Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CSA Fair highlighted local farm connections

Almost a dozen farms came out to Boynton Middle School on Sunday to meet with CSA-curious consumers.  What is a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it's a way for people to buy direct from farms.  Different CSA's operate in different ways, but the gist is that a buyer pays in advance for a weekly share of vegetables (or fruit, meat, or other farm products). Some offer pickup at the farm or farmers markets, and others provide delivery options.

For example, Muddy Fingers Farm, offers a CSA from June through October at pickup locations in Ithaca, Elmira, and Corning.  It's available in two sizes: a basic share for $360, which feeds 1-2 people, and a family share for $500, which feeds 3-4.  They also keep members updated about farm activities through their blog.

In contrast, Red Tail Farm offers a CSA in the form of a member debit card.  Buyers pay in advance, and then have full choice of veggies, honey, and other products at the farmers market.  The cost of the produce is deducted from the card, and members enjoy a 10% discount off the regular price.

Some farmers at this year's fair were disappointed with the consumer turnout, saying that people were probably distracted by the nice weather and that it might be too early for buyers to be thinking about summer veggies.  Nonetheless, buyers left with brochures and a greater sense of their local food-buying options.

Other farms at the fair included:
Heller Farm (1157 County Rd 39, Bainbridge)

For a more complete listing of CSA's available in Ithaca and Tompkins County, check out the local food guide.

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