For a few years, I was part of a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. These are voluntary cooperatives supporting a particular farmer. The cooperative sells ‘shares’ for a certain price. Each week for 20 weeks, the farmer delivers a variety of vegetables to the CSA and each shareholder gets to pick up his weekly share of the delivery. CSA’s choose a pickup point and designate the pickup hours. They are the same time and place each week during the season.
There are risks and advantages to the CSA. It is nice to know that you are getting same day fresh vegetables grown by a local farmer. I love saying I am supporting the farmer, who is essentially a small business owner and encouraging agricultural endeavors.
Each week’s pickup is a lovely surprise. You never what you will get! It could be kale, fresh onions, herbs, peppers, you name it. The surprise package is terrific because you get to be creative about what you will cook or prepare with all these fresh veggies.
The risk to a CSA is that you may get things you don’t like. For example, after three weeks of kale, my family said ‘Enough!’ the CSA allows for a swap box. You can swap out the veggies you don’t want and take something from the swap box you prefer. Another risk is that the weekly delivery is dependent on the weather. So if the weather was dry, the farm may not yield as much.
CSA’s also offer half shares. Depending on the CSA a half share can be the same pickup on alternate weeks, or a weekly pickup of half the amount. Many CSA’s also have pricing based on family income and size. Many also have a few shares for food stamp recipients as well.
To find a CSA in your area, go online and search for one in your area. There are many here in Brooklyn and I know CSA’s exist in many parts of the country. You will love the weekly surprise package!