I love a farmer’s market – it’s quaint, inexpensive and supports local farmers. I think farmer’s markets have become more popular in our area in recent years because of the economy and because of a passion for buying locally. However, I found another local service that brings people even closer to their local farmers.
I stumbled across a website that provides information about local goods and produce called, Local Harvest. One of the webpages is about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which is like a membership with a local farm. As the consumer, you receive fresh produce during the farm’s growing season. It’s a fantastic program that brings together farmers and local community support, but also directly links consumers to fresh products. I think it saves time and money in the long run because you get fresh produce weekly without having to think about it!
One of our local farms in Conway, Thompson Farm, is a part of the CSA program and they offer a small, medium and large share for different pricing. This program includes 5-7 different fruits and vegetables for 20 weeks starting June 1. Another local farm in Conway, Sugarfoot Farms, offers pick-up at the local farmer’s markets and provides produce from September through November. A local farm in Aynor, J&W Produce, is also part of the CSA program and they offer a spring and summer season of produce. My husband are thinking about joining one because the concept is ideal to support the local economy, but also it brings us fresh produce. We’ll probably start with a small share first, especially since I have to learn how to cook fresh produce better! I don’t want to waste anything.
Each CSA program is different and I would recommend talking with the farmers about their program. Some farms only sign up a certain amount of members for their CSA program, so contact the farmers early before the season starts. The Local Harvest website provides detailed information about how to pick a CSA and what kinds of questions to ask farmers.
We actually are going to try this with close friends of ours – split the cost and see how it goes. Since it doesn’t start until later in the year, I’ll have to update our experience later on.