All winter I have been treasuring the flavors of “my” local farm. A couple of bundles of carrots, a few turnips and two heads of garlic are all that remains of my 2013 Cedar Circle Farm CSA share. Last fall, when harvest bounty filled our totebags with kale, arugula and red onions, I made quiche to freeze for late-at-work dinners during dark, cold months. When we couldn’t keep up with the tomato share, I froze them whole, to drop in soups and chili. We ate the last of them on Superbowl Sunday.
And the next day our spring sign-up for CSA 2014 arrived in the mail! It’s even better for a busy person than receiving seed catalogs. I envision my summer share of fruit and vegetables, fresh and delicious, already in the works. I imagine little sprouts of spinach and kale; I imagine stopping by the farmstand to stuff my bag with local goodness. I imagine the camaraderie of neighbors and friends who also share in the farm. How good is that?
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. Consumers buy “shares” in a farm’s harvest in advance. Farmers earn important early-season capital and have a guaranteed market for their produce. Barring a disastrous harvest, consumers enjoy overall lower food costs, healthy, field-fresh produce, and access to high-demand fruits and vegetables like strawberries and heirloom tomatoes.
Valley Food and Farm, a program of Vital Communities, lists 34 CSA’s operating in the Upper Valley. Many of these farms use lands that UVLT has conserved – we are proud to be a part of keeping agriculture strong in this region.
To find a CSA near you, or learn about the variety and location of producers in the region, check Valley Food and Farm’s guide. And look for UVLT at Flavors of the Valley, the 13th annual celebration of local foods in the Upper Valley.