What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is a marketing approach which allows a farm and a community to develop relationships. Also known as a farm co-op, CSA is a national movement that is connecting people with fresh, seasonal, often organic produce at a reduced cost. However, it is much more than just vegetables. At Broadturn Farm we want to involve the community in the process of raising food. We want our CSA members to tell us more about what they want us to grow, and how best we can meet their needs. Our methods in the vegetable fields are certified organic by MOFGA, but we rely more on the face-to-face relationships with our CSA members to ensure transparency. We strive to involve the community in such a way that consumers become co-producers, we are sharing the risk of the season together. After all, our common goals are broad: healthy, sustainable and humanely raised food; a strong local economy; and a supportive community. For more information about the many incarnations of CSA programs nationwide, see USDA, and Local Harvest. Also, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (or MOFGA) maintains a database of CSA farms in Maine: click here.
What's in a Produce share?
You can expect to eat as you would if you had a large vegetable garden: greens in the spring, lots of midsummer veggies, and a good haul of fall crops which should last you well into the cold months of November and December. The spring greens can sometimes be sparse-- the cold of spring is always a challenge in a garden plan. Nevertheless, our goal is to provide weekly:
- lettuce (sometimes two heads)
- greens ( salad greens or dark, hardy kale and chard)
- someone from the onion family (from chives in June to leeks in October.)
- roots (carrots, turnips, radishes, beets, rutabagas...)
- herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, fennel)
- legumes and/or fruits (yes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash ARE fruits!)(berries and melon -- of course!)
Interspersed you can expect broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. There will be a goodly helping of green beans (though they may be yellow or purple), beets (though some might be yellow, not red) and a few heads of kohlrabi (what's that? You'll find out!)
A household of four hearty vegetable eaters are happy with the CSA distribution, with a modest amount of produce to store away for the winter. Freeze the extra tomatoes, find a cool place for onions and potatoes, put the winter squash in your pantry, and make an extra big soup and put half of it in the freezer for a cold day in January!
Can I split a share with another family?
We try to leave these details to you. If you feel that a full share is too much for your household, you might consider a few things: Some distributions are difficult to actually "split" i.e. a head of lettuce, a squash that you intend on keeping around, or a quart of berries (in that it is sometimes hard to divide such a precious commodity!). Splitting is most easily accomplished with a neighbor with whom you can bargain for those berries! Otherwise consider splitting the share by alternating weeks with your split-partner. The drawback to this plan is that we often will alternate weeks of produce. (for example in terms of the root-crops:week 1= carrots; week 2= turnips; week 3=carrots again; week 4= beets; week 5=carrots AGAIN!... ) We design the CSA to appeal to those who take a full share with a good varietal mix, and we are unable to customize sizes or selection to a large degree.