Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Looking Ahead - A New Kind of CSA

Although I grow a majority of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy throughout the year, there are always some things that I just don't bother with in our relatively small garden - often because they are things better grown by the wonderful farm families that surround us here in rural Virginia Beach. I buy these fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm stands that run from Stoney's Produce, right on First Colonial Road all the way down Princess Anne Road to our neighborhood.  Two of my favorites are strawberries and sweet corn, both fabulous fresh eats that are grown abundantly by our local farms. This brings me to the concept of joining a CSA for the season.
CSA represents Community Supported Agriculture. In a CSA program, families and individuals can purchase up front a "share" of a farm's production for the season. You sign on to support your chosen farm whether it is a good season or a bad season, sharing whatever is being harvested in a given week.  Luckily, our local farmers are excellent and, barring hurricanes, they seem to always have abundant harvests for their customers.  A CSA program provides funding up front in the early spring when farmers have to purchase supplies to get the farm into gear for the season. It also provides great local fresh food to you at a substantial discount - CSAs are always a good buy for your budget!

In the past, I've held off on joining a CSA because I wasn't sure how much produce a two-person household, especially one with vegetable and fruit production of its own, could really use. I didn't want to waste a basket of beautifully grown produce! Now one of our local farms has come up with a program tailor made for us smaller households.  In addition to their regular "basket a week" CSA program, Vaughan Farms has started a new Credit CSA Program. Vaughan Farms 2010 CSA Programs

With this program, I'm signing up in advance to get $10 worth of credit at Vaughan's farm each week for 16 weeks. Cost to me: $109.60.  Savings? Wow!  I can use my "credit" for anything that's in season at the farm that week - strawberries, spring and summer vegetables, fresh eggs.... what a feast!!! And if I'm out of town or don't get over to spend my all of my weekly credit, they will provide fresh produce from the farm to a local charity in whatever amount has not been spent.  Everyone wins!

Word to the wise - as with all CSA programs in our area - sign up FAST. The openings are limited and there is always more demand than the farms can supply.

2 comments:

  1. If you got the early version of this post, it said 19 weeks of CSA at Vaughan's Farm - my upside down typo! The season is 16 weeks - a savings of $50 to each CSA member family over the season!

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  2. Sybil, thank you for blogging about our CSA programs! Vaughan Farms' Produce is so very excited about our upcoming season, and especially about our Credit Share program. As you mentioned, this is customer friendly, and economical. Think about this, if you spend more than $10 per week on produce, you could buy 2 or more shares and then save $100 or more this summer on your veggies! Keep in mind, our Credit Share is good on ANYTHING for sale by Vaughan Farms' Produce, including u-pick! (For you legally minded folks, I wanted to say the Share would cover everything, but I know my kids want to have a lemonaide stand on the weekends to support the American Red Crosses' effort in Haiti, and I want them to get the money directly, so don't want to leave that open for confusion! But for the most part, everything is included.)
    We are all about being good stewards of our gifts, so if you think our programs might be of interest to you, let us help you figure out how we can best do that together. After our kids, you are our most important crop!
    Jen Vaughan
    Vaughan Farms Produce

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The sharing of ideas, experience and helpful information between one gardener and another has always been the very best of gardening traditions.