NORTH SALEM - Imagine sugar snap peas, lettuce, endive, tomatoes, fresh herbs -- straight from the farm to your table week after week.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides the opportunity for hundreds of people to share in the produce of local farms through a sort of co-op system. The growers sell "shares" to the public and each shareholder receives a portion of produce throughout the growing season.
The modern-day CSA concept started in Japan in '60's, soon spread through Europe and arrived in America around 1980. Various models of the system exist. Some CSAs require members to pitch in with the planting and/or harvesting. Others give you a choice. Some harvest the crops but expect members to choose and pack their own produce.
A share usually entitles you to enough weekly produce to feed a family of four. Some farms sell partial shares.
Betsey Ryder of the Ryder Farm on Starr Ridge Road, refers to the farm's program as a "drive-by CSA." She pre-assembles the week's harvest on Wednesday mornings. Members can stop by any time during the week to pick them up. She is happy to have people meander through the garden, though. "It is as nourishing as eating," she said.
The current crop at Ryder Farm includes snap peas, lettuce, collards, kale. Eggplant, endive and tomatoes are almost ready. Ryder said, "We're having a really good growing season." Shares are still available and it is not too late to get a full summer's worth of produce.
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