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What is a CSA?

August 31, 2012

Here in Huntington we are so lucky to have the Wild Ramp Market where local farmers bring fresh farm products to an year-round indoor shop that is open convenient hours for consumers. Prior to the Wild Ramp Market’s opening in June, however, the availability of similar fresh produce was limited. We found a CSA to join last winter and enjoyed our weekly box.

Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

 Advantages for farmers:

  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their long days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

Advantages for consumers:

  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
  • Help reduce the carbon footprint because of a shorter distance to transport the food than the typical food found in the supermarket and
  • support the local economy!

    Our box one week in March delivered to our door from Fish Hawk Acres

It’s a simple enough idea, and its impact has been profound. Across the country, tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs. If this idea appeals to you and you do not have a year-round market available like the Wild Ramp, a list of local CSAs is available on WVfarm2u and on LocalHarvest .

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2012 7:55 pm

    I’m on my 3rd year with our local CSA and loving it.

  2. Nancy Griffith permalink
    September 1, 2012 11:45 am

    Is the wild ramp membership a CSA

    Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 13:56:15 +0000 To:

    • September 1, 2012 11:56 am

      No, no membership is required to shop at The Wild Ramp. We do offer a “Friends of the Market” membership, however, that offers a number of perks. Besides the shiopping totes made from feed bags, one of the many other perks that many people are starting to take advantage of is to call early int he day, see what is new to the market and ask for some to be put aside for them. This assures them, no matter what time they make it in, that they have some of that item which may sell out. A member can also special order something. I have asked one of our producers for duck and received an email yesterday to confirm as she is processing today.
      But no, not a CSA. A shopper comes in and buys only what they want, not a prepared selection.

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