CSA Week 2021 – CSA Round Up
It’s CSA Week! According to research done by Small Farm Central in 2015, the last week of February is the week when most of the nation’s CSA members sign up for their farm share. As a result, this week is now celebrated as the perfect time to sign up for a CSA with your favorite farmer! See a list of CSA’s offered from farmers in the FRESHFARM network below.
But what is a CSA? Modern iterations of Community Supported Agriculture began popping up in the 1960s and 1970s worldwide. In the United States, the current CSA model is generally traced back to Booker T. Whatley, a Black author, horticulturist, and professor at Tuskegee University. Professor Whatley identified 10 commandments he considered essential for successful farming, including the concept of a “Clientele Membership Club.” This system, in which members paid an upfront fee to pick their own produce all season long, enabled farmers to pay for necessary seed and equipment at the beginning of the season without taking out a loan; saved growers time and effort required to harvest produce; and granted club members agency in choosing the food they were eating.
Today, CSA operates very similarly, connecting individuals and local farms in a mutually supportive relationship, wherein customers become members of a farm and receive shares of the seasonal harvest. Farmers are able to rely on assured income, which provides crucial capital early in the season. Both parties benefit from a deeper relationship with their local food system.
During this difficult past year, the pandemic has caused many farmers to pivot and rethink their ways of operating, such as shifting to online ordering. It also increased the demand for direct-from-the-farm fruits and veggies. Earth Spring Farm, located in Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, had taken a break from the challenges of CSA farming to regroup and focus on making their small farm more financially sustainable. “Then the pandemic changed everything,” says CSA Manager Morgan Laubach. “We heard the call to provide safe and reliable access to fresh foods to as many people as possible. So we jumped right back in, and we’re so grateful that we did! Not only did our CSA members help to support our family and farm team through the most uncertain times, but knowing that we had a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of our community gave us a renewed sense of purpose.”
To celebrate CSA Week, we’ve rounded up the farmers in our network who offer CSAs. Don’t miss your chance to sign up for your subscription of fresh, local food, straight from the farm!
- Deep Roots Farm: Deep Roots Farm is a regenerative, Black woman owned & operated farm located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. This year, Farmer Gale will be offering three share sizes, for all seasons or the full year, with pickup available at Dupont and H Street NE markets, as well as home delivery options. Members can expect specialty items grown exclusively for CSA participants! Find out more about upfront payment discounts, delivery or pickup options.
- Dicot Farm: Sign up for a weekly or biweekly share from May to November, available at three MD-based locations.
- Earth Spring Farm: This Uptown market vendor of the past several years has partnered with Harvie Farms to expand their CSA program and offer even more locally sourced, ethically produced groceries in addition to their naturally grown vegetables, eggs, microgreens and flowers.
- The Farm at Our House: USDA-certified organic mixed vegetable farm in its 13th year located in Brookeville, MD. They are offering CSA pickup at their farm, and two Maryland locations. Learn more on YouTube, and sign up today for a half share or full share, including fruit from Three Springs Fruit Farm!
- Liberty Delight Farms: Sign up for their farm share, a monthly box of assorted, delicious meats, available for pickup at the Mosaic market.
- Little Wild Things: Sign up for this DC-based farm’s Salad Share for 10 weeks of seasonal shoots, greens, limited edition salad blends and special treats from local chefs and fun collabs!
- Mickley’s Orchard and Farm Market: This Pennsylvania orchard is offering a CSA, with pickup available at the Ballston market.
- Oksana’s Produce: Oksana’s produce is offering a 26-week CSA, with multiple pickup locations, including the Downtown Silver Spring market.
- Potomac Vegetable Farms: This Virginia vegetable farm is kicking off their 22nd season this year, and will be offering a CSA with pickup at Dupont market, beginning May 31 and running for 25 weeks.
- Waterpenny Farm: Sign up for 19 weeks of vegetables, with pick up available at the Arlington market.
- Wollam Gardens: Virginia flower farm Wollam Gardens is offering their Friends of Anemones Flower Club, which provides members with flowers, wreaths, and plants throughout the year at the Arlington and Dupont markets. When you join their CSA, you can use your credits to buy whatever you want from their stall. “The winter months can be harsh on farmers, especially when we don’t have any revenue coming in. We need to plan our flowers and plants at least two seasons before they bloom — that means while our spring flowers are sleeping under the snow, we’re already looking ahead towards our end of summer sunflowers, and yes, even our fall dahlias!” says Madison of Wollam. By joining their CSA now, you are helping to provide much needed winter revenue to do things like pay staff, fund seed purchases and purchase plant-care supplies. “You are helping our farm run smoothly so that, come flower season, we can provide you with the most beautiful and healthiest blooms!”
- FRESHFARM Market Share: Join the FRESHFARM Market Share! Similar to a CSA, the Market Share aggregates products from farmers at each farmers market, giving you the best the region has to offer each week. Signups will open May 1st. The Market Share will be available at 3 locations: Wednesday Columbia Heights Farmers Market, Ballston Farmers Market, and a Tuesday morning northern DC market (details to come). Find more details about the Market Share.