After a year of thinking about it, I finally called the CSA and have a check in the mail for my summer 'half-share'. I am SO excited!
What is a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and from the words right off my brochure from Country Garden & Farm Market (the local farm from whom I bought a share):
Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture 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.
Read more here: www.localharvest.org
For 300.00, I will be getting a bag of fresh (picked that day), organic produce once a week for 20 weeks. I spoke with Wendy, who with her husband runs the farm that produces all the fresh food for their CSA program. She was very friendly, open and enthusiastic. She answered all of my questions, including my uncertainty about if my family should get a half or full share. According to their brochure, a half share feeds two, and a whole share feeds 4...but I would hate to waste any of that wonderful produce if it ends up being too much for us (especially if we have ANY success with the Little Hands Garden and have our own veggies). She was open to the idea of getting a half share for now, and then changing to a full share later on if I decide we really could use all the veggies, herbs and greens that the full share contains. I am already thinking about how great it would be to send any extras home each week, perhaps with a recipe, with each of my daycare kids....so maybe a little extra wouldn't be a bad thing!
Wendy and Dan also grow plant starters. This may be the perfect way to fill up our gardens when it is time to plant, since I know the varieties of tomotoes, zucchinis, and other veggies that they will be selling are suited for our local weather. I am still in love with my seed catalogs (which also sell plant starters), but it would probably be a better idea to get the plants locally, anyway.
Now, we are under way with the Little Hands Garden...I think that my joining the CSA will help the Little Hands Garden in a number of ways. Hopefully we'll get lots of great food from our OWN garden in addition to my CSA membership!
I was just so excited about the CSA that I had to write about it. One of the most exciting things about this particular farm (and from what I've read, this is common), is that they allow members to 'work off' their share. So while I bought my summer share (they offer shares for all the seasons), I hope that down the road I could actually WORK on the farm. Talk about first hand experience with organic growing!
I encourage every one to seek out a nearby CSA. Click the link above and see if you can find one near you. They are really spreading as the word gets out, so there is a good chance there is a farm near you. It did take me a year of thinking about it before I 'took the plunge', but I can't wait to see all the benefits I'll get from this CSA membership!