Food By the Community For the Community
By Jacqui D. Sinarle
If you enjoy eating farm-fresh produce and want to support local growers, consider participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program.
CSA is a popular way for consumers to purchase local, seasonal food directly from farmers. It works like this: A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public (typically a box of vegetables, fruit, or other farm products). Interested consumers purchase a share (known as a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box, bag, or basket of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
CSA beneﬁts local farmers by enabling them to spend time marketing their products early in the year, providing them with payment early in the season which helps with the farm’s cash ﬂow, and giving them the opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
Depending on the particular CSA farmer, consumers may be able to mix and match the items in their boxes of produce. Certain CSA farmers allow shareholders to purchase eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, ﬂowers or other farm products in addition to veggies, and sometimes several farmers offer their products together in partnership.
In most CSAs, members pay up front for the whole season and the farmers do their best to provide an abundant box of produce each week depending on production.
If your interest and tastebuds are piqued by the CSA concept, check out the following CSA farms in Stanislaus County:
Lucky #19 Ranch in Waterford offers members a full farm share box weekly or bi-weekly containing 12 to 15 pounds of fresh picked fruits and vegetables that are naturally grown using an integrated pest management system. Pick-up sites and home delivery are available in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties.
Kline Organic Produce in Waterford provides three separate veggie and fruit sizes allowing consumers to create a box size that works for them, with a selection of veggies and fruit, recipes, and ﬁeld days for customers. Products are certiﬁed organic and grown using an integrated pest management system, with drop-offs in Modesto and Waterford.
Additional CSA farms that advertise pick-up sites in Stanislaus County are located in Gustine and Atwater.
For more farms and details about the CSA program, visit www.localharvest.org/csa.