In the fresh food world, CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”. Personally, I think this is the best thing to come along since Kleenex. Families or individuals can subscribe (just like a magazine) to a local CSA which is like having your own personal farmer’s market every week. There are no set rules for CSAs across the country. Individual CSAs run their programs in whatever way works best for them and their community.
Some farmers bring whatever produce is in season to their subscribers each week. Yet others set out the different vegetable and fruits and let the subscribers choose what they’d prefer that week. And sometimes farmers will co-op; placing their goods all together for a wider food selection. The options don’t end at fruits and veggies, however. Farmers can offer eggs, meat, flowers, herbs, honey, and homemade bread. These guys may have onions garlic, and heirlooms.
Advantages of Joining a CSA
CSAs are designed to work around what’s in season for the area. So, families are certain to have a wide variety of fresh foods during the year. It’s nothing short of amazing that once again people are able to have a relationship with the farmers that grow their family’s food. Other benefits for the subscribers are extremely fresh food (very often completely organic), food that has exceptional flavor and vitamins. It also allows families to try out foods that may be new to them which is exciting and could become a family favorite.
The relationships developed are just as important to the farmers as it is to the families that they provide for. The fact that they receive payments so early in the season, certainly helps with cash flow. Farmers also have the chance to market their goods very early in the year.
If you’ve never thought about joining a CSA or have never even heard of it, my favorite place to learn about community supported agriculture is through Local Harvest.org.