What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
CSA membership is a way to access fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers and dairy products directly from a local farmer. This direct-to-consumer model allows farmers to build relationships with their communities, which helps farms remain sustainable and stable.
Customers invest a certain amount of money (usually between $400-$600) at the beginning of the growing season. By investing and committing your purchase early, farmers are able to plan their crops appropriately so they don't waste resources and their businesses can remain financially viable. Your investment goes directly back into the farm for costs such as seed, equipment repairs, and labor; all needed long before any of the farm product becomes available for sale.
In New England the harvest season is generally 20 weeks long and runs from June to October, but can be longer with season extension. Each week, members of the CSA pick-up their box full of goodies at the farm or another known location.
Typically the boxes include 7-10 different varieties of locally grown produce (or other commodities) but each farm is different so be sure to ask your farmer if you have any questions.