Carrots picked just hours earlier before bringing them into the city.
Farm fresh produce is a trend on the rise. With the start of Spring comes a lot of buzz about joining a CSA. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it will work for you and your family.
A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a business model where shareholders (you) pay a farm in advance for a share of their crop that they produce. We are part of a meat only CSA. We pay a certain amount every month and they deliver a variety of beef and chicken directly to our door.
The cuts of meat we get vary each time, but we have a general idea of what to expect.
There are CSAs for dairy, eggs, fruit and veggies.
Since Spring is the time most people sign up for a CSA, make sure you know what to look for before joining!
12 Questions to Ask Before Joining a CSA
1. Do you cook?
If your family doesn’t cook at least 5 times a week a CSA may not be for you.
2.Is organic certification important?
Smaller farms although organic in practice, may not have the funds to go through the certification process so their produce is not certified organic.
3.What is the share size?
Is it a standard brown paper bag or a smaller snack box? This will determine how much you need and if it’s enough or too much for your family.
4.Are there vacation holds?
What is their policy when you go on vacation? Will they refund a portion or donate it or can you give it to someone else?
5.Do they deliver?
If you are not close driving distance to a farm, a delivery or convenient drop-off location is important. Also make sure the times work with your schedule.
6.Is the crop in-season?
If you are looking for a certain crop like corn or strawberries check if it’s a local crop grown in your region.
7.Are you a picky eater?
Mustard greens anyone? Every week? If you and your family are not picky about trying new foods, it may be a great fit for you.
8.Is it for money reasons?
Joining a CSA may not be the most cost effective option, especially if any of the food is going to waste. Supermarkets are hard to beat for sheer volume, but cannot compare to taste and freshness.
9.Do you like the outdoors?
It’s not a requirement, but a fun perk of being a member. Farms have special member only events to enjoy on the farm.How fun for kids to pick their own veggies for dinner!
10.Do you have the time?
CSA contracts range from 3 mos. to 1 yr. It is a time commitment and sometimes they offer a sample share to see if it’s something you want to join.
11.To split or not to split?
If the share is too large for your family, is there anyone you can split or swap with? Maybe a neighbor is joining another CSA and you can swap produce depending on what each is getting, or go in together on one and share it.
12.Is health a priority?
Be honest. Everyone says it is, but joining a CSA is for health and wellness far above anything else. There is a difference in taste and nutrient rich foods that are hand picked just hours before delivery.
Are you part of a CSA?