Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to buy local foods directly from the farmers in your area. With a CSA, the farmer will sell “shares” or “subscriptions” to their customers which allow them to receive an agreed upon amount of fresh produce, eggs or meat on a regular basis for the set time frame. Many vendors at the Woodstock Farmers Market offer a CSA option. We will post the CSA information for our vendors here in the beginning of the year as details become available.
- Members get to eat farm-fresh food
- You may get to try vegetables you may never have had before
- In times of low availability, members usually get first “dibs” on product that is available
- Great relationship building with the producer of the food you and your family are eating
- Great tips for preparing your food
- Opportunities to visit the farms and see where your food comes from
- Farmers get to receive payment in the beginning of their season which helps them pay expenses involved with getting crops planted, animals fed, and equipment readied for the season.
- Farmers get to build relationships with their customers.
- Many CSAs have delivery service. Some have meet-up points where members pick up their product. Others may require you to pick up your product at the farm
Some CSAs require members to sign a contract agreement stating their understanding that products from the farm are subject to weather, family emergency, insect infestation and disease. All of these issues can affect the availability of product in a given season. With a CSA, the risk is usually shared between the farmer and the member. In some cases, the members may receive a larger amount of a different product to replace the affected product. In some cases, you will just receive a smaller amount of product altogether.
Vegetables are seasonal. You will usually receive certain types of vegetables only during certain times of the year. Unlike the local grocery store that flies their produce in from other countries during off-seasons, farmers have available only what can be grown locally during a particular time of year. You may want to learn how to preserve your food so you can extend your season for certain vegetables. We have a Food Preservation page that can help guide you with that process.
Each CSA will have different policies and processes for food delivery, product availability, flexibility as well as a strict policy on product receipt. If you don’t pick up your products from the farmer according to the arranged schedule you will more than likely lose your rights to that share of product. Check with your farmer for their policy on this.
Learn about your farmer before you sign up so you know who you are buying from. Ask for references as well as a history of their farming experience.