Truth be told, the CSA model can be a demanding one, for both farmer and member. On my side, I need to master growing all of the vegetables (I’ve lost count of exactly how many kinds) and orchestrating their yields so that the weekly shares hold a bunch of different and tasty offerings. What’s more, I get to be the in-house accountant and mechanic (though sometimes I outsource those jobs), marketing director, human resources department, customer service agent, crew foreman, field hand, delivery driver, CFO, COO, and CEO. Knowing how to swing a hammer, dig a ditch, and wrangle a chicken comes in handy, too. I’m not complaining. I love the diversity my day holds, and there’s always something new and interesting to learn from the farm.
Being a member of a CSA holds its challenges, too. It requires a sense of adventure, of intrepidness, of delighting in being given a share full of good, sometimes unfamiliar, food and creating wholesome meals from it. I came across a quote in Joel Salatin’s Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer that I think does a good job of describing the kind of customer a direct-market CSA needs — the kind of customer this farm has been lucky to have:
“Without customers, you can’t have a direct-market farm…. But more importantly, a direct-market farm needs the right kind of customers…. We need customers who love their kitchens. We need customers who enjoy trying new things, who will try to use the entire vegetable or the whole chicken…. We need customers who put a high priority on food and who want farmers to enjoy a white-collar salary…. We need customers who show up at rendezvous points on time, who chat you up to co-workers and neighbors, and who forgive the occasional mess up.”
And he concludes,“This is a partnership.” He’s right. Belonging to a CSA means joining the dance between sun and soil, between farmer and field, between this farm and, well, maybe you. So, come, friend. Join us. I can’t promise you it will be easy. But it will be delicious.