What is a CSA?
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it is a way to connect customers directly with the farm that grows their food. It is essentially a membership, or a subscription, to one farm.
The advantages for customers are: you get to develop a personal relationship with the farmer(s) who grow your food and can learn about how it is grown or raised; you get the freshest food possible with the best flavor and highest nutrient content; you may be exposed to new vegetables ; you get to visit the farm; your children may favor food from “their” farm – it sometimes becomes special to them.
From the farmer’s perspective it is a benefit to receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farms’ cash flow; we get to know the people who eat what we grow; and we get to spend our time focusing on producing food during the high season instead of marketing it in an already very busy time.
In a CSA, you prepay and come to pick up your share of the food produced each week. This means that the food produced varies with the season – tomatoes usually begin in July and go until mid-October. Lettuce is a cool weather crop so it is usually available in the spring, fall, and part of the winter. Belonging to a CSA encourages you to eat food that is in season.
You might see some distributors setting up CSA-like businesses in which they act as a middleman for a variety of farmers, but in the original sense of the concept, “CSA” means having a relationship with one farmer, directly.
Probably the most important concept that comes along in the CSA model is the notion of shared risk – it is a sort of “we’re in this together” mentality. We feel a responsibility to supply you with the most products and the best products we can each week. However, unplanned event do occur – sometimes there’s a drought, or deer may get in the garden, or there’s a hail storm, or there’s a fox in the hen house (this actually has happened to us!). But regardless of what happens – our CSA members are our first priority.
How do I know if a CSA is right for me?
A CSA might be right for you if…
– you like to cook using fresh vegetables and meats. Vegetarians and vegans are also welcome in the CSA
– you don’t mind coming to the farm at least once a week
– you don’t mind eating whatever is available at the farm each week
– you like to cook from scratch
– your family is not picky with what vegetables they eat
– you are ok shopping without a grocery list of very specific items each week
– you care where and how your food is produced
For first time members, a CSA can be intimidating. It’s not an easy transition from grocery store to farm shop. We find that there is a sort of training period that people go through. We might not have items that you want, as our vegetables rotate based on the weather. The meat comes in seasonally too – our large animals need the summer months of plentiful grass to grow, and we harvest them in the fall. We are seeking members who want to go through this transition to weekly farm eating – and sometimes that means we only have a few items. We hope that our members plan to stock up on meat and produce when it’s available and plan to be here every week, rain or shine, summer or school year.
There are two times in each year to sign up for our CSA. In late winter, we usually open the CSA to the general public. Since our winter CSA is smaller than summer, we will open it up to the general public in October if there are slots available.
For more information, peruse our website, or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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