What is a CSA and how do I join one? A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership with a local farmer. You pay in advance for a subscription or a share of their produce. They range in number of weeks and scope. Each week you receive a share of the freshly picked, in season produce. Traditionally a full share is enough to feed a family of 4. Some farmers are limited to the number of subscriptions they can offer and others plant according to the number of subscriptions they sell. Some farmers also offer shares of other products such as milk, eggs, meats, fruit and flowers.
Many of these farmers will have designated drop off days and locations so you don’t need to travel to the farm but of course that will cost extra. Check with your local farmer.
Now keep in mind you need to be a family that cooks regularly and likes vegetables. Also you need to be able to accept change. Sometimes different crops have a larger bounty and others not so much. Either way you will have a weekly box of fresh food to eat.
Oh, and in case you’ve not heard, eating locally grown produce is good for both your body and our earth on so many levels. This is a great way to support your local farmer and have fresh produce all season long without you doing all the work of growing it yourself. If you’re like me the only place for a garden would be my front lawn and the homeowners association frowns upon that.
From my experience I always seem to miss out because I wait too long to sign up and they are all sold out of subscriptions. Check with your local farm for the dates when they open up subscriptions. The Washington Post ran a listing of the local CSA farms in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania which is very helpful.
If you live outside that area you can search anywhere in the U.S. at Local Harvest.
Please let us know if you sign up with a CSA this year. If you have already experienced this please leave a comment with your impressions. Thank you.