County of Chester: Think Spring

By: The Agricultural Development Council

Febuary 12'th, 2015

According to a recent study by specialist website developer Small Farm Central, February 28th is the most popular day of the year for people to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Becoming a member of a CSA program allows people to buy local, seasonal, fresh food directly from farmers, while providing immediate funding to farmers at the start of the season.

Hillary Krummrich, Director of the Chester County Ag Council said, “We are fortunate that Chester County offers residents such a great variety of CSA programs, from traditional items like produce and fruit, to value- added products like local cheese and wine.”

Community supported agriculture is an increasingly popular way for people to buy directly from a farmer on a subscription basis by paying up front for a scheduled box– or share– during the growing season. Although some consumers might balk at the initial upfront cost involved in CSA programs, the Small Farm Central study reports that CSA membership often gives members more than the expected dollar value. According to the study, the average cost of a CSA share box is $24.45, but the average actual value of the products in the box is $36.39. Some farmers also offer different share sizes and frequencies to accommodate different price points.

The Chester County Ag Council’s Find Local Products web page lists local farms and producers currently offering CSA programs at www.chesco.org/agdev/farmguide. One of the benefits of these programs is that farmers are often able to host several different pick up locations throughout the county, so CSA members can have more choices than just going to the farm.

“No matter what CSA option you choose, becoming a member of a CSA is a great way for you and your family get some of the best- tasting food available all season long,” added Krummrich.