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What is CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It has become a way for people to buy a "share" of a farmers crop containing local, fresh, seasonal produce. Generally, the crop shares contain vegetables, and some farms include fruits, eggs, meats, or even homemade products. It all depends on the farm that you decide to receive shares from. Customers can purchase a membership for a CSA crop share at particular farms and in return, each week, they will receive a bag of a variety of freshly grown produce.


Advantage for farmers:

Ø Promotion of their farms and the crops they produce

Ø Receive payment early in the growing season, helps with cash flow for compost, irrigation supplies and other expenses that come with working on a farm


Advantages for customers:

Ø Eat healthy

Ø Save money

Ø Support local farms

Ø Experiment with new foods and recipes

Ø Preserve and store food to use even when the crop share ends for the season

Ø Get to know where their produce is coming from and learn about how the food is grown

At Independent Health, we participate with the CSA program at Porter Farms. Right now is the perfect time to sign up for a membership to receive crop shares. Click this link to learn more: http://www.porterfarms.org/join/4548268435. After signing up you are all set to begin receiving crop shares from late June to November! Porter Farms attempts to have a variety of about 6 to 10 different vegetables in each bag every week and any fruit that is harvested will be included. Porter Farms has a 10 acre orchard and in the past fruits such as Asian pears, apples, peaches and raspberries have been available. At first, the cost may seem daunting, but over the course of 22 weeks it comes out to under 18 dollars per week. That's less than $5.00 per person if there are 4 people in your family! If the share contains too much food for you to use during the week consider sharing with a friend or a family member. Splitting the share can help to eliminate food waste and reduce costs! Through this CSA membership you are able to help support a local farm and in exchange, you will receive 22 weeks of fresh, certified organic produce throughout the growing season. For more information about the CSA at Porter farms click here: http://www.porterfarms.org/

There are community pick-up sites in the both the Buffalo and Rochester areas, as well as at Porter Farms location on 5020 Edgerton Road in Elma. The members in Buffalo will choose a community pick-up area that is convenient for them, and then each member takes a turn driving to the farm to pick-up everyone's shares for that community location on Saturday mornings. This is a great opportunity to see the beautiful farm and exactly where the produce is coming from! In the Buffalo area the community pick-up sites include:

- Auburn Avenue, Buffalo                                                           

- Eaglebrook Dr., West Seneca

- Wesley Avenue, North Buffalo                                                         

- Lexington Avenue, Buffalo

- Deerhurst Park Blvd., Kenmore                                                              

- W. Girard Boulevard, Kenmore

- Lakeview Parkway, Lockport                                                    

- North Buffalo Site #2 (TBA)

- 3269 Main Street (St. Joseph University Parish)                              

- Exchange Street, Alden

- Meadowstream Court, Amherst                                          

- Seminole Parkway, Cheektowaga

- Zion Lutheran Church, Clarence Center                                            

- Christopher Boulevard, Hamburg

- Coriander Court, East Amherst                                                              

- E. Girard Boulevard, Kenmore

- Grand Island (TBA)                                                                       

- South Huxley, Amherst

- St. Christopher's Parish, Tonawanda                                    

- Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo      

 For the members located in Rochester, Porter Farms will deliver the produce to the community pick-up locations. In Rochester the community pick-up sites include:

- Centennial Avenue, Brockport                                                 - Pershing Drive, Rochester                        

- Bellaqua Estates Court, Chili                                                     - Greece Canal Park

- Genesee Park Blvd., Rochester                                              - Dewey Avenue, Fairpoint

- Crossroads Lane, Greece                                                           - Field Street, Rochester

- Timber Brooks Lane, Penfield                                                  - Wind Tree Circle, Pittsford

- Citation Drive, Henrietta                                                            - Whiteford Road, Rochester

- Biltmore Drive, Irondequoit                                                      - Imperial Driver, Webster

- Brookwood Rd., Brighton

There are many resources to find fun and unique recipes for both the familiar and unfamiliar items in your share. If you love trying new recipes and are looking to eat healthier this summer CSA crop sharing would be perfect for you! Get all your family and friends on board with thinking of creative ways to use the items in your share each week. Here are some ideas of what to do with crop share items:

Ø Freeze some fruit items to use for a smoothie

Ø Cut up vegetables for a quick and healthy snack

Ø Search the web to learn how to prepare unfamiliar food items

Ø Vegetables can be eaten raw, roasted, stir-fried, added to a soup, or use them to create different types of pesto or hummus. The list goes on-and-on. 

There are many other crop shares in the WNY area, research a few and see which works best for your price range, family size, and location! Here is a link to all the CSA locations in WNY: http://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?lat=42.8868&lon=-78.8779&scale=8&ty=6

Have a safe and healthy summer!


Categories: Healthy Eating
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