Our summer CSA here at Sunflower started Thursday and, while our farmer passed out shares, we couldn't help but notice some curious faces among our other customers. The term "CSA" probably isn't a household word (yet?), so we thought it might be nice to cover its basics for those wondering!
Community Supported Agriculture and Farm Shares are similar programs organized by small scale farmers who aim to form a symbiotic relationship with community members. The deal is, people pay the farmer a large sum up front which allows the farmer to purchase seeds, equipment, fertilizer, and invest their time in planting. The springtime is very expensive for farmers and they don't have income until their crops are ready to be harvested. Once the harvest starts coming in, the farmer pays shareholders back by providing them with a share of fresh food every week for a specific amount of time.
Every farm will likely organize their CSAs differently. They could last different lengths of time, the share sizes will vary, some farmers ask share holders to pick up at the farm, other farms may bring shares to the consumer. Some farms include only produce, others include meat, eggs, or maple syrup! Some are Organic, others are not.
Here at Sunflower, we work closely with Red Manse Farm to bring Organic CSA shares to families in our area. Our first week's share (which tends to be the slimmest, as crops have just started giving) is pictured above and includes lettuce, bok choy, scallions, radishes, turnips, rhubarb, and maple syrup! Our CSA will last 20 weeks, from June all the way through October so the payment evens out to be less than $30 per week for a full share (family-sized) and less than $15 per week for a half share (perfect for a couple)!
Joining a CSA or Farm Share is a wonderful way to save money, eat well, and support a local farmer. It's also a great way to lower your environmental impact since your food will only be coming a short distance rather than leaving a huge carbon footprint as it travels to you from various countries around the world. Many farms offer winter CSAs, too. For more information contact a farm near you or stop into our store to chat with an employee!
Have a wonderful weekend,