Is Community-Supported Agriculture Suddenly Right For Me?

There’s something in the air! Those tree buds that have been at the ready for weeks are finally popping. There’s an unmistakable springtime pep in the step of my beltway neighbors. Springtime brings with it lots of questions too. It’s the time I decide what stuff to gather, organize & donate to charity; what fresh new color should make it onto the walls of my new season project; and the one I can never seem to decide on — should this be the year I finally do the community-supported agriculture thing.

Community-supported agriculture feels right but I still wonder.

We have dozens of CSA options in my area. West of DC is Loudoun County, Virginia’s farm & wine country so we definitely have an abundance of farm-fresh offerings around here. And that’s a very good thing. I guess my biggest (or latest) question about buying into community-supported agriculture is — Why?  I mean, not in a really broad sense, but relatively speaking.

CSA Basket

I love our local weekend farmers markets. I rarely make my way through the crowds without sampling a little something from each wonderful vendor. There’s also a weekly market that pops up at the ever-expanding Wiehle-Reston metro station, greeting me during random suburban excursions. Union Market, a local favorite for sure, is home to several local producers that harvest their goods shortly before setting up shop at the 5th street location.

Then there’s technology. Lots of it. A new farm-to-fridge app seems to appear just about every day. I signed up for Relay Foods but don’t remember ever ordering from them. One that recently caught my eye is Farmigo. They work directly with farmers, brining the power of modern technology to the CSA distribution process. I’d give them a go for sure, but Farmigo’s not yet available in my area. Bummer. Honestly, I generally like the idea of Farmigo but I like interacting with people, especially knowledgeable sellers at the market. So an app would be supplemental at most for me.

So back to the question of signing up for community-supported agriculture. Given all my options, I guess that it may be all about cost. I’m not sure about this either though. I’ve never done a cost comparison of the various options, and the CSA subscription prices I’ve seen don’t jump out at me as amazing cost savings. They may be. I just haven’t taken the time to do the math. I guess I should go that path this season so that I know once and for all whether community-supported agriculture is right for me.

If you have experience with CSA subscriptions especially as compared to the options I mentioned, please do leave comment. I’d love to know whether you think I’m on the right track or if there’s just something magical about community supported agriculture that I need to be part of.

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