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What is a CSA?

March 26, 2012

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


6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 6:26 pm

    Joining my local CSA was one of the best things I’ve done…. for me and I love supporting our local farmer.

    (but I’m still not crazy about fennel)

  2. March 26, 2012 6:55 pm

    I’m excited to reap the benefits of joining my local CSA in June! My friend Greg and I went in on it together.

    • March 26, 2012 7:04 pm

      It is a great idea to share a box. Our family started with a small box to try it out and we will move up a size for the next month.

  3. March 29, 2012 12:52 am

    We love our CSA! It’s healthy for us and for our community.

    • March 29, 2012 5:46 am

      We get vegetables that we had not usually eaten and are learning there are new and yummy things that are healthy to eat.

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