Community Supported Agriculture: What it is, how it works, and why it’s worth considering

Questions to Ask a CSA Farmer

Photos courtesy of Costa Farms

Photos courtesy of Costa Farms

As the number of CSA farms has grown in the region over the years, eaters interested in knowing the faces behind their food have been offered more choices than ever before. While this is exciting, increased choice can bring with it some challenges. How do you choose the farm that best fits your needs and is most likely to provide a satisfying experience?

Below are a few questions that should be asked of any farmer you are considering entering into a CSA relationship with. Don’t be shy about asking such questions; a good CSA farmer should be forthcoming with answers. After all, this is about creating a trusting relationship built on good food, good stewardship, and good friendships.

• How many years have you been farming?

• How many seasons have you been doing a CSA?

• Have you ever worked or trained on another CSA farm?

• What vegetables do you plan to provide to shareholders?

• What is the size of a share? Do you offer half shares?

• What is your system for storing and transporting the produce once it is harvested?

• At the drop-off locations, is the produce left in a sheltered area?

• How do you view the CSA notion of shared risk/shared bounty?

• Are farm members welcome on the farm, and what community events are held?

• Is there a farm work requirement?

Ready to CSA shop?

A great place to start is the Land Stewardship Project’s directory of Minnesota and western Wisconsin CSA farms.

Another thing to note is that some CSAs, like Costa Farms, use breweries as drop-off sites. Consider getting in touch with your local taproom to see if they participate, and, if so, with whom.

Editor’s note: The CSAs listed via Land Stewardship Project have paid a fee to the LSP to be included. The LSP is not a certification agency for Community Supported Agriculture farms and does not guarantee customer satisfaction.

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