Community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are no longer limited to fresh vegetables. Today, you can find subscription-based opportunities across the country for local fruit, bread, meat, cheese, and almost every other kind of agricultural product, making it easier than ever to support farmers directly with your food dollars.
Examples of nontraditional CSAs are cropping up across the country. For example, Scott Farm Orchard in Vermont offers weekly shares of its heirloom fruit every fall. In Pennsylvania, members of the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative’s winter bread share receive a fresh loaf every week. Stirring Soil Farm in Kansas sells its pasture-raised, heritage-breed pork through a CSA. Besides veggie shares, Turnip Rock Farm offers Wisconsinites what it calls a “full diet CSA” that includes artisanal cheese.
CSA subscriptions are opportunities for farmers to regulate their income streams better while providing their customers with an assortment of fresh food on a consistent basis. The benefits are significant for both the growers and the customers. Receiving advance payment for the entire share provides farmers with a valuable cash infusion, and, for customers, joining a CSA is often cheaper than buying individual products. Tens of thousands of families have become members of the roughly 4,000 CSA programs across the country. Be sure to check out the online resources of Local Harvest or Eat Wild to find nontraditional CSAs near you.