This will be the first of our February CSA Days Markets–markets where farms have the opportunity to advertise their 2016 CSA offerings and customers can benefit from easy, on-the-spot sign ups. Commit to your 2016 CSA at the market, it’s a great valentine for your local farmer!
What’s a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Literally, community members purchase a share of the anticipated harvest to support the farmers efforts and carry them through lean winter months. CSA’s are a key component of keeping farming sustainable for farm families and to help farms plan effectively for the spring planting season. Every CSA operates a little differently, but the general idea is that customers who sign up and pay in advance are invited to pick up their ‘share of the harvest’ every week through the growing season (spring through fall). Specific offerings, amounts and pick ups vary by farm.
Why is it important to sign up now? As mentioned, farms rely on CSA sign ups both to know how much to plant for the coming growing season and to bring in the financial capital needed to purchase seeds, supplies and staff time at a time of year when little to no other income is being generated.
What’s the benefit of purchasing a CSA? Local food of course! There are many health benefits to eating locally and a CSA makes a commitment to this practice through the growing season. Also, CSA’s support farmers, help to keep farms sustainable and keep dollars in our local economy. Not to mention, you receive delicious and nutritious food every week! Many farms also provide you with more product than you pay for, meaning that although you make a significant up-front investment, many CSAs will actually supply you with an amount of food worth more than the total dollar value you originally paid.
How do I know which one is right for me? What if I am going on vacation, have a limited schedule, don’t like a certain food or have lots of other questions?
Trust us, you are not the first person to have these questions. You SHOULD consider your CSA choice carefully, which is why we have CSA days and CSA info available at seacoastharvest.org. Be sure to pick the one that fits best for your life and needs. Every farmer encounters questions and policies vary by farm/CSA. It is important to do your homework, but the benefits will be filling the fridge and pantry for many, many weeks to come!