What is a CSA?
Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their long days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
- Help reduce the carbon footprint because of a shorter distance to transport the food than the typical food found in the supermarket and
- support the local economy!
It’s a simple enough idea, and its impact has been profound. Across the country, tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs. If this idea appeals to you, a list of local CSAs is available on WVfarm2u and on LocalHarvest .
Most CSAs deliver to a convenient location where people can come pick up within a certain time frame on a given day. Besides its drop-off locations, Fish Hawk Acres will mail the shipments to consumers out of their area. For March Fish Hawk Acres distributed:
March 6 Shipments: Buckwheat Flour, Maple Syrup, Baby Bok Choy, Garlic, Mustard Greens, Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Sweet Onions, and Lettuce
March 13 Shipments: Honey from Shaver’s Apiary, Turnips, Lettuces, Dried Shiitake Mushrooms from Hidden Acre Farms, Butternut Squash, and Celery Root, Golden Beets
March 20 Shipments: Apple Cider, Red Cabbage, Acorn Squash, Fingerling Potatoes, Kale, French Breakfast Radishes, Spinach, and Asian Greens
March 27 Shipments: Sweet Onions, Turnips, Lettuce, Broccolini, Winter Radishes, Carrots, Champagne Ice Beets, Green Onions