Worth Knowing: It's time to think about signing up for a CSA
As we in the Upper Valley inch closer to something that might look more like Spring, it's time to start thinking about purchasing a share in a CSA. CSA is an abbreviation for community-supported agriculture: an arrangement to buy food that is grown or produced by local farms and businesses. When you buy or take part in a CSA, you pay a certain amount of money usually in exchange for a weekly share of locally grown fruit and vegetables, although some farmers offer CSAs that include cut flowers, herbs, and various meats and dairy products. Since everything you receive is locally grown, the produce CSA share will include produce that is seasonal. CSA's are usually available in full- or half-shares, with a full-share being for a full year, but there are variations on that, too. And many CSAs offer some kind of weekly drop-off or pick-up option so you need'nt go to the farm every week.
Here is a list of just some of the local farms in the Upper Valley that offer CSAs:
- Luna Bleu Farm, South Royalton, VT - (802) 763-7981, www.http://lunableufarm.org/
- Sunrise Farm, White River Junction, VT - (802) 295-1456, www.sunrisefarmvt.com
- Cedar Circle Farm, East Thetford, VT - (802) 785-4737, www.cedarcirclefarm.org
- Autumn Harvest Farm, Grafton, NH - (603) 632-9144
- Sweetland Farm, Norwich, VT - (802) 376-5945, www.sweetlandfarmvt.com
- Root 5 Farm, Fairlee, VT - (802) 923-6339, www.root5farm.com
- Winter Moon Farm, Corinth, VT - (802) 439-3804, www.wintermoonfarm.com
- Edgewater Farm, Plainfield, NH - (603) 298-8391, www.edgewaterfarm.com
Note: the above list of local CSAs is not exhaustive. If you know of additional farms in the Upper Valley offering CSAs, please leave a comment below this post.
The benefits of participating in a CSA to you are obvious - you get a regular supply of locally grown food that is usually organic, always nutritious, reasonably priced, and you're supporting your local farms. The benefits to the farmer are less obvious and include: better cash flow as they plan for a new season; opportunity to plan the use of their resources more efficiently, which means less waste of money and of crop; a better market for growing a greater variety of produce, including heirloom varieties; less marketing costs during the season; and eliminating the middle-man in the packaging, transportation, and selling of produce. This means more profit ends up in the growers pocket, which they can then reinvest in their business.
Sounds like everybody wins. So look into purchasing a CSA today!
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