Are you a gardener? Do you love to shop local, support local and enjoy great food all summer long? There is a great thing that I get to do each year, which is purchase my farm share. I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) a few years ago. I buy what is called a half-share, which with the farm I joined, means that I get to pick up my fresh produce every other week.

What will I get? It is pretty much what you expect (unless your farm says differently) I get tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, herbs, so many things. I can even buy a part of a pig or chickens a few times over the course of the 22 weeks.

This is just one type of CSA. There are many types of farms, offering many types of 'shares.' Some offer meats, honey, maple syrup, fruit, flowers and even eggs.

Ask yourself, what CSA farms are in my area? This is important because you want to be able to make it to your pick-up. For instance, I had to change my pick-up location from Wednesdays in Kingston, to Tuesdays in Red Hook, because I had a schedule change. So look at what the pick-up day and locations are, can you make it?

Also, do you want a whole share or a half share? It depends on how big your family is and whether or not they will eat the fresh items from the CSA. If you are more an eggs-and-meat person/family, then 22 weeks of tomatoes and kale, might not be for you as well.

I encourage you to look for the farms around you and then see what type of products are available. I would guestimate that the cost of 11-weeks, depending on how much your share is, volume-wise, would run you in the neighborhood of $300, but then again I am generalizing. Some farms offer you a discount if you are willing to spend a few hours a month helping them. Some require it, others do not.

Also, feel free (before you commit and pay) to ask the farm a few questions. They are the expert, they know what their results have been in the past, they will know what they anticipate to harvest, etc.

Here is a great website to start your research, Hudson Valley CSA. Best of luck, let me know what kind of share you go with. I have been contemplating getting a share at a flower farm, but know that the only one who will enjoy that more than myself is the cat, who destroys any flowers that come into the house. So, for now, I wait on that.

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