Today we picked up our first farm share of the season. It's got me wanting to talk about it. So here goes.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is basically a weekly share of the food grown on participating farms in exchange for a contribution toward the costs of running the farm. Each year the farm announces when their CSA is open for membership. A person or family then fills out a form indicating whether they would like veggies, fruits, eggs, or whatever that particular farm offers. The prices are set by the farm owners. Payment is sent at this time, or over the course of the growing season. Each member chooses a pick-up location (if there is a choice) and receives notice of when the CSA will begin for that particular year.
I have belonged to a CSA for 3 years, and I'm now beginning my 4th. We belong to Denison Farm, in Schaghticoke, New York. (Skah-ti-coke) This particular farm offers quite a few pick-up locations, making it accessible to quite a geographical range of people. Every week, the owners of the farm, Brian and Justine, send out an email with some information about what has been going at the farm, what we are likely to receive that week in our box, and some recipes using items from the share. The food is fantastic. I had originally joined the CSA because I liked the idea of organic, farm fresh produce, but was amazed at the difference in the taste of the fresh picked veggies. Wow! I stayed because nothing quite compares.
Justine and Brian are very friendly also. They invite people to come to farm any time to see what's going on. They welcome volunteers with open arms. (My kids and I will be volunteering once a week this summer) They offer a work share: a person can work on the farm a set number of hours per week in exchange for a reduced rate on their share. And they have a great gathering during the summer. Every member is invited to the farm on a certain date. Everyone brings a dish to share. There is music, food, people and fun times abounding. They offer a hay ride around the fields as well. It's a really good time!
I love it. I love the food. I love the farm. I love the inviting ways of the farmers. =) Oh, and it's fun to chase the chickens around, too.
So what kinds of stuff do we get? Well, this week we have lettuce, garlic scapes, strawberries (which the kids got rid of fast), scallions, etc. Yumyumyum.....
If you ever think you might be into trying something like this, I say go for it. It supports local farmers, it cuts down on exhaust/pollution (your food is locally grown, not carried a million miles and picked way early,) you can see where and how your food is grown, and even help out if you want. And the difference in the taste of food that comes to you very shortly after it is picked/harvested vs. food that is picked a long time before it is ripe, and "ripened" while it travels to grocery stores is indescribable. You just have to taste it.
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1 year ago