Friday, January 30, 2009

Get Ready for Summer!

Despite what you might think from the headline, I haven't lost it yet. Even though it's still January and we're being regaled with another six inches of snow two or three times a week, it's time to think about summer CSA sign-ups. The first deadline for the CSA that we use, at Luna Bleu Farm, is March 1, and Suzanne expects it to be full by then (so no late sign-ups).

My mom recently said to me, "Your CSA looks really great, but I don't think they have any near me." They do - in fact, there are more than twenty to choose from in her area. The Local Harvest CSA finder lets you search by zip code or by city and state. Unless you live in an extraordinarily dry, mountainous, or remote area, there is probably a CSA near you. Even then, it's worth a shot - Local Harvest's map shows CSAs in all 48 continental states. You can also try Eatwellguide.org's search - their CSA listings aren't as extensive, but they do have listings for Canada. If you're abroad, try Googling your country or region and CSA or whatever it may be called where you live. For example, in Britain, CSAs are usually referred to as "veg box schemes." If you're not sure, try searching "farm share" or looking at the website for your country's department of agriculture. The USDA website lists a few other CSA finders beside the ones that I mentioned, plus some more great links about CSAs.

And before you settle on a CSA, take the time to investigate your options. Not all CSAs are the same. Some require volunteer time on the farm (ours doesn't, but they do host occasional harvest days/potluck parties). Some have weekly drop-offs or pick-ups, some biweekly. Some require you to come to the farm, others offer pickups at central locations, and some even deliver to your door. There are CSAs where you choose nothing (all box contents determined by the farmer) and others that are more like discount programs at farm stands, where, for instance, you pay $200 in advance and in return you get $250 in credit to buy whatever you want. Some CSAs include things like herbs, fresh flowers, meat, bread, honey, milk, or eggs. There are so many variations, and chances are, whether you know it or not, you probably have options in your area.

If you decide to sign up for a CSA near you, PLEASE comment here and tell me what you've found! I'm really curious to know what you've chosen and why.

3 comments:

Era said...

Hey there! My housemates and I in Philadelphia have chosen the Red Earth Farm CSA because we could get a half share, they deliver to our area of the city, and we could order an egg share as well. I have some friends who are members of this CSA and they are very happy with it too, so we're really excited for June to see what we get!

Sarah said...

Sounds great! Our CSA comes in small, medium, and large sizes - the small is just right for the two of us. The egg share is a nice addition. I think we can buy eggs and meat from the farm, but not as part of the share.

outreach@eatwellguide.org said...

Hey there Choice of Pies!

Thanks for mentioning the Eat Well Guide in your post. When you have a minute, check back by the improved site where you can sign up to stay updated on local, healthy food in your area, search for local events, or download widgets for your blog (http://downloads.eatwellguide.org/widgets/search/). Let us know what you think and please suggest listings you don’t see in the Guide so we can add them.