Is CSA right for me?

CSA—which stands for Community Supported Agriculture—is just one way you can access authentic, quality food and support local farmers. 

The reality is that CSA is not a good fit for everyone, and you shouldn’t feel bad if it’s not a match for you. The CSA customers who come back year after year are a “certain kind” of customer. Not a “better customer”—just a certain kind—the kind that matches the unique format of a CSA model.

So how do you decide if our CSA would be right for you? It’s best to go into the decision with your eyes wide open and see if your expectations match the experience that a CSA will give you. Reflecting on these seven questions will help you decide if it would be a good fit:

1. Is the relationship to the actual farmer important to you? (Do you want to support a farmer?) 

There’s something rewarding about knowing you’re doing your part to support a local farmer—call it satisfying your “food conscience.” CSA is a powerful way to access great-tasting food, knowing there’s a real farm family’s livelihood depending on it.

Joining a CSA means committing to a farmer through an entire season, through thick and thin. There’s an understanding that there are risks involved—too much sun, rain, bugs, or disease may impact certain crops. On the flip side, you might enjoy a bumper crop.

CSA members embrace this reality, supporting the farm as much for the farmer’s well-being as for the financial value of their share. And this relationship goes both ways—we strive to connect with you, teaching you about your food’s story and how to prepare it, through regular updates and farm visit opportunities.

2. Do you value having quality vegetable ingredients that actually taste good?

Tasteless, limp veggies that turn to slime in your fridge—nobody wants that. If you value great-tasting, high-quality ingredients, CSA is for you. Taste matters because a terrific meal starts with the ingredients. In fact, CSAs often create food snobs, because customers finally experience how a carrot should really taste, and they cannot go back to the watered-down version from the grocery store.

If you love cooking and value taste, you’ll love being in a CSA. It’s about providing high-quality vegetables that make your home dining experience an event. If you’re just looking for the cheapest celery and carrot, CSA might not be your gig.

3. Are you willing to try new foods? (Really?)

CSAs will push you to explore new foods and variety in your kitchen. You’ll discover new veggies you love and others you’ll learn to love. It’s all part of developing food diversity and teaching communities to eat seasonally. If you want to grow in the kitchen, trying new ingredients is essential, and we’ll help you along the way.

4. Do you need control in your menu planning?

CSA members need to be flexible with their menus since you often don’t know what’s in your box until just before pick-up. Some love this spontaneity, while others find it stressful. Consider if you’re willing to give up control over what’s in your box. If sticking to a plan is crucial, you might prefer supporting local farms through grocery stores or farmers’ markets.

CSA works best for those who see their kitchen as a creative space and are willing to experiment with new ingredients.

5. Are you willing to work at eating “the CSA way”?

CSA is a different model, and it may take a few seasons to master using everything in your box. Expect some food waste initially as you learn. Embrace the adventure and go easy on yourself. We’ll share recipes, tips, and tricks throughout the season to help you succeed.

6. Are you looking for a “deal” or comparing CSA prices to the grocery store?

People who fully embrace the CSA model don’t look for their membership to be a “deal” or a bargain. And they don’t compare the CSA experience to the grocery store price table. Read that again. This is a really key point. It is absolutely understandable to ask, “How much does it cost?” and to then weigh the pros and cons.

Our vegetables have added value because they tell a story—of how they were raised, harvested, and the farmer’s journey. CSA customers appreciate this added value and are willing to pay for it. If you’re only concerned with cost, you might want to reconsider.

7. Will you be traveling a lot during the season?

Our winter CSA is 10 boxes. If you know you’ll miss more than one box, consider if it’s the right fit. We pro-rate for one absence if notified before registration, but we don’t credit missed weeks or hold boxes after the pick-up window. Missing multiple pick-ups might not make financial sense.

So, what do you think? Is CSA a good fit for you?

CSA is one model for getting farm-fresh food. For those who value the story, journey, and relationship behind the food, it can change the way you eat forever. Ensure your expectations align with the CSA philosophy before you commit.

Ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details of joining our CSA? Read our membership agreement here.

Adapted from Shared Legacy Farms

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