What should I consider when choosing my CSA / Farm Share?
Not all CSA shares are the same. Choose a CSA program that reflects your needs in terms of:
- The amount of food you need for yourself or your family
- What’s inside: a farmer choice box (typical CSA), or, a your-choice box (note: offering customization means adding more time for administration and packing. )
- A pick-up location that makes sense for you.
Can I choose what is in my box of produce?
Check with the individual CSA farm to find out if their CSA follows the traditional farmer choice model, or, a your-choice box. Note that offering customization means adding more time for administration and packing for farms, for which they may also need to increase their pricing to accommodate.
How often will I get a box?
Check with the individual CSA farm to learn how often they deliver shares. Some are weekly, some are bi-weekly. Meat shares are often portioned and delivered all at once.
What about COVID-19 safety measures?
Check with the CSA farm to learn what additional safety measures they are taking to mitigate exposure and contact. In general, a CSA share can offer an even safer method of getting your weekly produce than visiting an indoor grocer to shop a produce section that had been handled by and exposed to more people and surfaces.
How is becoming a CSA member the most direct way to support local farms?
Buying direct means that your CSA farm benefits by saving time, money, and resources.
Why is a CSA / farm share different from buying produce at the grocery store?
When you become a CSA member, you are not just buying groceries. You are connecting with your local farmer, your food, and the seasonality and flavors of your region. Many farmers include newsletters, emails, and recipes to inform you about what they are growing, how to prep and store your food. Chances are, you’ll get to know the people that are growing your food, and experience more pleasure and gratitude as you eat.
Pro tips for making the most of CSA
Get ready to eat seasonally. Eating local means eating with the seasons, and that you’ll be trying a larger variety of produce than your usual grocery run may entail.
Be ready for a new experience! Farm fresh veggies don’t always look as picture-perfect as grocery store veggies. But, they’re fresh-picked and packed full of nutrients; their flavors may surprise you!
Brush up on food storage techniques. Freezing, canning and sharing with a friend is a great way to get the most out of your share.
Get ready to save some money. Breaking the cost of a CSA down into weekly cost (i.e. $25/week) can help showcase the savings, when compared to grocery store organic produce.
Dig Deep! Get the full experience. Some farms may offer volunteer opportunities to get involved and even get a discount on your share in exchange. Play in the dirt, attend on-farm community meals, learn about where your food comes from and why it’s important.