Monday, October 1, 2012

Join us at the CSA Fair this Sunday!

Community Supported Agriculture is more than a sustainable food movement buzzword, it is increasingly the distribution method that farms in Connecticut are using.  Community Supported Agriculture, or a CSA, is an opportunity for consumers to invest directly in their local farmers with an upfront membership fee, and then to receive shares of the harvest for an extended period of time.  There are over 60 CSAs throughout Connecticut, giving Connecticut consumers a wonderful opportunity to support local agriculture.  The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA)’s new CSA Project strives to help you find the right CSA for you.
 
CT NOFA will be hosting a CSA Fair at the Downtown Country Fair at the Willimantic Food Coop on October 7.  Visit the CT NOFA table at the fair to receive more information about CSAs and for a list of the CSA farmers at the fair.  Meet the participating CSA farmers and talk to them about their farm and what their shareholders receive. Some of the farmers will be selling produce at the fair, this way you can try before you buy a share.
 
Our current list of participating farms is:Down to Earth CSA in Stafford
Shundahai Farm in Mansfield
Brown Paper Bag Harry's in North Franklin
Spring Lake Gardens in Sterling
McV Farm in Canterbury
Raspberry Knoll Farm in North Windham
 
There are a number of benefits for a CSA member.  Members usually pick up their shares at the farm where to food is produced, which provides an opportunity for children to learn about agriculture and where food comes from.  Members build a relationship with their farmer, and are not only customers, but are shareholders investing directly in local farmers. Each CSA offers different flexibility in terms of share size, pick-up frequency, season length, and products in the share.  If a share might be too much food as it might be for an individual or couple, ask your farmer if they offer half shares.  If there are only full shares, ask friends and neighbors if they would like to split a share and divide the food pick-up responsibilities.  If you receive foods you are unaccustomed to, your farmer will probably have cooking recommendations and recipes; they love good food as much as their members!
 
For a full listing of the CSAs in your area, visit www.ctnofa.org/CSAs.htm and view the listings by county.  The time to buy CSA shares is generally late winter or early spring before the growing season. Winter is the time to think about which CSA you would like to join, and initially contact a farmer to ask about their deadlines.  Keep an eye out for CT NOFA’s upcoming CSA Fairs in winter of 2013.  This rogram is supported by a grant from the USDA's Specialty Crops Funding distributed by the Conneticut Department of Agriculture. 

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