Crispy Seared Artichoke? Comically Scared Abalone? Costly Secured Airspace? Nope! CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. And what’s that, you ask? Good question! Community-Supported Agriculture refers to a program in which people pay a certain amount of money directly to a farm. In return, the farm provides them with produce (and occasionally, other goods such as flowers or honey) for a set period of time, usually the length of the growing season. Think of it as an extension of a farmer’s market. Yesterday’s Globe contained a great piece about the rise of CSAs and the advantages they provide to both consumers and farmers.
The beauty of CSAs is that both consumers and farmers benefit by eliminating the middleman. Consumers get local, unbelievably fresh products without a price markup. Farmers get guaranteed business. While relying on a CSA for the bulk of your produce does mean that you have less choices, it can lead to some exciting food discoveries. Never tried cooking sweet potatoes but suddenly have two pounds worth? You’re going to learn now! There’s something very pioneer-ish about joining a CSA and it’s perfectly in tune with the current trend toward local and seasonal eating. If you’re interested in becoming a proud CSA-er, check out your local options.
Making Agriculture a Community Effort [Boston Globe]
Community Supported Agriculture (And Other Farm Subscriptions) [Local Harvest]