Many small farms support themselves through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Most offer full and half shares of the farm’s products from May-October. In exchange for an up front payment, consumers receive fresh produce, flowers, meat, dairy and other products each week. It is a great arrangement. CSA members provide up front capital for farmers for the growing season, sharing the risk of bad weather and other unforeseen events, while receiving fresh, locally grown items each week.
Though Local Harvest notes that there is no exact number on the number of CSA offerings in the country, they have over 4,000 farms listed in their database that offer CSA shares in their local communities.
Patrick and I recently became members of a very specific CSA – chicken & eggs! Our friends Ken and Kamala at Buttermilk Hill Farm in Belgrade, Maine, are new farmers and offered up this exciting option. In exchange for an initial investment, we have been receiving fresh eggs and freshly frozen chickens since early spring.
This has been a great experience for us, because our fridge and freezer is always full (we actually need to get an additional freezer) and we are supporting our friends in their new endeavor. This food-specific CSA made me curious about other unique CSA offerings in Maine, so I did some research – there is quite a number out there.
Apple CSA – Super Chilly Farm (Palermo, Maine)
Photo courtesy of Rabelais Books
Super Chilly Farm has operated an apple CSA the last few years in partnership with Rabelais Books in Portland. Unfortunately, they are filled for this year, but you can add your name to their mailing list to receive notification for the 2012 harvest.
Dairy CSA – Webb Family Farm (Pittson, Maine)
Photo courtesy of MOFGA
Webb Family Farm in Pittson, Maine, grows grains and organic beef and milk. They offer a unique dairy CSA in which you can purchase “cream-line” and skim milk, fresh from the farm!
Flower CSA – Broadturn Farm (Scarborough, Maine)
Broadturn Farm in Scarborough offers a flower CSA. Stacy grows gorgeous flowers and I think I’m going to sign up for this next year – how amazing would it be to pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers every week?
Lobster CSA – Alewive’s Brook Farm (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
Photo courtesy of Alewive’s Brook Farm
The Jordan family at Alewive’s Brook Farm offers a unique CSA/CSL in which you can have your pick of fresh produce and lobster each week! As an added convenience, you can pick up your shares at the Portland Farmer’s Market.
Are you a member of a CSA? What other unique offerings have you found in Maine?