New Hampshire CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Guide
What's a CSA?
A CSA, also referred to as a Community Supported Agriculture Program, is a program with the goal to put people who use farm-grown products, (and that's almost all of us), and the New Hampshire farmers who grow them together. This system works on a subscription basis. Subscribers can buy a subscription to the produce service for either a growing season or for the whole year.
How New Hampshire CSAs Work
Grocery shopping is a whole lot easier for New Hampshire CSA subscribers. Instead of needing to wade through the produce section every week farmers do the work for them. Local farmers put together a weekly basket of produce (sometimes meat and dairy as well) and deliver it to an established, central location, or subscribers can pick it up at the farm.
It's an idea that is catching on throughout the country because it cuts out the middleman, assures farm-fresh produce at affordable prices, and is good for the environment because it decreases transportation costs, as well. CSA subscriptions usually run from early May through September or October, based on where you reside.
Benefits of CSAs in New Hampshire
What are the benefits of joining a New Hampshire CSA program? Well, the produce does not have to be transported to a warehouse or group of supermarkets, it's only transferred once, to the pick-up location, so subscribers are helping save on fuel costs and spare the environment from emissions. One key benefit is the produce is just about as fresh as you can get, because it's chosen, sorted and sent usually on the same day.
Often, it's less expensive than buying produce through a NH supermarket, because it gets rid of the middleman and links the consumer and the local farmer without any markup on profit. New Hampshire CSAs help the local economy, too, simply because they keep your revenue right in the area, instead of sending it to other countries or other states where produce may originate.
New Hampshire CSA Programs Are on the Rise
Just a few short years ago, a CSA program probably didn't exist in your New Hampshire community. They've definitely gained popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. They are a great way for farmers to know they will have a market for their crops, but they are a great way for the consumer to get high-quality products having to break the bank, too.
Usually, the crops are organic, so health-conscious NH customers can be sure they're eating right, and community supported agriculture programs offer a wide array of options, including;
You don't have to live right next to an agricultural area, either, often farmers will spread their produce around in several diverse cities to be sure all their crops are spoken for.
If you do not have a CSA program in your community, talk to a local community service organization about starting one. Some are handled by local food co-ops or service organizations, while farmers often organize their own CSAs, too. If you know a farmer, determine if they're offering a CSA program, and if they're not, give them a hint! These programs benefit just about everyone involved, and they are simple to start and maintain, so there is no reason why your community should do without one.
CSA Apprenticeship in New Hampshire
Even if you think you can not afford to belong to a New Hampshire CSA, don't despair. Many farmers are providing apprenticeships for many who can not afford to buy a membership for a season. You're working in the fields for a pre-determined period of time each week, and find out more about the business of agriculture, and you receive a share of the crops in return. Now that's a win-win situation for everyone!
During a time when we worry about the quality of our food, how far it's traveled, and how long it's been sitting in a warehouse before it finally arrived at the supermarket, these novel programs can bring a little more peace of mind about where dinner's coming from and teach you new skills at the same time.
Even if you don't want to work in an apprenticeship, you can usually visit the farm and actually see where your next meal is coming from, and that's a very good feeling. So, help a farmer, feed your family better, and save money by joining a New Hampshire CSA in your area.