What is a CSA Farm? What is a CSA Share?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA program is a way for a farm to direct market to customers. A CSA cuts out the middleman and creates a direct relationship between a customer and a farmer. When you participate in a community supported agriculture program, what usually happens is you buy a "share" of the farm's production.
Buying a CSA share means that you get the freshest seasonal produce weekly at a price that is much less expensive than buying at a farmers market. The share is less expensive because the farmer is saving time and money by marketing before the season starts. The share also costs less because you are agreeing to receive whatever the farmer is growing and you are taking on the risks of vegetable farming (i.e. crop loss) by paying up front instead of when you receive the produce.
Customers and farms all over the country are using the CSA model because of all the benefits it has for both parties. As you connect to a local farm, you connect to your food in a new way. This relationship can teach you a lot about what grows in your region, and when it grows. If you have a CSA share, you are bound to try new vegetables as well as increase the seasonality of your cooking. A CSA share is a great option if you are concerned about how your food is produced, because you can visit the farm and will have weekly face-time with the people growing your food. For a farmer, especially on a new or small farm, a CSA provides stability, upfront cash, and a structure to the season. There are so many changing variables to vegetable farming; by purchasing a CSA share, you help out your farmer by taking away one of these variables.
Read more about the Windy Hill Family Farm CSA, check out our crop list and look at an example of a seasonal CSA share on this site. If you think a CSA is a good option for your household, you can sign up here for a Windy Hill Family Farm CSA share!