Neil B. Miller I March 17, 2013
100 farms, and a whopping 50 pages long! The 2013 Farmshed CNY CSA Directory, our third annual update of all the CSAs available in Central New York and the Finger Lakes, is done!
Even more than last year, 2013 has seen a lot change and development. For different reasons, a surprising number of farms didn’t offer a CSA this year, some temporarily (we hope), including for at least one farm the expected arrival of a new family member! But there are also many new CSAs this year – 16, by my count – as well as an increasingly diverse and exciting range of products being offered, as evidenced by two new subgenres: CSK, for Community Supported Kitchen; and CSH, for Community Supported Herbalism.
As with last year, a number of emerging trends continue to gain in popularity with local growers and producers. The number of Meat CSAs continues to grow, with chicken, beef, pork and turkey CSAs being supplemented by CSAs offering goose, duck, Spanish goat, and even bison. Market Share CSAs, which differ from traditional CSAs by allowing consumers to purchase fixed, or sometimes renewable, amounts of credit with a producer, and then purchase what they want, when they want (also referred to as Buying Clubs, or Flex Plan CSAs), are becoming more widespread, and offer consumers greater choice and flexibility when considering joining a CSA.
Finally, the number of CSAs offering value-added products, everything from soaps and household products to prepared meals and organic ice cream, has jumped significantly, which I think is this year’s most exciting and potentially significant new trend.
CSAs do a great deal of good beyond providing consumers with affordable fresh foods. They also provide much-needed working capital at the start of the growing season, months before most farmers will have products ready for market, and they offer families and individuals the opportunity to get out to the countryside, see how and where their food is grown, and form strong personal connections and friendships with the people who grow and raise their food. Most CSAs offer on-farm pickups, as well as opportunities for farm tours, picnics, harvest dinners and other events.
Dive in, explore what’s available in your area, and remember, the idea behind Farmshed CNY and our annual CSA Directory is to help you “Find Local, Buy Local, Grow Local.”
A PDF file of the 2013 CSA Directory is available here: 2013 Farmshed CNY CSA Directory