2013 PRESS RELEASES
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January 10, 2013
LOCAL FOOD LOVERS SHOULD SIGN UP NOW FOR A CSA TO ENSURE A 2013 SUBSCRIPTION
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686
Winter has just started, but it’s time to look ahead to springtime. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages local food lovers to ensure their source for local produce now by enrolling or re-enrolling in a subscription to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
Many CSA farms have already communicated with current subscribers to make sure they re-enroll in a timely manner, and many are also calling for new members. Members pay a fee to receive a share of the farm's crop and each week throughout the growing season, they get in-season products from the farm. Products almost always include fresh vegetables and fruits, but they can also include herbs, eggs, honey, cheese, butter, cut flowers and more.
“Many CSAs start in early spring with greens, peas and asparagus,” said VDACS Commissioner Matt Lohr, “but nearly all are operating by mid-May. Many of them sell out their subscriptions by the end of January or first of February, however, so it’s important that customers sign up early.” Lohr says that a CSA is a great opportunity to learn about the source of your food. “As someone who grew up on a farm and who is engaged in farming today, of course I’m biased,” Lohr continued, “but I think for most of us, getting our food directly from the people who grew it is very fulfilling. It reminds us of things we may have forgotten, like the cycle of life, living according to the seasons and reaping what we sow, or at least what someone else sows.”
Many CSA farms offer farm visits, opportunities to work alongside the farmers and to pick your own produce or cut your own flowers. Some have cooking classes, on-farm dinners or educational workshops. To learn more about the choices in Virginia CSAs, go to VirginiaGrown.com and click the CSA button. VDACS lists 10 pages of offerings, but consumers can narrow their search by county or zip code.
Lohr says it is important for consumers to recognize that, like any other business transaction, they should make sure they clearly understand the terms and conditions that a CSA share offers. Consumers should discuss their expectations with the farmer offering the CSA and understand the risks assumed in the event of drought or other natural disaster or events that can affect agricultural output.
VDACS’ advice to farmers or groups offering CSAs is to list their farms or coops on the VirginiaGrown.com website. They can do this online or by calling 804.225.3663 for more information.