Community Supported Agriculture Open House On March 13 Brings Together Farmers and Customers

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Crabtree Farms, 1000 E. 30th St. in Chattanooga is hosting the 2nd Annual Community Supported Agriculture Open House on Sunday, March 13, from 2-4 p.m.  

A networking event for farmers and potential customers, the open house provides families in the Chattanooga area an opportunity to learn about the distinct farm shares offered in our region.

"CSAs provide consumers a unique relationship with their food and the farmers who produce it," organizers said.  "Much like a subscription to a newspaper, most CSAs are paid for up-front by their members, and in return the members receive a share of fresh food from the farm each week.

The share contents are determined each week by the farmer and may be comprised of a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruit, meat, cheese, or value-added goods such as jams, pickles, and baked goods. Depending on the program, the share may be delivered directly to members’ homes, or are held at designated pick-up locations like farmers markets.

"The intimate nature of the relationship between farmer and share member is what draws many individuals and families to participate in CSAs. Crops are often carefully selected, grown, and harvested specifically with the members in mind. Farmers enjoy introducing members to new varieties and flavors not found in mainstream grocery stores. The foods in the shares are generally harvested and prepared the same day members receive them, which ensures the produce is of the highest quality and freshness. Moreover, members develop a better understanding of and appreciation for how their food is grown, and the process it takes to arrive at their table. 

"Farmers benefit by having a committed, secure customer base, and a significant influx of income at the beginning of the growing season. This helps to recoup the cost of seeds, materials, and equipment repairs paid during the winter months. With little produce to be harvested during the winter, income streams dwindle and, thankfully, early spring CSA payments come at a time when the need is often greatest. Farmers also enjoy a level of freedom by operating CSAs, because they are delightfully customizable in terms of cost, duration, share size, farm goods offered, and delivery method. Additionally, a pre-sold CSA season makes business slightly easier and more reliable to sustain since farmers are not completely at the mercy of market volatility, though nature is still a fickle beast."

By attending the CSA Open House - the only gathering of its kind in this region - individuals and families have the opportunity to speak directly with farmers to find a CSA that best fits their budgets, schedules, and culinary preferences. Attendees will leave with the Grow Chattanooga CSA Directory, which provides a comprehensive listing of CSA programs available in a 100 mile radius of Chattanooga. Registration is not required, and admission is free. 

For more information, call Andrea Jaeger at 423-493-9155, ext. 13, email ajaeger@crabtreefarms.org, or visit growchattanooga.org/foodguide.



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