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Spring is the perfect time to start planning for vegetable gardening. Deciding to grow your own fruits & vegetables takes commitment, planning, and space. If you’re not quite ready to make the leap to growing your own, why not try out a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program?
What is a CSA?
A CSA is program offered by local farmers that provides financial support for the farmer, and fresh produce for the consumer. Most CSAs require an early spring payment in full so that the farmer can use the money to establish crops. Over the course of several months, CSA members pick up their share of produce. As an incentive to join, many farmers offer CSA members a discount.
Why join a CSA?
Community Involvement – Joining a CSA allows you to support your local agriculture community. Many small farmstands do not quality for business loans, so they rely on CSA support to keep their business running. By joining a CSA, you ensure that your dollars are supporting local business.
Fresh Produce – As a CSA member, you’ll enjoy the freshest produce week to week! CSA shares will always contain produce that is at the height of freshness…often picked just that day. You may even find that you’re eating more fruits & veggies as you get used to stocking up each week.
Variety – One of my family’s favorite aspects of CSA membership is the variety in vegetables. We discovered leeks, new varieties of squash, baby eggplants, and turnips through our CSA. Getting your children involved in CSA pick-up will allow them to choose new veggies to experiment with each week.
Family Fun – Many CSAs also offer “pick your own” options during the season – often pick your own berries, or pick your own apples. Our CSA also offers cut-your-own herbs. My kids love taking a trip to our CSA farmstand to load up on basil for fresh pesto all summer long.
Tip – Use your Fiskars tools to create a simple tote-bag or produce bag to carry your CSA shares home. Check out Designer Patti Milazzo’s Earth Day Tote Bag here.
To find a CSA near you, visit www.localharvest.org