What is a CSA?

Amy Gardner
May 2, 2011

Spring
is here and with it, come farmers markets and fresh produce.  Now is the time to look into joining a CSA.  If you’d like to join a CSA but
don’t know much about it, read on.

“CSA” or Community Shared Agriculture refers to a group of individuals who collectively support farm costs.  It provides an opportunity to buy
fresh, local produce directly from the farmer.  Most CSA farms use sustainable, organic farming practices and it’s a good way to support their
efforts.  Shareholders pay a certain fee for the season in order to receive a portion of the yields.  A “share” includes a variety of vegetables,
herbs and fruit based on what is harvested each week.  Items typically vary in amounts but there is always plenty available.

A work component is often required as part of the share.  For example, our CSA requires a 7 hour work commitment for the season.  This can
be split between family members.  Or, if you split the share with another person/family, you also split the number of work hours.  Many people
find this component of the CSA to be the most rewarding.  It’s a great way to get kids interested in vegetables.  My family really
enjoyed picking eggplant last September and eggplant remains one of my son’s favorite foods.

Motivation to eat healthier is one ancillary benefit of the CSA.  Many participants find inspiration to eat more vegetables.  Shareholders
swap recipes and tips on how to use and store produce.  I found myself exploring and experimenting with new ways to incorporate vegetables
into our meals.  The fact that the vegetables and fruit are picked just before they hit your table means they taste so much better than
what you’ll likely find at most grocery stores.

Here are some local CSA’s to check out:

Heirloom Harvest
Silerwood Farm
Stearns Farm