Market-style CSA: a Choice in the Matter

The Market-style CSA is by no means new. CSA farms all over the country have done it for ages. For many CSAs, especially those that deliver long distances to cities, it makes sense to pack boxes and load them into a delivery van to send to workplaces, churches, and homes. For Oxheart, where our focus is on our smaller local community, we are able to invite members to our farm to pick up their CSA share. This farm pick-up gives people a choice in the matter, every single week.

But how do members get to choose what goes in the box they take home? There are many different ways that farms have used to give their members options– here’s the way it works at Oxheart. Each week, you come to the farm with your own bag/crate/box. We have a stand set up– much like a tent at a farmers’ market– with a spread of everything we are harvesting that week. The various veggies are arranged in groups with like products: lettuce mix, spinach, and arugula are all in one area; carrot, beet, and salad turnip bunches are together somewhere else. Nearby the veggies hangs a chalkboard, a “menu” so to speak, listing all that is available and what the choices are. For example, from the “greens” category, you may choose any two bags. It could be one spinach and one arugula, two bags of lettuce mix, or any other combination. Then from the “staples” category, you may choose 10 pounds of any combination of onions, potatoes, and squash. In the summer, we have options for bulk items for preserving– tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, etc.

If there’s something you don’t like, you never have to take it. Or if you like it but you’re sick of it, you can skip it for a week. If you know you want a lot of something for a special dish, you can stock up as long as it’s not in short supply.

So if it’s so much like a farmers’ market, why sign up for a CSA share at all? Our members’ commitment to our farm early in the season gives us certainty that we have mouths to feed all season. This knowledge, along with the up-front payment, makes the CSA a good deal for us. And because it’s a good deal for us, we’re able to make it a good deal for you: the approximate $30/week value that our members pay is exceeded in vegetables on almost a weekly basis (which we love as much as anything!).

Email us with questions! Sign up for a share! We look forward to feeding you.


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