For most of us in the Northeast, there’s that almost-out-of-the-woods feeling of spring coming, well, any day now.
Chances are, you haven’t quite started thinking about your summer fruits and veggies yet. Before I was ever a professional farm manager, I fell hard for warm-weather produce: early spring lettuce, the juicy sweetness of June strawberries, and cucumbers for days.
My produce game as a whole, however, lacked the planning and preparation that ultimately cost me tons of time and money. Food and cooking brings me great joy, brings important people in my life together, and is at the core of everything I cherish, but the idea of investing a few days of research into any purchasing decision can be daunting.
Community-supported agriculture programs (or CSAs) are ways for consumers to support a local farm by purchasing shares before the season begins, injecting revenue into a farm at a time of year that it faces the toughest financial struggles.
As community members pay for shares, farmers are ensured the upfront funds to purchase seeds, soil amendments, and equipment and pay labor before they see any return in the fields. As a payout on their investment, those who purchased shares receive their "share" of fresh vegetables, usually once per week, for the duration of the season.
Now, on the other side of the fence, I’d like to offer my younger self (and you!) some CSA tips to get you started and keep you going: