Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a relatively new socio-economic model of food production, sales, and distribution aimed at both increasing the quality of food and the quality of care given the land, plants and animals – while
substantially reducing potential food losses and financial risks for the producers. It is also a method for small-scale commercial farmers and gardeners to have a successful, small-scale closed market. CSA’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables, sometimes also flowers, fruits, herbs and even milk or meat products in some cases.
The CSA farm we purchase our share from is called Promised Land. There are 2 types of shares offered: a regular share for $250 and a fruit share for $200. These fees cover a 25 week growing season. We opted to get the regular share which gives us vegetables, some fruit (like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), herbs, and flowers. According to Promised Land:
A share is approximately enough produce for two adults for a week. However, the amount of produce will vary during the season, but you can expect 3-8 items in your share each week.
We get so many vegetables! There are some nights where I cook two veggies instead of one vegetable and a starch because we have so much. If you can participate in a CSA share I highly recommend it. The cost is also so much more economical than what you pay at the grocery store. Our share equals out to be $10 a week. There were three weeks where we received two pounds of asparagus as part of our share in addition to other vegetables. At the grocery store asparagus was running $3.99 a pound!
Another great thing about the CSA is getting to try vegetables we've never heard of or cooked before. I've never heard of garlic scapes or kohlrabi. This week we got beets which I've never cooked either. The other benefit is that the produce is fresh and local. I really like knowing where my food came from and supporting local farmers.
I had never heard of CSA's until someone mentioned them in the mom's group I belong to so I thought I would spread the word. This website allows you to put in your state or zipcode to search for CSAs in your area. You should definitely check it out if you can afford to do it. Even though the season is in full swing, some places might still offer shares at a reduced rate. If you cannot participate in a CSA try to support your local farmers through farmers markets.