CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it is a way for people to get great, fresh, local food that is grown in a sustainable way. CSA’s started in the U.S. in the 1980s and have grown in popularity since then. CSA’s are found all over the U.S., but we here in Wisconsin are blessed with great cropland and a summer growing season that provides great diversity in what plants can be grown.
The CSA format is fairly simple; we (the farm) sell “shares” of our produce. The members (that’s potentially you) buy a share for a set price and in return we provide you with fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables every week for the length of the growing season.This format works really great because it allows you to know exactly how, where, and by whom your wonderful produce is grown. In addition, the farmer is able to have the cash flow up front in the beginning of the year when we need it the most, and it gives us a steady market to supply.
The benefits of a CSA do not stop there, it is also a way of risk sharing. The risk is no longer completely taken by one individual but is shared by everyone who has purchased a share that particular year. Because many people share the risk, the risk to any one person is low. This way of farming also allows the farmer to pay better attention to the land they grow on and its surrounding environment. This is because our main goal is not to get the highest yields; it is to produce food for our members in a healthy and environmentally sustainable way. Each CSA essentially becomes its own community with the social interaction among members and farmers. We invite you to become a part of this community in a growing trend to support local, sustainably grown food.
One of the most important things to know if you are thinking of joining a CSA is that the variety of vegetables will change with the season. It is not like going to a grocery store where all of your typical vegetables are found all year round. Since we live in Wisconsin what is ready to eat in June is a lot different than what is ready to eat in August.
Early in the season available produce includes radishes, strawberries and a lot of fresh greens. Examples are lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, beet greens, etc. In the middle of the season we have peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers and other warmer season crops. Late season produce includes long season crops like Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, pumpkins, onions, leeks, etc. as well as a return of all of the cool season crops like lettuce and radishes. Our farm does our best to provide you with recipes and other information so that you can enjoy your vegetables, even some that are completely new to you. It really is a culinary adventure!