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CSAs rising to the coronavirus occasion

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, may have been around for decades. Thanks to the coronavirus, they are enjoying a surge in popularity.

Introduced in Europe, CSAs  allow consumers to buy directly from farmers. In many respects it’s a quaint and sensible system that has taken on more significance in this time of the coronavirus when control over what you eat and where you get it is so important. 

csa-goetz.png“Community supported agriculture in these upside-down times is more like agriculture supporting community,” said Walt Gajewski, Farmington’s market manager. “This is just another way that farmers markets are naturally relevant.”

Here are the basics: A farmer offers a certain number of shares for the public to buy. Typically the share — or membership or subscription —consists of a weekly box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers buy shares usually for the summer or half the summer and in return receive seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

It's a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs over the last few years. In some areas of the country, demand exceeds the number CSA farms. LocalHarvest, the country’s leading local food website, has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with more than 4,000 listed in its database.

Many of the farmers who come to the Farmington Farmers Market offer various versions of CSAs. Even though it’s late in the season to be signing up – Great Lakes Permadypnamics is full for the summer, as is Kapnick Orchards – we thought it would be worth it to offer information so you can find in a program that’s still open or make plans for next year. 

Beaverland Farms in Detroit is offering three choices in their program, which began June 6. They are a Farm Box, Fresh Box and Sampler Box. The Farm Box, which offers the greatest variety, and the Fresh Box require a commitment from June 6 to August 29. You sign up for the season on line and pick up your box each Saturday at the Farmington Market. The Sample Box, like its name indicates, includes items from the Farm or Fresh boxes and will be sold weekly for the next few weeks. For more information, go to: https://squareup.com/store/beaverland-farms-farmington/

Fusilier Family Farms’ CSA program began June 1, but Kathy Fusilier says to talk to her at the market about joining late. Each week members receive a basket of fresh, premium, all-natural produce each week through October. The season is 22 weeks from June 1 through October.  For more information visit: http://fusilierfamilyfarms.com/content/6506

The Goetz Greenhouse and Family Farm has been offering CSAs since 2012. They come in two sizes — full shares are delivered to the market every week and half shares every other week. Shares include a diverse selection of at least five items a week. The farm is currently accepting CSA applications for delivery from July to October. For more information, go to: https://www.sites.google.com/site/goetzgreenhouse/csa---community-supported-agriculture

Lake Divide Farm, which is new to the market this year, offers a different plan. Instead of buying a share, members open an account with the farm by prepaying according to one of five different options. And instead of receiving a box of pre-determined produce, members pick out what they want at the market. For more information, visit https://www.lakedividefarm.com/market-csa-membership.html

Even though For more information on Kapnick Orchards’ all-fruit CSA, go to http://www.kapnickorchards.com/csa.html. For more on Great Lakes Permadynamics, sign up for its newsletter at https://www.permadynamics.org/newsletter.