WHAT IS A CSA AND IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is based on a simple principle: connecting people to their local food source. Joining a CSA is entering into a partnership that is dedicated to bringing fresh, certified organic produce directly from our field to your table each week. Your membership helps to pay for organic seed, water, equipment and labor in the early season when expenses are high and cash flow is low. In return, we provide members with the freshest produce possible, always picked within 24 hours of distribution. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout their annual membership. This commitment ensures the survival of local agriculture by sharing the risk and bounty of the farm. By joining you become an active part of the farm’s success and community.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether the CSA style will work for you:
•Would you like to know the people who grow your food?
CSA members have a direct connection to their farmer. In our CSA, members receive a weekly email with the latest news from the farm, a list of the week’s veggies, plus a recipe or two that uses the week’s items. In addition, a farmer will be at the pick ups each week, so you can ask us gardening questions, find out exactly how we deal with pests and diseases, or get cooking tips for unique ingredients. We love having a CSA because we get to know the people we are growing food for, and CSA members appreciate that they can take the guesswork out of knowing where their food comes from.
•Do you value having high quality ingredients with great flavor?
As a rule of thumb, we select all of our crop varieties based primarily on flavor. We are overjoyed when people come up to us and say their kids will actually eat salads made from our greens and carrots, that they have never tasted an egg as creamy and flavorful as a Twisted Root egg, or that they changed their minds about hating tomatoes after having tried one of our heirlooms. This is what we live for as farmers and we want to share the experience of vibrantly flavored produce with you. If this is something that is important to you, answer yes!
•Are you willing to try new foods?
While we love growing all of the classics, occasionally we will include vegetables that are a little out of the ordinary in your share. If you are an adventurous eater and would be willing to try some new things then you may love the CSA style. If you prefer sticking to the vegetables you know and love, then you may not.
•Do you enjoy cooking?
As a CSA member, you will have a bag full of fresh produce every single week for 18 weeks. For some people that’s exciting and invigorating, but for others it’s quite intimidating. We find that most members are able to finish their veggies each week but it really varies based on your personal preferences and how often you eat out. If you are nervous about eating the entirety of your share but still want to participate, we suggest signing up for a small share size and/or splitting your share with a friend. If you don't cook very often or if having a lot of produce seems intimidating to you, you may not want to consider a CSA program.
•Are you looking for a deal on your weekly groceries?
We give our members a deal on each and every CSA share. Every week we add between $5-$10 worth of value to your share, depending on your share size. The pricing of your CSA produce is oftentimes equivalent to wholesale pricing so it is always a better deal than buying the same amount of produce at the farmers market. It is our way of saying 'thank you' for your support of our farm and for your commitment to the CSA.
•Are you willing to change your mindset or schedule to be in a CSA?
It often takes CSA members a minute to get into the CSA groove. It can be an adjustment to let us make your produce buying decisions for you, to loosen your meal plan to fit the week’s items, to be available to pick up your share every week, or to eat more seasonally. It is also a time and financial commitment. Think hard on this one and make sure you are excited about and willing to both cook with seasonal ingredients during those 18 weeks and also that you will be available to pick up your share (or arrange for a friend to pick up) each week. See our opt-out policy to find out what to do if you are out-of-town or unable to pick up your share on Sunday.
If you answered 'Yes' to most of these questions, you would most likely love your CSA membership. If you answered 'No' to most questions, then you may want to pass up the CSA program for now.