From farm to table

You may have heard the acronym CSA before, but if you’re like many people,you may not be certain what it is. Over the past two decades, community supported agriculture has gained in popularity — and for good reason. Find out all about CSAs and how you can sign up for this way to buy local, fresh, heirloom, unusual and seasonal produce.

How to get CSA shares

Many areas across the country offer local CSAs. Visit the LocalHarvest website for information about what CSAs are local to you. The farms near you may or may not be taking subscriptions. A limited amount of shares are offered in a given year. Be sure to check early in the growing season for the best choice.

Once you’ve selected a CSA farm you like, you may need to visit its website and download an enrollment form. Additional contact information is usually available for inquiries and more information. Each CSA is different in what it offers and how much it will cost. Do your due diligence ahead of time to avoid unwelcome surprises. Once a CSA member, boxes of goodies will be available at a pickup spot about once a week. Some CSAs offer half shares, which is a great way to be a part of the fun at a lesser expense. You can expect prices to range in the low to mid-hundreds, depending upon your location in the country. Growing seasons will differ depending upon climate.

How does a CSA work? explains CSAs this way: A farmer offers a number of shares of his harvests to the public. The shares of CSA are, in actuality, a box of abundant, varied, fresh and local produce. Anyone can purchase a subscription or share to a local CSA. It is a delightful and nourishing, weekly (or so) gift for the whole family.

Is a CSA a good thing? Community supported agriculture is an idea that benefits both farmer and consumer:

Good for farmers: Farmers receive upfront money early in the season, freeing up precious cash flow. Farmers get to spend time marketing their produce early in the season and not during their busy time, when they’re working long days in the field. Another undervalued benefit is the deepening connection of the farmer to the community her or she supports.

Good for the rest of us: Without the work of cultivating your own garden, a myriad fresh produce can be yours. The produce from a CSA is picked when it’s ripe, flavorful and ready. Additionally, a trip to the farm can be a fun adventure for the entire family. Seeing where the food comes from can encourage kids to sample fruits and vegetables they normally would eschew.



Read more: From farm to table - Concord, MA - The Concord Journal


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