What’s great about joining a CSA is that not only do you get some of the freshest veg available, but you also have the opportunity to really get to know the story behind your food. And there’s the potential to skip some lineups! (some CSA’s deliver)
The thing that sets CSA’s apart from programs like Mama Earth Organics is that CSA’s are (almost always) farmer run. . . in other words, you’re buying directly from the farmer who grew most or all of the products they’re selling. Because some farms also call their CSA program a Veggie Box Program or ‘Feed Bag’, I’ll be using those terms interchangeably. But in this context, I’m specifically talking about farmer run programs.
So how does this thing work?
When you join a CSA, you generally pay an upfront fee. Most CSA’s open registration in Jan-March, but some open as early as November of the previous year. When the growing season starts in May or June, you’ll get a regular share of veggies (and sometimes fruit) from the farm until the end of the season. Usually it’s a weekly or biweekly box of veggies or fruit. In Ontario, most CSA’s start in May/June and end in September or October. Some farms also have early spring or fall/winter programs.
Think you might want to join a CSA program next spring so that you, too can get your hands on some really fresh veg and know the story behind your food?
Well, you might want to start looking right now. . .
1. Most CSA’s/Veggie Box Programs Have a Waitinglist
Especially this year with the increased demand for locally grown food, and lineups at grocery stores. The sooner you get on that waiting list, the better your chances of actually landing a space in the program of your choice.
That being said, don’t just assume that because there is a long waitinglist, you won’t be able to get a space. The truth is, a lot of people on that waitlist likely won’t actually claim their space if/when a new one opens up. In addition, while some farms keep their Veggie Box Program/CSA the same size every year, others (like us) open more spaces to meet demand. So even if there is a waitlist, if you get your name on it now, you stand a pretty good chance of getting a space.
2. You’ll have time to find a good fit
There are so many different types of CSA/Veggie box program out there. Some offer delivery to your door, some have fruit options, some have farm days, some require members to help out on the farm, some have payment plans, some don’t. . . and the list goes on. If you start looking for a CSA/Veggie Box program right now for Spring 2021, you’ll have much more time to find the one that’s going to fit your needs the best, AND get on that waitinglist on time to have a good chance of actually landing a space.
Nothing is worse than finding the program that looks like it would be a great fit- only to discover that you won’t be able to get a space!
3. You’ll have a chance to learn about the farm
Once you’ve found the farm that you want to join, you’ll likely want to learn a bit more about them. Most CSA farms have a newsletter of some form, so it’s a great idea to get on their mailing list so that you can get more of an ‘inside track’ on what’s happening, and how they do things. Definitely check out their facebook page/ instagram as well, if they have it. And contact them with any questions you might have.
If they run a fall/winter program, see if they offer sample boxes- it’s a great way to try their veggies before making a large commitment.
Or visit their stand at a farmers market- word of advice- check with them to make sure they’re still going! Sometimes websites don’t get updated. . .
Ready to start checking out CSA’s/ Veggie Box Programs for next year? Check out our blog post on finding a CSA