• Find your farmer. Want food that’s fresh from the farm? Go to Local Harvest and search for a CSA program in your area. Because no two are alike, be prepared to ask questions before signing up for a CSA subscription. What does it cost? What does it include? When are the delivery or pickup times? Are crops grown organically? Can you purchase add-ons like meat and dairy? Act quickly, though; the first crops will soon be in the ground and subscriptions are filling up fast.
• Consider a buddy. Eating seasonally means your share will look different every week. Farmers do their best to include a good variety. They also set out to strike a delicate balance of giving not too much, and not too little. Often, they’ll send out surveys before, during, and after the season and will make tweaks in the program to keep customers happy. But inevitably, you’re bound to get a lot of something (that’s code for zucchini) at some point in the season. If you’re new to CSA, you may want to split the cost and the share with a buddy so nothing goes to waste. Or learn how to best store the extra harvest for wintertime eating (your farm can provide advice for that, too).
• Enjoy the wow factor. Getting your CSA share every week feels like Christmas because you never know exactly what you’re going to get. Some places box up your produce the day you get it. If that’s the case, try to save your box and return it for reuse to keep operating costs down. If your CSA allows you to select your produce, remember to take a reusable bag with you for pickup.
• Check back for the inside dirt. Rodale.com’s ongoing CSA video series will give you a glimpse of how a CSA program works, share tips for making the most of your share, and offer advice from CSA farmers that you can apply to your garden at home.
Published on: March 24, 2009
Updated on: October 24, 2012