CSA - Community Supported Agriculture
At its most basic, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutually beneficial relationship between a farm and a community of supporters. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season (primarily by helping to cover the yearly operating costs by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest, early in the year). In exchange, the farmer supports the community by providing members with fresh, nutritious food harvested at the peak of ripeness, flavor, and nutrition throughout the growing season. By asking members to commit early in the year, farmers know who they are growing for and thus know how much to grow. Knowing these things removes the uncertainty farmers have as to where to sell their produce in a timely fashion. Removing this marketing uncertainty in turn allows farmers to focus more fully on growing and harvesting the crops and tending well to the soil that feeds us all.
By making this financial commitment, members share in the risks as well as the bounty of growing food. Becoming a member creates a responsible relationship between people and the food they eat, the land on which it grows, and those who grow it.
Under the CSA model, farmers aren’t the only ones responsible for maintaining quality food production within our community. Community members can support this healthy system simply by purchasing their produce from a CSA farm.
In addition to some hands-on member benefits such as farm gatherings and some Pick-Your-Own (PYO) crops such as fresh flowers, herbs, and berries, you will be:
1. Supporting your local farmers & sustainable agriculture.
2. Reducing the distance between you and your food, cutting down on carbon emissions and energy waste.
3. Improving your health by eating the most fresh, local, and nutritious food available.
4. Keeping local money in the local economy—your money goes directly to the farmer, there is no middle man!
5. Given access to a variety of high-quality, locally sourced/produced products (scroll down to see list).
Community Supported Agriculture has its origins in the teachings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and biodynamic farming. This food movement started first in Europe after World War II. CSA got its start in America in the mid 1980s. There are now more than 12,500 CSA farms in the United States. Adventurous eaters (such as our members!) concerned about food quality and the sustainability of environmentally conscious farming have been the reason for this recent boon.
Why Join a CSA?
CSA is more than just customers stopping by to purchase produce from us—it is a relationship based on a commitment between our farm and our members. Essentially, being a CSA member means you will get a share of our harvest on a weekly basis throughout the CSA season (22 weeks). You purchase your share in late winter or by early spring, then it is a simple matter of picking it up at your designated pickup location and time. You receive the freshest and tastiest produce that the farm has to offer. Even if produce prices rise at the grocery store or the farmers market throughout the season—your cost never goes up—you have already paid for it! This freshness, in combination with our growing and handling techniques, means you are receiving produce packed with nutrition! Cooking with and eating such fine food is a pleasure. What’s in your share isn’t necessarily fancy or out of the ordinary. Sometimes it is the “every day” produce where you will notice the greatest difference—carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and melons that taste like sunshine! You will enjoy eating with the seasons and have fun trying new recipes.
Eating seasonally will attune you with the rhythms of nature. It is very satisfying for many of our members knowing that they are directly supporting the farmers that are caring for the land, and that they are helping to play a role in maintaining this valuable resource in our community.