So You Want to Join a CSAApr 25th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: show tips, the show
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer — and you’re finally ready to join one.
I asked Katie Kraemer Pitre of Tecolote Farm in Manor, Texas what questions someone ought to ask when choosing a farm and farmer from which to purchase a CSA subscription. She provided the following:
- How long is the commitment
- How many does a share feed, and
- How am I helping your farm?
When you join a CSA you are going into business with the farmer — usually on a season-by-season basis. The length of the season varies depending on where you live. The spring and summer season at Tecolote Farm, for example, is 18 weeks.
Your fee, often paid in full and in advance, underwrites the cost farmers incur when growing your food. Your share–many feed between two and four people for a week– is then delivered to your home or to a drop off site in your community on a specific day.
The fee you pay in advance allows the farmer to buy seeds and amendments for the season’s crops (as well as other farm expenses), but does not necessarily guarantee you will get a return on your investment. It is vital to keep in mind that when you subscribe to a CSA your are helping the farmer shoulder the risks and the rewards.
Because agriculture is affected by weather, pests, pestilence, and plain old fate, some shares may be sparse while others are abundant. The one thing you can depend on is your farmer’s commitment and dedication to growing you the best food they possibly can. You’ll always get something in your share, you just never know what or how much.
If you cannot live with that kind of uncertainty, this may not be a program for you. However, if you’re willing to take a chance on a farmer, you’ll end up with some of the freshest, best tasting food you’ve ever had, and know exactly where it came from, how it was grown, and who made it possible.
Isn’t that worth a little risk?