CSA farms provide a summer of fresh, healthy foods
Many CSAs still taking memberships for current growing season
ST. PAUL, Minn. – There’s still time for consumers to sign up for membership with a Community Supported Agriculture farm or CSA. CSAs offer weekly shares of produce for a period of 14 – 22 weeks during the growing season. A share typically includes enough vegetables and fruits for four people. Members pick up their weekly shares at the farm or at an established drop site.
CSAs are growing in popularity because more consumers today are not only interested in finding local foods, but they also want to get to know a farmer, according to Brian Erickson, spokesman for the Minnesota Grown program.
“CSA popularity has been reflected in the newly released Minnesota Grown Directory which features 85 CSA farms this year. Just four years ago there were only 20 CSAs listed,” said Erickson. “We’re seeing many more growers market their products using the CSA model, so consumers should sign up now if they want a membership this season.”
Erickson says before joining a CSA it’s a good idea to consider what the CSA will provide, such as the types of products, the drop site location and the grower’s level of experience.
Gary Brever, owner of Ploughshare farm near Alexandria, Minnesota, says CSA growers try to cater to the varied needs of consumers.
“We currently offer several share options including a traditional summer CSA share, a “mini” share designed to allow new customers to get their feet wet, fall storage share, frozen winter share, and more.”
It is important to note the basis of most CSA membership agreements includes shared risk and reward. For example, flood, pests or drought may limit production and availability of certain products.
Consumers can find CSAs online at www.minnesotagrown.com. For a free printed Minnesota Grown Directory (as well as other great travel information), call Explore Minnesota at 1-888-VISIT-MN (847-4866). The Land Stewardship Project website also lists CSA farms, a video that can help consumers learn about CSAs, and mapping of CSA drop sites http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html.