If you’ve lived in Oregon for any amount of time, chances are you have heard the acronym ‘CSA’. Do you know what it means entirely? I consider myself pretty well versed in most things food and nutrition, but I didn’t quite understand what a CSA was until, well, I decided to join one.
Participants in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program pay farmers at the beginning of the season or in monthly installments throughout the growing season in exchange for fresh produce and/or dairy, eggs and meat. This is a benefit to the farmer because it helps them defray the high capital costs that occur every spring (which is why you will find that the earlier and the more money you prepay, the deeper your overall discount).
I found a program that had more options regarding pay schedule. I was apprehensive to pay such a big portion of my grocery budget at the beginning of the season, so I found Living Earth Farm, which allows me to pre-pay monthly for one dozen eggs and $20 worth of produce each week. When I commit to that amount, I get a 10% discount. On Wednesdays, the farmer Sharon Blick posts what she has available from their crops and you pick your produce online until it totals around $20. I pick it up at the farm directly on Fridays, although she has a few sites throughout town where you can pick up on Tuesdays. Sharon is incredibly organized, personable and very quick to follow up with my myriad questions.
So far my family has been able to enjoy their eggs, which yes, truly do taste different than the ones you pick up at the grocery store. Fresh, bright orange yolks have been a special treat we look forward to each morning! Sharon’s produce is beautiful. Each Friday, I open the gate at her home/farm and find my way to the outdoor mini fridge. Sharon and her husband, Jim, have both popped their heads out to say “hello.” Inside the fridge there are cartons of eggs, raw dairy, and bags of produce labeled individually for each customer. On top of the fridge are buckets of water full of bright green stems of chard, kale, and herbs and green pint boxes of freshly picked raspberries, currants and jostaberries. In good faith, you pick up the products you pre-ordered and add them to your simple summer menu plan when you get home. We have really enjoyed this partnership.
There is a lot more to say about Living Earth Farm and their accomplishments. Learn more here. For more resources, visit the Lane County CSA Program page.
Have you participated in a CSA program? What did you think?
Christy Rice is a mom to two great boys. They love to explore all that Lane County has to offer & share their adventures with GoMomGo.