CSA, Community Supported Agriculture

IMG_2566Called CSA for short, this Community Supported Agriculture Program is now in its third year at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. 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 this case the farm share will be delivered weekly, to a designated pick-up spot, for a specified number of weeks during the season. Usually a share includes a mix of 6-10 varieties of produce, enough for a family of four, however, half shares are also common. Based on the arrangement you select CSA members may sign up for a full share all season, about 25 weeks, typically $400-$700. Partial season shares are available to meet the needs of summer residents. Most CSAs have a variety of payment plans to enable members flexibility in paying for their shares. Early spring payments enable the farm to plan for the season, purchase seed, make equipment repairs, and more. This is one way a community can support its local agriculture.

“As a five-year veteran of CSA farm share boxes, what I like best about the arrangement is… no shopping, no decision-making, no menu planning necessary, just pick-up your box every week. 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. Cooking the ingredients from the share is different, it’s simpler, more creative, tastier, and more nutritious. Eat more fresh varieties of slaw, salsa, salads, soups as well as steamed, grilled, and roasted vegetables. Cravings for Russian Blue Kale, vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh-from-the-tree apples are not uncommon. It is also 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

The participating farms for 2017 are:

Berry Brook Farm, http://www.berrybrookfarmorganic.com/csa.html

Gaia’s Breath Farm, http://www.gaiasbreathfarm.com/

Heller’s Farm, http://hellersfarmcsa.com/sign_up.php

Middlefield Orchard, http://middlefieldorchard.com/community-supported-agriculture/

There are many options designed to meet your family’s needs, visit the websites and meet the farmers at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market on Saturdays at 101 Main Street in Pioneer Alley.