CSAEver wish you could have a seasonal bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables arriving at your door each week? You can! Sign up for a local CSA in your area and enjoy the freshest fare from your community farmers.

First, let’s define CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. What does that mean, you ask? Community supported agriculture is a program that allows consumers to purchase local, seasonal food straight from the farmer. A farmer will offer certain “shares,” which typically consists of a box of fruits and vegetables or other farm products. Depending on what you sign up for, you may be lucky enough to receive fresh meats like beef and chicken, or products like local honey. You can purchase this “share” from the farmer and you’ll receive your box of goodies each week throughout the farming season.

Learn more: These North Carolina CSAs Take Food From the Field to Your Front Door

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Advantages of a CSA

  • You’ll get fresh-from-the-farm produce when it’s in season.

  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop relationships with farmers who grow your food and learn more about farming.

  • You might get the chance to visit a farm.

  • CSAs are a great way to support your local agriculture in your community.

Different Types of CSAs

  • A standard CSA means the farmer will load your box and you will receive whatever is available that week.

  • A “market-style” CSA is a CSA in which the customers get to choose, to a degree, what goes in their box.

  • CSA’s aren’t only for fruits and vegetables, but it all depends on the farm and the farmer. Some farms offer customers shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their produce.
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Slight Risks of CSAs

With a CSA, the customer typically pays the “dues” upfront at the beginning of the season and the farmers do their best to supply. However, if there are challenges that affect the farmer’s crop yields, such as unfavorable weather conditions, the customers are not typically reimbursed. You never know what Mother Nature will throw your way each year!

Not sure what to do with your CSA bounty? Here are some great recipes featuring fresh, seasonal produce:

Fresh Tomato Soup

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Ricotta Tomato Salad

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Squash Croquettes

Sources: National Agriculture Library, Local Harvest

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