Many of you are experiencing that end-of-CSA let down feeling, as your weekly boxes of farm fresh vegetables are no longer going to arrive filled to the brim with delectable edibles; we here at K can relate!
For those of you not privy to the emotional roller coaster that a CSA subscription can bring into one’s life, “CSA” stands for “Community Supported Agriculture“. It is a subscription system of farm management that emphasizes a direct approach from farm to table. Consumers buy a share in a local farm for the season (usually 12-20 weeks in the summer months) and receive a weekly box of fresh vegetables (it may also include fruit or flowers, depending on the farm). The contents of the box change through the weeks as different vegetables are ready for market.
The CSA arrangement has great advantages for the farm and for the consumer. The farm has a guaranteed market for it’s products and is paid in advance by the subscriptions, which provides the farm more financial stability. The consumer benefits by receiving farm fresh produce direct from the fields at a great cost advantage over purchasing through a traditional grocery store. Some CSA subscribers are also attracted by the fact that grocery decisions are made for them by the farm and its natural growing cycle.
The advantage of CSA farm arrangements to the community are enormous. Local food for local people, fresh from the farm to the consumer within days. According to the eco-lifestyle website Living Green, “American food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table…these miles are costly to the environment. They are, in fact, among the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.” CSA farms are consistent with the “buy local” ethos, supporting the local economy by keeping jobs and dollars at home. Small local farms instead of multinational agri-business – you know anything that cuts the Corporate Ogre (Archers Daniel Midland, Nabisco, Dupont, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Nestle) out of the financial equation gets our enthusiastic support! If you are interested in learning more about CSA farms in your area, local farms in Washington State are listed at CSAFarms. The site Local Harvest has a national CSA referral service.
CSA farms usually conclude their summer subscriptions at the end of October but some farms offer Winter CSA shares. These are for a shorter period and can be a real bargain! Winter CSA shares contain items like carrots, kale, winter squash, collards and potatoes. Here are some of the CSA farms that are offering Winter shares here in Thurston County:
Wobbly Cart – “We are a small workers’ collective living and growing vegetables on five acres in the Chehalis River Valley near Rochester, Washington. Our work combines a love of land with a commitment to a lifestyle that celebrates our passion for delicious, local, organic food.”
Left Foot Organics – “ Our Mission is to promote the self-sufficiency, inclusion and independence of people with developmental disabilities through involvement in environmentally sustainable agriculture.”
Rising River Farm – “Vegetables, Herbs, Strawberries, & Veggie Starts Organically Grown Since 1994.”
Helsing Junction Farm – “For over 20 years, we’ve grown certified organic vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs on our farm’s 50 fertile acres of bottomland soil. As one of the first CSA programs in Washington State, we have 18 years of experience behind us and offer the most variety of any CSA. Treat yourself to some of the best organic produce available, grown by women farmers who care about the environment and are passionate about good food!”
plus this non-farm bakery CSA:
8 Arms Community Bakery – “8 Arms Community Bakery is locally owned and operated in Olympia, Washington. I provide handcrafted, artisan baked goods made from local, natural and organic ingredients. You can purchase a share of the bakery and get baked goods on a regular basis.”