The Cooperstown Farmers Market is promoting a new fruit and vegetable service called Community Supported Agriculture, CSA for short. The CSA model has been around for decades in various forms. It is a farm-to-table program that provides consumers with direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown by area farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a share of the harvest from a farmer.
In our case, the farm share will be delivered weekly, to a designated pick-up spot, for a specified number of weeks during the season roughly from June to November. Usually a share includes a mix of 7-10 varieties of produce, enough for a family of four, however, half shares are also common.
CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront (typically $400-$700 based on the arrangement you choose). Most CSAs have a variety of payment plans to enable members flexibility in paying for their shares. This early bulk payment enables your farmer to plan for the season, purchase new seed, make equipment repairs, and more. This is one way a community can support its local agriculture.
“As a two-year veteran of The Farm’s CSA farm share box, I can tell you there were some unexpected consequences to being a CSA member. No shopping, no decision-making, no menu planning necessary, just pick-up your box every week. The opening of the box is very much like presents on Christmas morning. The produce goes into the refrigerator. When you are hungry, you open the refrigerator door and there are all kinds of great things to eat. You can eat almost everything raw. Cooking the ingredients from the share is different, it’s simpler, it’s more creative, it’s tastier, it has more nutrients. Cravings for Russian Blue Kale, arugula, tomatoes off the vine, cilantro, and scapes are not uncommon. I shared surplus with my neighbors, people love that. It is possible to squirrel-away blueberries for the winter and corn on the cob for corn chowder. This is a food adventure worth taking; the result is a healthier diet. I highly recommend it.” Lyn Weir, Cooperstown Farmers’ Market manager.
This year, three well-established Cooperstown Farmers’ Market vendors are offering CSA services in the Cooperstown area. CSA arrangements vary from farm to farm and more information is available at the Cooperstown Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9:00-2:00 at the stalls of the following farms.
Three CSA Farm Share Membership Options:
1. Fruit and Vegetable CSA Farm Share from Heller’s Farm, Bainbridge, NY
– Selection of fruits and vegetables as well as preserves each week
– 25 weeks, share is $27 a week from June 4 to November 19
– Tuesday P/U with locations to be determined
– Fresh picked produce enough for a family of four, also preserved items like jams,
pickles, and salsa
– $700 for the season with two installment of $350 due March 15 and June 24
– Heller’s Farm Facebook page has photos of farm share boxes from the 2012 season
which shows quantity and diversity
– Heller’s Farm started a CSA service in Ithaca four years ago, the service doubles each
year in size which includes 90% of the original members
2. Certified Organic Vegetable CSA Farm Share from Gaia’s Breath Farm, Jordanville, NY – Selection of certified organic vegetables each week
– 25 weeks, share is $27 a week with boxes from June 8 to November 23
– P/U is Saturdays at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market or at the farm [locations TBD]
– Typical share for the spring includes: a ½ lb mesclun mix, and a ½ lb of spinach or ½
lb of arugula, plus one bunch each of purple top turnips, radishes, kale, Bok Choy,
Mizuna, and ramps. The summer share typically includes – ½ lb mesclun mix, ½ lb
arugula, 3 lbs tomatoes, 1 lb, peppers, 3 lbs cucumbers, 3 lbs squash, 1 lb beans, 1
bulb garlic, 1 bunch radish, and 2 lbs eggplant.
– $675 for the season with two installments of $337.50 due on May 11 and Sept 14
– Organic certification by Demeter USA
– Four years of CSA experience
3. Fruit CSA from Middlefield Orchard, Middlefield, NY
– Selection of fresh fruits each week
– 18 weeks, share is $19 a week from July 13 to November 9
– Saturdays, Wednesdays, with P/U locations at local Farmers Markets: Cooperstown,
Bassett, Delhi and Oneonta, as well as the Orchard on Saturdays, 9-2
– Fresh picked fruit enough for a family of four
– $350 for the season with payment due no later than May 31
– A very enthusiastic first year
Come to the market and talk to the farmers for more details.