What is a CSA?


As most of you know, I have teamed up with Roots and Shoots Farm for this season’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Throughout the season, I will post updates about what we receive, recipe suggestions, and tips and tricks to get the most out of your CSA. To find a CSA in your area, simply search the Internet for “CSA” + your city.

Spring is quickly approaching and our minds drift to warmer temperatures and outdoor activities.

For me, it also gravitates to fresh food begging to be eaten outside in the warm summer sun.

Our options for gathering fresh food usually consist of:

  • Growing our own
  • Purchasing at the farmer’s market
  • Purchasing at the grocery store

But wait, there is yet another option: Subscribing to a CSA!

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture in the National Capital Region from Dawghaus Studios on Vimeo.

What is a CSA

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”.

In a nutshell, consumers buy “shares” in a local farm. These shares are basically a subscription to participate in a growing season.

  • A share is bought from a farmer that offers a CSA
  • Throughout the growing season, the farmer delivers harvested crops to the share holders

CSAs are available around the world, and have become quite popular.

It used to be that CSAs just focused on vegetable crops. Now, consumers can purchase shares from farmers growing:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • meat
  • dairy products

Many farmers offer more than one CSA. For example, you can purchase a share in a vegetable CSA and a fruit CSA from the same farmer.

What are the Rules?

Every CSA farmer makes their own rules.

  • Some deliver crops weekly or bi-weekly.
  • Some require full payment up front before the growing season starts, while others will provide payment plans spread out throughout the season.
  • Many provide early-bird sales when signing up in February or March.
  • Some provide home delivery, while others drop boxes off at specific locations where customers come to pick them up.
  • Some CSA farmers offer newsletters or workshops at the farm teaching how to cook or preserve their shares.

What the Heck is That?

One thing that many customers love about CSAs is the surprises they find in each delivery. Sometimes they discover a vegetable that they have never seen or heard of before. Finding them in their CSA box pushes them to research and try these new foods.

If you have food allergies, check to see if the CSA you are interested in allows for customers to opt out of receiving certain foods.

Watch Our Adventure!

This is our second year participating in a CSA. We will take pictures of each or our deliveries throughout the summer and show what we did with them.

Here are the details of our CSA:

  • We have joined Roots and Shoots farm in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • We have opted for weekly deliveries that we pick up
  • We are joining the vegetable CSA

We hope you join us and watch our food adventure.

If you are interested in joining a CSA, simply do an Internet search with “CSA” and your area. This will show you all the local options.

Have you ever participated in a CSA? Let us know what you liked, or didn’t like about it, and any lessons you learned.

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