We just wanted to share why CSAs are so valuable to members! If you're unfamiliar with the idea of a community supported agriculture, this may give you some insight to its many benefits!
First, a CSA provides you with the absolute freshest veggies you can find. Most veggies at your supermarket were sent there from all over the world - most often from California, which is over 2,000 miles away from Lancaster, PA (in particular). Those veggies are often picked while still unripe, and artificially ripened using gases before they hit the nearest supermarket floor (which means they haven't had a chance to build up all the nutrients normally found in vine-ripened veggies—not to mention flavor)! By getting your veggies from a local CSA, you are ensuring yourself the most nutrient-rich and most flavorful veggies possible! Before I started a garden, I didn't much care for the taste of most veggies, because I was used to getting them from the supermarket, and they usually just tasted bland or off. Once I started my own personal garden, I quickly fell in love with veggies I never thought I'd enjoy, because they were boosted with fresh flavor!
On top of getting the freshest and most local veggies possible (with more nutrients), you are getting a much wider variety of veggies than our big-agriculture economy is able to provide. There are so many wonderful heirloom veggies out there that people have never even heard of! Red and purple carrots, blue potatoes, pink watermelon radishes, purple and yellow beans, yellow and white and pink tomatoes of various kinds, banana melons, white ice-cream watermelons, the options are limitless! When I discovered all of the amazing varieties of heirloom veggies out there I was amazed at the beauty and taste of each! So many heirloom varieties are being lost today, and so we make it a point to grow some astounding varieties here that we know people will absolutely enjoy once they discover them!
So, now you have the freshest possible, local, completely heirloom (and some very rare) varieties of only organic veggies and fruits and herbs being grown here, and on top of all that, you get them at a price that is cheaper than your local supermarket! How is this possible? Well, when a farmer is able to skip all the middlemen and sell his produce directly to the community, that brings prices way down (especially when they aren't being shipped from one side of the continent to the other)! It frees the farmer from having to haggle with various produce providers and allows them the freedom to focus on what they do best: growing amazing food. A full share of our CSA (and most standard CSAs for that matter) is on average, 10 pounds of food a week (usually less in the beginning of Spring, and usually more around the end of Summer). That's, on average, 230 pounds of food per season, per member. Paying the equivalent for organic produce at a farmer's market or supermarket would cost up to $300 more per season than a CSA share (which is $515).
The only reservation about switching to a CSA compared to buying your veggies elsewhere is that you share the risks with the farmer. If there is a drought, everyone suffers, and likewise if there is a surplus, everyone gains. This is one of those unique facets that truly make a community - shared risk. We want to ensure our potential CSA members that we will do everything possible to make sure they are treated fairly if something drastic were to happen. That is one of the reasons we are only taking on 8 full shares this year instead of 10-12 (which is about what we could handle at full capacity). We want there to be plenty of extra room, just in-case!
I hope this helps you understand why becoming a part of a Community Supported Agriculture is so important for building a community, obtaining the most delicious and nutritious veggies possible, and helping our global economy become more local and sustainable all at the same time! We hope you'll partner with us!
- Jarrod & Kendra