All winter I have been treasuring the flavors of â€œmyâ€ local farm.Â 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. Â 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 couldnâ€™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! Itâ€™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. Â 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 CSAâ€™s operating in the Upper Valley. Many of these farms use lands that UVLT has conserved â€“ 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 Farmâ€™s guide.Â And look for UVLT at Flavors of the Valley, the 13th annual celebration of local foods in the Upper Valley.