What is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (also called CSA or Subscription Vegetable Farming) is an innovative approach to the relationship between farmers and those who enjoy good food. With a preseason payment, members purchase a “share” of the season’s harvest, a diverse assortment of seasonal vegetables each week from early June through October (See What is a share? Section).

CSA’s allow growers to focus on land stewardship, to maintain productive and profitable small farms.

CSA farmers have been told by their members that they eat more vegetables than ever before now that they have a supply of truly fresh produce – even “picky eaters” enjoy the difference that fresh-from-the-field vegetables make.

How new is CSA in this country? The first one was started in Massachusetts in 1985. Today there are thousands in the United States. The model is believed to have originated in Japan in the 1960s.

In end-of-year surveys, members have given the following reasons for joining Heirloom Harvest CSA:

  • Desire for fresh, same-day-harvested produce
  • Desire for locally grown produce
  • Concern about how chemical pesticides/herbicides/fertilizer affect your health/desire certified organic
  • Concern about how chemical pesticides/herbicides/fertilizer affect your children’s health/desire certified organic
  • Concern about E coli, disease and contamination of produce from large industrial farms, whether organic or conventional
  • Interest in eating more vegetables/ widening my selection of vegetables
  • Interest in expanding what my children eat, and their choice of vegetables
  • To support the charitable work of Heirloom Harvest (food donation, community service and educational outreach)
  • Desire to support the continued existence of a local farm
  • Concern for the environment
  • Interest in developing community
  • Desire to educate myself and/or my family about sustainable agriculture, food production