I’ve always been a big proponent of shopping at farmers markets and farm stands, enjoying seasonal, locally grown produce, dairy and meat products. And although I’ve been meaning to do it for a few years now, I’ve just recently signed up for my first share in what’s called a CSA farm share program, or community supported agriculture.
There are several CSA farm share programs throughout New York State. Before the beginning of every growing season, people sign up and commit a financial investment to the CSA of their choice.
That money helps the farmer buy supplies and helps support the operation throughout the year. In return, the investing member reaps a weekly supply of the seasonal harvest. There is no guarantees of what each weekly harvest will be, and some weekly shares will be more plentiful than others as the season progresses.
This investment is a joint agreement between the farmer and the member -- an agreement to share in the good times and in the bad times. If the season’s harvest is good, the members share will be as plentiful as hoped for. But, if the season is challenging, the member shares in the hard times as well.
Some CSAs require on-site farm pick up, but some deliver. Others will organize alternating pick up schedules among members with predetermined drop off locations.
Certain CSAs offer discounted memberships if members contribute a predetermined amount of physical labor during the growing season.
I’m very excited about this new adventure and I’m looking forward to the surprise each week’s bounty will hold. I hope you might be interested in joining a CSA too. The more people involved, the more vibrant and healthy our local community of small farms will be.
Check out the following links for more information about some CSAs in New York: