CSA Farms | Community Supported Agriculture
Are you looking for a farm that offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership? Find CSA farms offering fresh organic produce in your area. Have "just picked" packages of fresh vegetables delivered to your CSA pick-up location and learn how fabulous fresh vegetables can taste. Or, find a CSA farm in your town and go to the farm to pick your own vegetables. Either CSA option offers wonderfully fresh produce for you and your family
Find CSA farms offering memberships in the Hudson Valley. Find CSA farms selling fresh organic and local produce in the Hudson Valley of New York State. Visit a local CSA farm and learn about your local farming community.
Community Supported Agriculture, CSA
What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Essentially, biodynamic farming and gardening looks upon the soil and the farm as living organisms. It regards maintenance and furtherance of soil life as a basic necessity if the soil is to be preserved for generations, and it regards the farm as being true to its essential nature if it can be conceived of as a kind of individual entity in itself — a self-contained individuality. It begins with the ideal concept of the necessary self-containedness of the farm and works with furthering the life of the soil as a primary means by which a farm can become a kind of individuality that progresses and evolves.
The maintenance of soil life is vital also in order to protect the soil from erosion and to create, improve, and augment the humus content. The result will be a fine, crumbly structure containing the necessary organic colloids. This leads to the production of high-quality crops, which in turn means better feed for livestock and better food for human beings.
The goals of Community Supported Agriculture encourage a sustainable agriculture system providing farmers with direct sales outlets for farm products while ensuring fair compensation.
Are all CSA farms the same?
"In return for fair and guaranteed compensation, members receive a variety of freshly picked, (usually organic) vegetables grown and distributed in an economically viable and ecologically responsible manner. Some farms also offer fruit, herbs, flowers and other products, such as meats, eggs, cheese, and baked goods. Many farms offer their shareholders the opportunity to work in the fields or distribute produce in exchange for a discounted share price. Others offer sliding scales to accommodate lower income members. In this way, farmers and members become partners in the production, distribution and consumption of locally grown food." 2
A CSA farm may be a small farm of a few acres or a larger farm of several hundred acres. The farmer determines how many "shares" (also called memberships or subscriptions) are available to sell to the public. A share may be designated as a box of seasonal produce (fruits and vegetables) to be given to the CSA member, once or twice a week, or when available during the growing season. Some farms also offer the option to pick your own produce.
CSA members purchase a share before the harvest begins. The price of the share enables the farm to cover yearly costs, many of which are incurred before the crops are ready for harvest. In return, members receive 24 weekly shares of the freshest, highest quality, organic produce from the farm, starting the second week in June and ending in November. Stoneledge Farm donates to each CSA location one free Vegetable Share for each 10 Vegetable Shares sold. The CSA locations use the donated shares in a way that best serves their local CSA community.
CSA members pick up their weekly share at their CSA Location, organized, managed and run by the members. The CSA is a true partnership between Stoneledge Farm and the local CSA Location.
As each CSA Location is organized and managed independently by the members of that CSA, the CSA reflects the individual character of the neighborhood and community while partnering with Stoneledge Farm to grow and deliver the freshest produce for the members. A Core Group of Volunteers coordinate, organize and manage the local CSA, volunteering many hours of their time. Most of the CSA Locations have a Member Volunteer Commitment Requirement for each member. The Member Volunteer Commitment is generally 2-3 hours during the entire season helping at the distribution site. The local CSA community grows as members volunteer at the site, organize local events, share recipe ideas and meet at the weekly CSA pickup.
CSA members have direct contact with the farmers. Members receive a weekly e-mail newsletter and have the opportunity to visit the farm during scheduled work days and Farm Festival. CSA members are directly supporting regional small family farms and their local community while eating seasonally, locally and organically. 3
Benefits of Community Supported Agriculture
Benefits to the Consumer
CSA are no longer confined only to produce. Some farmers include the option for shareholders to buy shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies.
Sometimes several farmers will offer their products together, to offer the widest variety to their members. For example, a produce farmer might create a partnership with a neighbor to deliver chickens to the CSA drop off point, so that the CSA members can purchase farm-fresh chickens when they come to get their CSA baskets.
Other farmers are creating standalone CSAs for meat, flowers, eggs, and preserved farm products. In some parts of the country, non-farming third parties are setting up CSA-like businesses, where they act as middle men and sell boxes of local (and sometimes non-local) food for their members.
What to Expect from a CSA farm
Although it may take a short time to get used to eating this way, you will find that the freshest and most tasty produce is produce consumed in season. For example, if you're eating strawberries in December in the Hudson River Valley, you know the strawberries traveled thousands of miles before you ate them.
Once you learn how to cook and consume foods that are grown locally and are "seasonal" you will never again go back to importing your food. Butternut squash is delicious in season, as is watermelon, raspberries, and you can't get anything tastier than an apple just picked from the tree.Sources
1 & 2 Robyn Van En Center at Wilson College
3 Community Supported Agriculture at Stoneledge Farm