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Consumers, farmers reap rewards from CSAs

foodTo ensure a consistent supply of seasonal local produce from spring through fall, it’s not too late to sign up for a community-supported agriculture, or CSA, subscription.

Among Virginia farms that offer CSA participation is Crumptown Farm in Buckingham County, which offers its subscribers weekly boxes stocked with lettuce, potatoes, squash, watermelons or whatever else is at its peak.

“Customers are our first priority,” said Lindsay Constable who owns and operates the 16-acre farm with her husband, Brad. “We provide vegetables that are absolutely fresh and picked the same day they’re delivered. We also incorporate some heirlooms that excel in taste—things you’d never find at the grocery store—all at a very fair price.”

CSAs connect shoppers directly with local farms. Members typically pay in advance to receive regular shares of produce and other products that they pick up at a designated time and location.

“Opening the box from the farm can be a bit of an adventure, because you may get things you’ve never tried before. It makes eating vegetables fun,” Constable noted.

Farmers also benefit from the relationship.

“Farmers benefit from CSAs by receiving payment early in the growing season, which helps with their farm’s cash flow,” explained Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow and can even respond to their subscribers’ special requests for unique produce and crop varieties.”

Constable described CSAs as “a direct way to support local farmers. It provides part of our income throughout the winter, so we are able to purchase items such as seed and organic fertilizer. Supporting CSAs also helps keep farmland in production.”

Crumptown offers mini, small and large shares from early May to mid-October. Constable believes that “every CSA has its own personality. They are all a little bit different. Everyone has their own spin.”

To find local CSA farms, visit virginiagrown.com.

 
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