What is a CSA and is it right for me?

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is just one of the many ways customers who believe in “real food” can support a farmer.

 

You get what is being harvested each week. It changes from week to week and season to season. Some years, the weather defeats us and you may not get a certain crop. Other years, there might be an abundant crop of strawberries and you get extra!

 

But a CSA is not the only way to get fresh, local produce from our farm to your table.

 

It’s best to go into the decision with your eyes wide open, and see if your expectations match the experience that a CSA will give you.

 

To help you decide if a CSA is right for you, and before you sign up for this commitment to our specific farm, ask yourself these 6 questions….

We find again and again that the number one reason for joining a CSA is to support a local farm. After all, a farm in your neighborhood is a good thing!

CSA members want to be able to shake the hand that feeds them. There’s something rewarding about knowing you are doing your part to support a local business.

CSA members’ motivation for supporting the farm is just as much about having the back of the farmer, as it is about getting the full financial value of their share. Your decision to be a loyal member is what makes your local food producers resilient.

But this relationship goes both ways. When you join a CSA, your farmer will make an attempt to cultivate a connection with you, too. This means we learn your names and work hard to make the CSA feel like a community. We try to add value to your life by teaching you about our farm’s story or sharing how to prepare the food.

Our CSA allows you to put your subscription “on hold,” but you have to remember to do it 3 days ahead of time! You can also have someone else pick up your share or we can donate to Emmanuel Dining Room or the Food Bank of Delaware.

We ask you to think about your circumstances before you sign up. Is your chosen pick up site and day convenient? Is your life too busy to fit this in right now? It might be better to order “a la carte” from our online store or shop in the market based on your availability.

CSAs are designed for people who can make that regular commitment.

Taste matters to you. You know putting together a delicious meal in your kitchen doesn’t just come down to cooking skills.

            It starts with quality ingredients.

The second most important quality of a CSA member is that they love quality food.

CSAs are all about providing high-quality, fresh vegetables and fruit that make your home dining experience feel like a special event every night.

CSA members learn to be flexible with their menu and make things work in the kitchen, because you often don’t know what you will get in your box until a few days before the pick up.

Some people love the spontaneity. Others will be stressed by it. Which one are you?

Think hard on this. Are you willing to give up some control over your meal plan?

CSA works best for customers who see their kitchen as a creative space, and our vegetables as the “paint” for their canvas. Can you go with the flow?

A CSA will push you to try new foods and explore variety in your kitchen.

You will discover new veggies and new fruits that you love, but you’ll probably also get a few that you “tolerate.”

Look, let’s face it. We know that if left to your own devices, you would never purposely put a kohlrabi or a persimmon in your box. Or would you? If you would, then you will definitely click with a CSA.

It’s all part of the goal in CSA on developing food diversity and teaching our community and our kids how to eat seasonally again.

From an actual CSA member: “CSA has introduced my family to veggies that I never would have bought at the store, and I learned that we liked them! It helped me become more creative in my cooking.”

It takes a while to get used to eating the CSA way.

Many of our customers say it took them 2-3 seasons before they learned how to consistently use the box’s full contents. The first year, you can waste a lot as you learn the ropes.

It’s why we recommend starting with the small share or every other week.

There will be many weeks when you have the best intentions to cook everything…and then life sets in, the veggies begin to pile up in the back of the fridge, and you start to feel like you’re feeding the garbage disposal.

It takes time to develop new habits and learn how to eat the CSA way. If you are committed to learning how, you can do it! But it may take a few seasons before you feel like you’ve got it down.

Do you have the staying power to “work” at CSA?

Scallions growing in th eground in a high tunnel

So, how'd you do?

Remember, CSA is just one model out there for getting fresh farm food onto your table. For those who value the story, the journey, and the farmer relationship behind the food, it can be a great option that can change the way you eat forever.

But there’s no shame in passing on CSA and instead buying weekly from the farm store. That may be a better fit for your lifestyle or needs.

We have both options, so we want you to be in the right place.

As in all things, expectations determine how you experience the product. To set you up for CSA success, make sure your expectations align with the philosophy of CSA before you commit.

Ready to get started?

Try out our CSA with a 4-week trial membership.

Learn about our CSA shares here. 

Decide your pick-up site.

Place your order.

You get a confirmation email, and we begin to onboard you into our program via email. There is a special Facebook group for our CSA members!

Payment options: Pay for 4 weeks, 12 weeks, or “pay as you go” with Auto Renew, which charges your credit card 2 days in advance of each pick up.

No thanks, CSA is not my gig…

Try shopping our online farm store instead. Delivery is also an option.

You can also shop in-person at the farm market Monday-Saturday in our historic barn.

We appreciate your support of our family farm. You make it possible for us to be here, growing all four seasons. Eat fresh, eat local, eat well!