year: Blackberries, Raspberries, Pears, Plums, Apples, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Purple and Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Cucumbers, lots and lots of Corn, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Pumpkins, Fresh Eggs, Honey, Sugar Snap peas and more!
Here are a couple recipes I made with the wonderful vegetables and fruits I received from our local CSA.
For addition information:
Green People – Listing of CSA