Spring is in the air these days and it’s hard not to be excited for all of the fresh produce that is just around the corner.
This spring, I have decided to sign up for a CSA or “Community Supported Agriculture.” A CSA is a way for consumers to buy fresh produce directly from a farmer and can be found in almost all communities. Becoming a member will lead you to become a more conscientious consumer all while supporting your local community.
Here’s how it works. As a consumer, you become a member of a local farm by purchasing a “share.” You will pay a fee up front at the beginning of the growing season. Then, every week you will go to a designated drop site and pick up a box of fresh produce from your farm.
The farmer will give you whatever is in season and looking the best that week. For example, in late June you might receive a box of strawberries, broccoli and other early summer produce and come July or August you might have fresh ripe tomatoes and corn in your box. The average size share is for a family of 4, although many farms are now offering half shares.
Becoming part of a CSA has advantages for both farmers and consumers. Farmers receive your payments early in the spring which help them with their cash flow throughout the year. They are also able to actually meet the people consuming their product which is very important to them.
As the consumer, you are then able to receive and enjoy fresh produce that was grown in your community. You can also form a relationship with the farmer and sometimes even visit the farm to see how things are done. My favorite part is getting to try new fruits and vegetables that I would normally not purchase at the grocery store.
If you live in the Milwaukee area and would like more information on finding Community Supported Agriculture, visit the Urban Ecology Center online. Here you will find a 2010 CSA farm list. Be sure to look for a drop spot that is convenient for you.
If you live in a different community, just search online or ask at your local grocery store if they know of any farms participating in a CSA.
I just signed up today with Full Harvest Farm and cannot wait to receive my first box in June!