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Local Farmers Turning to New Kind of Market

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Local Farmers Turning to New Kind of Market
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A growing number of farmers and customers are finding a new way of getting fresh food to dinner table. Community Supported Agriculture programs are expanding across the North Country. Reporter Matt Jarchow explains how one farm and customer base are both seeing its advantages.

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. -- Employees at Adirondack Medical Center don't have to go very far for their weekly batch of local fruits and vegetables. They don't even need to leave the building.

"People want to eat healthier. They may not be able to get to a farmers market. They're on Wednesdays, they're on Saturdays, but with people working they may not be able to get to it, so we bring the farmers market here," Adirondack Health Employee Health Nurse Margaret Ann Tagliagambe said.

More than 140 employees participate in the community supported agriculture, or CSA, program. They make a payment at the start of the growing season, and each week come get what's been harvested. It's a growing model that farmers said offers advantages for them and the customer.

"It's a little bit more streamlined, it's a little bit easier," Fledging Crow Farms Co-Owner Lucas Christenson said. "We know our volumes here, we know what we're looking for, we know what our obligation is to service our members here. So there isn't the X-factor of the market fluctuation."

Other advantages for the farmers include money up front for capital improvements and a better connection with customers, advantages that go both ways.

"It gives people opportunity to understand what it means to plant a crop and what it means to lose that crop or what it means to have a bumper crop," Christenson said. "So it really expands people's knowledge of food, which people seem to really, really enjoy."

Evidence of which can be found every week at Adirondack Health.

"We've had a tremendous response," Tagliagambe said. "We have 140 members from Adirondack Health that belong to the CSA, and as times gone on more people want to join. We've just had to cut it off, so we know next years going to be an even better response."

A win for more customers, and expanding farmers.

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