People often ask “What does CSA stand for”?
The answer is Community Supported Agriculture. But what does that mean?
In a nutshell it means you buy a share from a local farmer and for a set number of weeks you receive produce in return each week. Our farm is very unique in that we offer 100 percent choice. We have never offered a box share and want the member to pick what they like. Nothing is more frustrating to get a box of produce and have no idea what half the things are that you received. I thought I would highlight a few benefits of joining our CSA for the consumer and the different benefits for the farmer too.
You’ll receive fresh vegetables for 20 weeks during the peak of the growing season.
Starting in June you can enjoy some of the first greens of the season and the first juicy strawberries. Every week there is always something new on the table. Then towards the end of summer the fall produce starts coming in (my favorite time of the year) and who doesn’t love broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and more.
Your also making a commitment to eat healthier.
Now that you have all these fresh veggies available every week you can enjoy them every day. Everyone knows that the flavor and freshness speaks for itself. Maybe you’ll explore new recipes and impress your family with new culinary skills. Everyone needs to slow down and enjoy more home cooked meals with family and friends and less processed foods.
You can fill your freezer with all the extra produce that you can’t get through.
Maybe your going on vacation and won’t be around to cook all of your veggies. Easy! Take a few hours to freeze or can some of your share. Many things don’t require much effort to freeze. Such a peppers for example. Just cut them up, bag them, and put in the freezer. Maybe you cook the whole quart of green beans and eat half for dinner and freeze the rest. Now you’re spreading the value of the share out throughout the whole year.
Buy paying up front for your share you are getting 20 weeks of vegetables at a discounted rate. Each week your paying less than the table price that the retail customers are paying. Who doesn’t like a saving money!
Now that you have bought a share you have your own farm. You will have a better understanding of the seasonality of produce. You can ask the farmer questions of how the food is grown or what variety it is. Maybe even ask questions on how to prepare something. You can brag to your friends of your “farm” and tell them what they are missing.
By selling shares in the spring it really helps out with early season cash flow.
Springtime is an expensive time of the year and having that extra cash flow really helps. Many inputs are needed to be paid for before we can even turn a wheel. Seeds, fertilizer, plants, propane, diesel, and more are needed to get the season going. We can add staff earlier in the season to help with greenhouse work, field work, and general labor.
Each share represents guaranteed sales during the summer season.
It’s incredibly helpful to know how much to grow and what to bring to market. At the farmers market you can never really predict what sales will be like. It can be too hot, rainy, or a holiday weekend and it all can impact sales. But by having pre-sold shares it takes the highs and lows out of each week.
We can build a relationship.
We’re going to see you each week. We can meet your family and learn names. Talk about what you did with your share last week and learn new recipes from each other. This is our favorite part. The personal touch that a CSA adds gives the Community part a deep meaning.
The CSA is part of a diverse marketing program for our farm.
If we depend on the farmers market for 100 percent of farm sales that would be pretty risky. More channels we have the better and a CSA program plays a big part in that. By having farmers markets, a CSA program, restaurants, and wholesale we can market all the produce we grow.
I hope that this gives a better understanding on all the benefits of CSA. It’s a great program that works so well for many families. We have many families that have been members for many years and just love it. If your on the fence please stop by the market some time and we can chat.