Getting involved with your local CSA has a variety of benefits. It is a great way to get involved in your community, help support your local farmers, and encourage living a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 reasons why getting involved with your local CSA is a wise choice, how it works, and what share works best for you and your family
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is a way for consumers to buy locally sourced food directly from the farmer. The farmer offers seasonal vegetables and fruits from their farm, but other farm products may be included. Consumers purchase a share (otherwise known as a “membership” typically for a designated season) and in return receive seasonal produce from that farm each week. The consumer can expect a variety of advantages:
• Fresh produce directly from the farm
• The benefit of knowing the practices of the farmer (organically grown, etc.)
• Exposure to produce that you might normally pass by in a grocery store
• Activities for children and families• Relationship building with the farmer
• The benefit of participate in the growth of the local economy
How does the CSA work?
So, you have decided to participate in your local CSA, but how does it work? When you sign up with your CSA, you will decide what share you wish to purchase. Each week you will go to the farm and fill your share with what the farmer wishes to provide for that given week. The way your local CSA chooses to fill your share may vary. For instance, the farmer may choose what produce you receive each week and will have the box or bag ready for pickup. Another popular way to fill your share is the mix and match method. This is where your farmer will give you your share box or bag, and you can choose how much of each product you wish to take.
What share works best for you and your family?
Most CSA’s have a variety of options when it comes to choosing your share. Most CSA’s break it down by family size to ensure you are picking the best option. The typical share options usually look something like this:
• Whole share
• Half share
There typically is not a designated number of items or weight on your share. The farmer will give you a box or bag they see fit for the share size.
Shares are typically seasonal with a start and end date. Most CSA’s will offer special extensions into the autumn months.
A whole share might look something like this:
1 pint blueberries, 3 lbs. peaches, 1 quart tomatoes, 2 lbs. green beans, 6 ears of corn, 1 bunch beets, 2 lbs. squash, 2 or 3 cucumbers, a bunch of basil.
While A Half Share Might Look Like This:
3 lbs peaches, 1 quart tomatoes, 6 ears corn, 1 bunch beets, 2 or 3 cucumbers ,a bunch of basil
The share you chose will largely depend on the size and eating habits of your family. A great option when choosing the size share is to consider sharing with a friend! Getting your neighbors involved is a great way to be more involved in the community, and to show your support for our farmers.
If you have further questions about the benefits of getting involved in your local CSA, or more questions on what share is best for you, do not hesitate to contact your farmer! Visit www.marylandsbest.com or www.Marylandorganic.org for a list of Maryland CSA’s.