I am excited about CSA! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s exactly that. It gives you the opportunity to buy a “share” of fresh produce (like eggs, meat, and dairy) from a local farmer before the start of the season. You are essentially investing in a future crop. It’s a great and easy way for city dwellers to reap the nutrition and flavor benefits of high quality, fresh foods for pennies on the dollar while also supporting local agriculture!
How CSAs Work
- CSAs typically offer amazing food throughout the warmer months. The “share” is purchased upfront to ensure that the farmer can adequately prepare for the season. Buy your share in March or April and get your bounty from June to October/November.
- The farm you have chosen will deliver your share of produce to a convenient drop-off location on a prearranged schedule. CSA distribution sites vary but can be found all over the city, from gardens, and markets to housing developments and restaurants.
What to Expect
- You will receive a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter listing the current share’s produce (usually 7-10 different types of vegetables and 1-3 different types of fruit).
Sample week of a fruit and vegetable share: 1 head romaine lettuce, 3 kohlrabi, 1 bunch collards, 1 pound purple string beans, 2 delicate squash, 3 sweet bell peppers, 1 bunch braising greens, 1 bunch arugula, 1 Italian eggplant, 3 pounds McIntosh apples
- Some CSAs even provide delicious recipes featuring the week’s bounty!
- Incredible fruits and vegetables, that will remind you just how flavorful and delicious healthy food can taste.
- A BYO Bag operation—In the vein of going green, CSA’s make an effort to reduce waste so bring a few large reusable bags to hold your fresh fruits and vegetables.
- A feeling of connectedness to your community.
- Flexibility! There are many options in terms of the size of your share. You can find the best fit for your needs whether you are feeding a large family or cooking for one. Cost varies depending on the size and type of share.
- As a CSA member, you are expected to volunteer about 2 hours per growing season at the distribution site because it really is a community effort.
- Volunteers are asked to help take produce out of boxes, sign in fellow members, assist members choosing their allotted quantity of produce, weigh produce, or clean up.
- It is a great opportunity to meet new and like-minded people, give back, and learn even more about your CSA.
Want to Learn More?
- Just Foods is a wonderful resource to learn more about CSAs and has a search by zip code feature to help you locate a CSA near you!
- For the next generation of CSAs, you will be able to purchase credits ahead of the harvest that you can spend any time throughout the growing season. This option is great for those who travel a lot or have unpredictable schedules, check out Holton Farms.
- Want the benefits of a CSA without any hassle and variety from various local farms? Fresh from the Farm 365 delivers your share directly to your door! Their fresh local options span from fruits and vegetables to meat, dairy and even baked goods.
Do you belong to a CSA? Which one and what do you love about it?
Co-Written by Debi Zvi, RD, CDN and Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Edited by Tamara Cabrero & NYHRC Team
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr