In the late winter of 2008, I read on a green blog (Nature Moms) I frequent about community supported agriculture (CSA) and thought, “HEY! Why are we NOT doing that? Certainly there is a CSA we can join?!?” I searched through a website called Local Harvest and found a CSA that I thought would work wonderfully for my family, so I sent an email with my fingers crossed that there would be space available. Lucky us! There was and my love affair with a local CSA began. The locals among you might be wonder who? We use Emily and Mike’s Three Springs Farm.
Is anyone wondering how a CSA works? I have found that there are several different types. In all, you pay the farmer a certain amount up front, and then it is different for various types. For some, you receive a “basket” (box, bag, whatever) of food each week (or twice a week). You might not know or want everything, but each basket is the same and produce is split among the members. In some cases, you can order different sizes or buy more shares to cover the size of your family.
In the case of Three Springs Farm, we pay in a certain amount in the late winter. We get to chose from three different sizes/amounts. Because we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, we tend to pay the higher of the amounts (around $300 if I remember correctly). Then we go to the Cherry Street (Saturdays) or Brookside (Wednesdays) Farmer’s Markets and pick out exactly what we want. If I want 20 watermelons (ha ha), I can have 20 watermelons. If I want five bags of spinach, I get five bags of spinach. Well, as long as there are bags on the table. Three Springs Farm overwintered some lettuce and spinach this past year, so we were able to start “collecting” on our share in March!
On the other hand, if you have time to go out to a local farm, you can “pick your own” fruits and sometimes vegetables. This is especially popular near Tulsa for berries and peaches. If picking and farmer’s market are not your thing, co-ops exist where you can go pick up your bag or box of produce for the week. In some cases, they deliver directly to you. Some co-ops are a collection of local farmers, while some bring items in through a distributor, so if you want local, be sure to ask!
Do you participate in CSA? Do you look at where your produce is coming from when you purchase it in a store?