Sunday, February 10, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture.

It is that time of year. Planning the garden, drooling over seed catalogs, reading gardening books, and sketching out options.

Every January or February I also start to look forward to CSA time. The fresh produce, visiting the farm to pick up our weekly box, having organic food freshly picked from healthy soil, grown by farmers who use sustainable practices and who care for the land.

Having the boys participate in what we can grow in our own small (tiny?) yard is wonderful, and they can help with the process from seed to seed. I also love that they can see where food comes from in the bigger picture with our CSA...hoophouses, fields and human hands. Not to mention the breadth of variety we can expect from our share each week.

Here are some resources - both local and national (and even international CSA search link) - for those of you who want to find out more about CSA's!

Community Supported Agriculture - Info & Find a Farm:


Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

Wisconson Farm Fresh Atlas


Local Harvest

Locate a CSA Farm (+international listings)


Sharing the harvest : a citizen's guide to Community Supported Agriculture - by Elizabeth Henderson

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven : the Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food - by Joel Salatin

About Community Supported Agriculture:

What is a CSA?

What is Community Supported Agriculture and How Does It Work?

And if you are in my area, you might find some of these wonderful resources interesting - classes about sustainability, organic farming, gardening, and preserving the harvest (N IL/S WI):


dawn klinge said...

I love the idea of CSA and I'm glad you wrote about it or I might have forgotten about a meeting I'm going to tomorrow night to find out about local food sources- I'm hoping there is a CSA I can sign up for there.

saskia said...

one thing really cool about where I live, is almost everyone gardens, and shares. we are looking forward to a big garden this year

Ayla said...

i love our local csa! my partner and i went way overboard on our seed ordering this year because we gained access to so much more land to grow on. we're sprouting the basil and tomato seeds right now :) i'm drooling.....

Maria said...

It's hard to think of spring with a snow storm outside, but this gives me hope. A garden. A Farmers Market...sigh...

Anonymous said...

What a public service. I've followed the links and found my CSA.

Lizz said...

Right up my DIRT alley! I can't wait for Spring!!

World Wide Alternative said...

Brilliant post, so interesting.
I can't wait to get back home & see what our options will be...Xxx

Tara said...

I am putting this on my to do list - find a CSA! We will be moving in a few months to our very own 10 acres in central Maine. I am sure we will be too busy for our own garden this year, perhaps some herbs and potted tomatoes. A CSA will definitely come in handy!

Beo said...

CSA's rock. We did a "work share" (5 hours work/wk instead of paying) at Stella Gardens 4 years ago and the expierience was the main catalyst for my dreams of becoming a market grower.

Watching our little 'uns (then 1 and 3) pull weeds and eat carrots right out of the ground changed me -and them!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Thanks for the links. All last summer and fall, I was drooling over your weekly boxes. We're hoping to join this year and have that kind of fun, too.

jessamyn said...

thank you for the link love! i am really interested in this and love to find new resources.
these pictures are just beautiful...and delicious!
i have just stumbled upon your blog as of late...enjoyoing my visits!

Nikki said...


To which CSA do you belong? I did some research last year, before we moved here but ultimately decided that we would go to the farmer's market for our first summer. Now I have to decide on a CSA. I'm going to go to the open house at Olbrich but would love some input...


denise said...

Nikki-We have our CSA through JenEhr. We live on the far east side and one of the pickup locations available is at their farm, so that is just what we wanted. They also have a few U-Picks throughout the year, and spring greens and fall storage share options, among other things.

When we lived on the far west side we used Vermont Valley which we liked a lot. They have many pickup locations throughout Madison and they have family events and U-Picks out at the farm throughout the season - corn boil, tomato pick, pesto pick, etc. They also had share add-ons such as fruit, cheese, and eggs.

There are a lot of wonderful farms in the area - we are lucky to have so many to choose from! I think in the end it depends on where you want/need to pick up, what type of U-Pick and special events you are looking for (and how far you are willing to travel for those), and what kind of additional share options you hope to have!


Lisa Zahn said...

What a wonderful post! I will post something similar on my blog, as this is such important info. and I believe my readers could really use it too.

We did a CSA a couple years ago and loved it, but the farm is an hour from the house and pick-up was not there but in our town. Convenient yes, but not as much of an "experience" with the farm as I wanted.

So last year, we decided to shop the farmer's market instead, which is just a few blocks from our house. At the market, we get only what we want and in the quantities we want (less adventurous, yes, but also more realistic). We also get to meet the farmers firsthand. I like doing it this way very much, though I'm torn because I also love the CSA idea of investing in the farmer/farm for the year.

For milk and chickens, we go directly to a couple of farms just 8-10 miles from our house (and we live in the middle of a small city!). We're lucky to have farms that close, and I love that my kids and DH and I get such a direct experience with the place and people our food is coming from.

It's great that there are so many options to so many of us these days, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

thanks for this post! you reminded me that I wanted to look into getting a share in a csa, and we just purchased one! I'm so excited for June to come!

piscesgrrl said...

I think I'm back in the gardening mood after taking last summer off. Actually, I still grew all the usual stuff, but my heart wasn't in it and I had the weeds to show for it.

Have you been to Inn Serendipity? Lisa is a friend of mine - a friend I never see, despite our constant attempts.

Thought of you the other day - a friend and I popped up to Madison to see my doctor and went down to the square for lunch. My brother suggested Harvest, but it was closed. He also recommended Le Fleur but it was a bit more pricey than we wanted for lunch. So went to the place in between the two - and do you think I can remember the name? They had a delightful grilled veggie sandwich and a fantastic house dressing - I should've asked what it was. The waiter offered us shots of whiskey but we opted for hot cocoa instead.

We were there on Monday and it was soooo bloody cold we skipped through the capital bldg to cross the square.

Look at me, typing you an email in your comments section.