According to the Modern Farmer website, yesterday was National CSA Sign-Up Day–the day when the largest number of people sign up for a CSA for the coming season. Sure enough, I am writing my check for this year’s subscription today as I pay my March bills.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a CSA, the initials stand for community supported agriculture. In a CSA, a farmer sells shares in his or her season’s production to individual consumers. Your share entitles you to a regular amount of produce, usually vegetables but sometimes fruit or dairy products or meat or even wool, throughout the season. CSAs are great for consumers because they give you very fresh and delicious produce, straight from the farm, and usually grown in a more sustainable way than regular supermarket produce. CSAs are great for farmers because they offer a bit of insurance against the many vicissitudes inherent in agriculture: the farmer in effect gets paid in advance. Consumers do take a small risk, but the benefits greatly outweigh it.
To find a CSA, or to get more information, check the Local Harvest website. You’ll find a list of CSAs organized by state and by county, and you’ll quickly discover that there are no CSAs operating out of Bergen County, NJ. There are many in Warwick, NJ, however, just over the border in Orange County in the famous Black Dirt region–an ancient lake bed with extremely fertile soil. For the past three or four years, we have joined Hesperides Organica, a family-run farm that delivers wonderful vegetables and fruit to several locations in Bergen County each week from June to November. If you’re at all interested in the farm-to-table concept, in eating more produce, or even in eating better-tasting food, check out your local CSA.