CSA & Farm Shares

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ARF Community Supported Agriculture & Farm Shares

What is CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture is more than food, it is a relationship with your farm. CSA brings fresh, local produce directly to you from the hands that harvested it, through the purchase of a “share.” Members purchase a “share” from their farm at the beginning of the year, then during the growing season (June-Oct.) members receive a box of fresh, seasonal produce weekly or bi-weekly. CSA is a partnership, a building of community, between the growers and the eaters, to share in the rewards and risks of the season – bountiful harvests and crop losses alike. The up-front investment made by members provides income early in the year when many costs are incurred for seeds, seed-starting, equipment purchases, etc. for the season ahead. Alternative Roots Farm offers traditional CSA Shares, as well as Farm Shares, Apple Shares, Fall Shares and *new Winter Shares (see below).

CSA :: fresh, seasonal, local, community, shared risk

Video from The Lexicon of Sustainability: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

What's in the box?
Farmers’ choice of 7-14 seasonal items – mainly vegetables, some herbs and fruit (especially apples). A healthy diversity of staple items and possibly some new ones – remember what's uncommon to one member may not be to another! Full shares come each week, while half shares come every other week. A “share” generally feeds a family of 2-4, depending on your cooking habits at home – frequency of fresh cooking, amount of food preservation, juicing, smoothies, etc. A farm newsletter will accompany your produce with helpful information on how to use and store your bounty.

What are the benefits of being a CSA member?
On a personal level, produce is delivered regularly, supporting a healthful diet. Produce is fresh and local, with nutritional quality at its peak – highest nutritional quality means the most bang for you buck. The seasonal commitment can help you maintain a balanced budget and become more adventurous with your cooking! A direct connection with your farmer means you know exactly where your food came from and how it was grown

On a community level, you help nourish economic sustainability by directly supporting the livelihood of small, family business, as well as your local economy.  As a small, local, business we make purchases and investments in other local businesses, for supplies, tools, financial services, etc. Together we contribute to a vibrant community.

On a global level, investing in a local business that is utilizing sustainable and organic practices has many benefits, including:  positive impacts on the environment; a reduction in fossil fuel dependency (reducing your carbon footprint); a reduction in garbage through minimal product packaging; and an effective way to challenge America's current unsustainable food system.

This all translates to a healthier you, and a healthier planet.

Is the food washed & ready?
Our produce is hand-picked, cleaned stored in a walk-in cooler until delivery. Some of the produce will be washed, but some will not because it maintains a better quality until to delivery. For example, new potatoes are spray washed, but storage potatoes are not. It's a good rule of thumb to wash all of your food at home, as you prepare it.

Is a CSA right for you?
If you like to cook, and try new things, CSA is a good fit. If you are adventurous and flexible you're good to go. If you are intent on making healthful life changes, this can support your efforts. If you are a family of picky eaters; you eat out more often than in; or your expectations are for a constant supply of just the right amount of your favorite items then perhaps shopping at the farmers' market, or purchasing a Farm Share (see below) would be more suitable. Becoming a CSA member is a season-long commitment, please make an informed decision.  Sometimes splitting a full share with family, a friend or neighbor is the ideal solution, or a great idea if you are new to CSA and want to try it out.

Farm Shares
Based on the principles of CSA, we created Farm Shares as another “share” option for our members. Members purchase a “share” in the amount of $150 or $200 then reap the bounty of the growing season on a more customized schedule. Rather than receiving a box each week, you pick exactly what you want to buy – using your draw down credit – through custom purchases for Wednesday deliveries, at the Saturday farmers' market, or on farm. For Wednesday deliveries a weekly email is sent out letting members know what is available and at what price.  

Farm Shares are a great way for you to make a commitment to buying healthy, local food, and the benefits are much the same as notes with CSA above. With a Farm Share you don't need to worry about carrying cash for shopping at the market.

Farm Shares are a limited option, they don't always become available each season. Make sure to get on our wait list if the shares are full!