Farm Direct
Farm Direct

What is a CSA?

What if, instead of getting a news magazine every week, you got a big box of produce from a farmer down the road, a box of fruits and vegetables picked that very morning, bursting with flavor and nutrition? That's what you get when you subscribe to a CSA.

Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as "subscription farming." You buy a subscription from a local farmer just like you buy a subscription to Time or Newsweek. But instead of receiving a magazine each week, you receive a "share" of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for farm-fresh eggs, and/or meats.

While new in name, Community Supported Agriculture hearkens back to an earlier time-a time when people knew where their food came from, ate in harmony with the seasons, and enjoyed a delicious, healthy diet of pure, fresh foods.

"In season" is what CSAs are all about. The grocery store knows no seasons. It is disconnected from Nature and so are the people who must shop there. Sure, you can buy tomatoes in January-but who wants to eat cardboard tomatoes? That sorry tomato was picked green 2000 miles away and weeks ago, then blasted with ethylene gas to make it turn red just before it landed in the produce section of your store. What we have gained in convenience, we have lost in flavor, freshness, nutritional value, and human connection-to each other and to the land.

When you subscribe to a CSA, however, you remake all those connections.

Of course, you'll never get tomatoes in May. In May, your vegetable CSA share will be full of luscious lettuce, spinach, and other spring delights. When August comes, then you will experience an explosion of true tomato flavor with your first bite of a juicy, just-picked, sun-ripened tomato- proving once again that some things are worth waiting for!

CSA subscribers don't so much "buy" food from particular farms as become "members" of those farms. CSAs provide more than just food, they offer ways for eaters to become involved in the ecological and human community that supports the farm. Join one today!


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