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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ask/A.S.K. Topic: CSA vs Local Farm Box

Question: What is the difference between a CSA and a local Farm Box?
Answer from Kali Wnuck, SavRaw Local Farm Box

A CSA, community supported agriculture, is when you become a shareholder to a farm and pay for the season directly to the farm. Some farms have a more flexible system set up where you can pay by the week. Usually these boxes are picked up at a farmer’s market, the farm, or they have other convenient locations set up. Often, their CSA members are their top priority so if they are low in volume in a certain special veggie, their CSA members are the first to get it. With the increase in interest of joining a CSA, some farms are not only expanding their variety, but also connecting with other farms they trust in order to increase the variety in their boxes.

Similar to a CSA, a farm box supports local farms and you get a bundle of delicious fruits and vegetables. A farm box has produce that is sourced from multiple farms for more variety yet the farm does not run the program itself. There’s also a flexible ordering system where you can usually pay by the week with a recurring subscription and can cancel or place holds on vacation weeks. It helps the farms that don’t have a CSA (as well as those that do) because they get a consistent order every week without having to manage all the members and aspects of the program.
Since not everyone can pay by the season, the farms are happy the option is available for people (as long as they are treated well and their prices are respected). It also helps many people who are too busy to make it to the Farmers Markets or to pick up at certain locations to have the option of a home delivery.  This is much more preferred than having to rely on the super market when they miss their farmer’s market, with little option for local and food that isn’t nearly as fresh. It also helps those who want to consistently support the same farms they see at their local farmers markets. The farms are reaching more people that they may not otherwise be able to. It’s important to know, though, that not all farm box companies are local.

Here are some of our favorite CSA’s:
JR Organics, Valley Center
Sage Mountain Farm, Temecula
Red Rock Farm, Inner Gardens, Topanga
McGrath Family Farms, Camarillo

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