Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between a farm and a community of responsible consumers. It puts you, “the consumer,” in direct relationship with the production of your food. There are no unknown middlemen. By paying for your produce upfront in the winter and springtime, you become “shareholder” of the farm’s yearly harvest. And each week during the growing season, you receive a portion of your share.
We, “the farmer,” also benefit by receiving payments at the beginning of the season, when we need them most, to buy seeds and supplies to produce the food. This reduces the interest costs of loans to begin the season. The CSA partnership is good for you, good for the farm, and good for the earth.
How our CSA works
How our CSA works? Knowing how many shareholders we must provide for, Farmer Dave’s plants a wide variety of vegetables in successive plantings to ensure an extended harvest. By growing a range of crops that prefer and withstand different weather conditions, Farmer Dave’s ensures that the harvest will provide abundant flavors and colors for a full season. Common favorites include heirloom tomatoes, many types of lettuce, and sweet corn. Lesser known favorites include brussel sprouts, kousa squash, and rosita eggplant.
On the day of the CSA distribution, all the different crops ready for picking that week are harvested in the morning before the peak heat of the day. The items are gently rinsed, arranged in crates and brought to the distribution site. Each week we send out an email newsletter so the member can know what they are getting in their share.
The “Choice-Style” vegetable share is available at our CSA pickup sites in Burlington, Lawrence, Dracut, Tewksbury, Reading, and East Somerville. Members are greeted by a CSA site volunteer, where they check in, but instead of dropping off and picking up a crate or box, members bring their own bags to transport their shares. Members then proceed to our line up of vegetables where all the week’s produce is set up like a farmers market in rows of big green crates. Above each crate is a sign telling members how many of each item to take. For some of the vegetables, members will have a choice between two or more items. The signs will denote which vegetables to choose from and how many total items you are allowed to take. It’s up to you the combination of vegetables you want to take home. You can’t get more direct, fresh produce unless you grew it yourself (which we also encourage)! You can check out this video to see our “Choose Your Own” style of CSA in action!
Members can still opt to have their vegetable shares boxed up for quick pickup. Pre-boxed vegetable shares are available at all of our pick-up locations. We want to provide a pickup option that works for as many of our members as possible.
In addition to our vegetable shares, we offer fruit shares, spring shares, late fall shares. We occasionally offer beef shares on a very limited basis.
Specialty items, such as cider, coffee, extra produce, honey, and maple syrup are often available for members to add on to their shares.
Why Join Farmer Dave’s CSA?
- The Food: You get delicious, healthy produce the whole season long – We’re growing over 100 varieties!
- It’s Locally Grown: All of the vegetables that come in your CSA share are grown on our farm!
- Seasonal Eating: Connect to the local agricultural cycle by eating what is in season.
- It’s Convenient: We have CSA pickup locations in several communities in the area.
- Your Carbon Footprint: Your produce is traveling far less than grocery store produce, which travels an average of 1500 miles! (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)
- The Environment: We are committed to growing produce sustainably and keeping the farmland ecosystem healthy
- The Farmland: “America is losing 1.2 million acres of farmland annually.” (American Farmland Trust) By investing in a CSA, you are investing in preserving our local farmland.
- The Economy: Farmer Dave’s provides many jobs and recycles money locally by purchasing supplies from local businesses.
- Hunger Relief and Food Justice: Over the past 10 years, Farmer Dave has donated well over 100,000 pounds of produce to area food banks and pantries including The Open Door, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Catholic Charities Food Pantry of the Merrimack Valley, and Lazarus House of Lawrence.
- Saves money: To buy the same quality product received in the CSA, you would have to spend 20-50% more money than the cost of the share.
- Why not!