What is a CSA share?
American CSAs' humble start began in 1986 at two farms. Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts (https://www.indianlinefarm.com) and Temple-Wilton Community Farm (https://www.twcfarm.com) in New Hampshire offered produce by the box while family farms were still small family farms.
Despite changes in the landscape over the past 30+ years, these two original CSA farms are still thriving today. Both have established enduring legacies, even though they have confronted many challenges over the years.
Today there are about 12,549 CSA farms in the United States. North Dakota has at least 18 CSA farms offering veggies, herbs, baked goods, canned goods, eggs, meat and more.
Why buy a share?
Purchasing a CSA share helps farmers buy supplies and seeds during a time of no income. It also provides a barometer for planting certain crops by identifying a demand.
CSAs are small farms with more flexibility in the varieties planted each year. That means you may receive new vegetable varieties to include in your summer meals.
There's no middle man and less packaging in a share box, meaning farmers receive a larger portion of the profit. The produce is two to three weeks fresher than any transported to your local grocer. Usually, your box has been picked the day or morning before delivery.
The farmer is not the only person receiving benefits from your CSA purchase. Your family will be eating healthier local produce that can be grown organically. Most small vegetable farmers practice non-chemical growing. You will be receiving organic produce as a much lesser expense than your supermarket can offer. Your produce will also last much longer in your refrigerator because it is fresh.
CSAs develop relationships between farmers and consumers. The knowledge about farming and cooking with freshly harvested vegetables can be shared as the relationship between farms and families grows.
Most farmers experiment with different varieties and treating you to some wonderful new foods. Healthy soil means healthier food for you and your family. It's beneficial in creating a love for fruits and vegetables your children will pass on to their children.
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Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.