Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a relationship between you and a local, family farm. You connect directly with a farmer, and every week, your farmer delivers a variety of fresh, nutritious food to convenient locations in your neighborhood. Connect with a farm through CSA, and you get to experience food in new ways – through seasonal eating, new and heirloom varieties, and new recipes and techniques provided by your farmer. You’ll also get to know your farmer and become a part of the life of a farm through farm events, blogs, and newsletters.
Your CSA membership or share is also an investment in your community and sustainable agriculture. CSAs are local, family farms, and the money you spend with your farmer stays in the community. PACSAC farmers grow your food without synthetic pesticides or herbicides, and becoming a CSA member provides support for your farmer’s sustainable practices.
We’ve gotten to know our farmers, Shari and her husband. Their friendship makes our experience more enjoyable. We want to support them. Shari always says it’s important to hug your farmer!
Dancing Roots Farm member
Graphic courtesy of Andrea Moore, From Farm to Table.
CSA is great so where do you start?
If you’re ready to find your farm now, you can:
- Search for your farm through PACSAC’s list of area CSA farms.
- Search for your farm by pick up location.
If not quite ready to find your farm, here are a few things to consider.
Is CSA right for you?
We want you to love your CSA. Are you interested in…
- Cooking – Chef skills are not required, but many vegetables require some preparation and time in the kitchen. Farms will provide recipes and suggestions, especially for items that might be unfamiliar.
- Eating more vegetables – If you already eat your vegetables or want to eat more vegetables, CSA will be a good fit.
- Trying new vegetables – Sorrel, kohlrabi, celeriac anyone? A great benefit of a CSA is the chance to try new vegetables and learn new ways to prepare more familiar vegetables.
How do you find your farm?
Here are some things to think about to help you find the farm that is right for your household.
- Size of the weekly box – Share sizes range greatly. How much food will you eat?
- Length of season – From 18 weeks to 52, different farms offer different options for seasonal eating. A few distribute year round; some only operate in the winter.
- Share distribution days, times and locations – Does the farm drop off shares at a place and time that is easy for you to get to on a weekly basis?
- Experience – Some farmers have more than twenty years of experience and some are just getting started. Joining a new farm will most likely be a rewarding experience, but all CSA memberships come with the risk that goes along with the unpredictable nature of farming.
- Add-ons – For additional cost, some farms offer eggs, meat, flowers, coffee, honey, ice cream or other items.
- Growing practices – Some farms are certified organic, some use sustainable growing methods but don’t choose to certify.
The quality of our CSA produce just cannot compare to a grocery store. I’m always astounded by the flavor of the food in our share. It’s so fresh!
Our Table Cooperative member
Have questions? You can email, call or visit CSAs farms. You can also ask to speak with existing CSA members to get a sense of what their experiences have been. Farms are busy places. Always contact a farm first to ask about visiting.
About CSAs and Risk
Weather, pests and disease can all have negative effects on farming, and as a CSA member you will share in some of the risks farmers face in their jobs. The diversity of CSA farms means that even if one crop fails, there is often something else that can take the place of that item in the share. In more than twenty years of CSA in the greater Portland area, only three farms have failed during the growing season. PACSAC cannot guarantee any farm or the amount of produce from CSA farms. We strive to educate about both the rewards and risks of CSA membership so that you can make informed decisions.
Everyone should do CSA. Just try it. Once you do, you will love it.
Our Table Cooperative member