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Should You Sign Up for a CSA?

With summer in full swing, many New Englanders are eager to visit their local farm stand for the season’s freshest produce. Did you know you can take your support for local farmers a step further by signing up for a CSA? A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a smart way to source local, in-season produce, year-round. Let’s learn more about the CSA model and weigh the pros and cons of signing up for one near you.

 

A Quick Look at Your Local CSA

A compelling option for consumers looking to support local farms, CSAs have been around for more than 25 years. The model is simple to follow. Your local farmer sets the number of “shares” available for purchase. In this case, a share is synonymous with a subscription and includes a box, basket, or bag of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Depending on your location and proximity to the farm, you would pick up your share each week; some CSAs include delivery.

 

Why Sign Up for Your CSA Share?

The financial advantages of CSAs for both consumers and farmers cannot be overstated. As a consumer, you’re able to access the freshest produce with a quick weekly pick-up. Increasingly, research has shown that eating foods according to their season is a healthier option, compared to purchasing fruits and vegetables, regardless of harvest seasons, year-round from your big box grocer.

 

“Also, unlike out-of-season produce which is harvested early to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor. What’s more, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on their parent plant,” according to the Seasonal Food Guide.

 

Local farmers benefit from the CSA model because they can establish a reliable cash flow and market what they grow before their days are devoted to the labor-intensive, long hours of the actual harvest. The connection and sense of community experienced by both parties are also valuable and something that is often missed by many people in our increasingly globalized world.

Ready to Commit to a CSA?

We’ve got a list of CSAs throughout New Hampshire, which offer fruits, vegetables, and even meat, poultry, and occasionally some offer locally-made wine, too.

 

If a CSA doesn’t quite fit your culinary or shopping style, you can still support farmers in your community by visiting their farm stands or farmer’s markets whenever you’re craving the freshest, locally sourced ingredients.

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