2016 CSA Directory
CSAs provide consumers a unique relationship with their food and the farmers who produce it. Much like a subscription to a newspaper, most CSAs are paid for up-front by their members, and in return the members receives a share of fresh food from the farm each week. The share contents are determined each week by the farmer and may be comprised of a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruit, meat, cheese, or value-added goods such as jams, pickles, and baked goods. Depending on the program, the share may be delivered directly to members’ homes, or are held at designated pick-up locations like farmers markets.
The intimate nature of the relationship between farmer and share member is what draws many individuals and families to participate in CSAs. Crops are often carefully selected, grown, and harvested specifically with the members in mind. Farmers enjoy introducing members to new varieties and flavors not found in mainstream grocery stores. The foods in the shares are generally harvested and prepared the same day members receive them, which ensures the produce is of the highest quality and freshness. Moreover, members develop a better understanding of and appreciation for how their food is grown, and the process it takes to arrive at their table.
Farmers benefit by having a committed, secure customer base, and a significant influx of income at the beginning of the growing season. This helps to recoup the cost of seeds, materials, and equipment repairs paid during the winter months. With little produce to be harvested during the winter, income streams dwindle and, thankfully, early spring CSA payments come at a time when the need is often greatest. Farmers also enjoy a level of freedom by operating CSAs, because they are delightfully customizable in terms of cost, duration, share size, farm goods offered, and delivery method. Additionally, a pre-sold CSA season makes business slightly easier and more reliable to sustain since farmers are not completely at the mercy of market volatility, though nature is still a fickle beast.
If you are looking for a CSA to join this year, Grow Chattanooga is offering a free resource guide to help you find the best CSA to fit your budget, schedule, and culinary preferences.
For more information, call 423-493-9155 or email email@example.com