What Is A CSA Program
Community Supported Agriculture is a great option for many different reasons. However, some people are still unsure what a CSA is. A basic CSA is where a farmer will offer you shares of the product for sale, prior to them entering into the growing season. During the growing season you will get a share of the plants the farm produces each week. This can range from getting a full grocery bag each week to only getting a few items early in the season.
The CSA programs also make it a little bit easier on the farmers because they have money coming in right away to help them support the farm. However, they are also getting a guaranteed customer who will be using the product they grow or raise. Often the CSA program will cost quite a bit of money, but when factoring in the guarantee factor of produce each week or month it is really quite a deal. The catch is making sure the CSA will provide you with items you are going to use and not something you cannot stand. For example, if you do not like to have turnips, then you would not want to join a CSA which is only selling you turnips each week.
Another way some farmers have started to establish their CSA program is having the customer pay a buy in fee. This fee is usually smaller then what other CSA programs cost. Then the customers will order weekly from their website or by phone and can pay a discounted rate. One farm that we know of doing this style of CSA is Martin Hill Farms. Typically the discounted rate is the wholesale cost of the produce, but the customer has a better selection of produce based off of their needs, not what the farm has available that day or week.
A CSA program is a great option for many people. However, if you do not know what a CSA program is, then you will not know to look for them. By knowing about what the CSA programs are and how they are beneficial to you, you can start to enjoy fresh produce all year, but know it is coming from the local farms.