Local Farming and CSA Farms: Good for You. Good for the Region.

Sign-up Now for Farm-Fresh Food This Season

As this year’s cold, snowy winter slowly edges toward spring, here’s something you can do that will instantly transport you to warm, earthy, sunshine-filled days: sign-up now with a local CSA farm for farm-fresh foods this coming year.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms are an excellent way to buy local food directly from a farmer. Farmers offer a certain number of “shares” to consumers. The share typically consists of a box of whatever the farm produces: vegetables, fruits, meats, and dairy. Your share (or “membership” or “subscription”) entitles you to a percentage of the farm’s production. You receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. There are lots of variations, but that’s the basic idea.

The best time of year to sign-up at a CSA farm is NOW. That’s because farmers need to know how many members they are going to have in order to plan for the season, their plantings, and farm production.

Agriculture in Cheshire County has always been important. We have farms operating today that were first cleared and planted before the American Revolution. Today, agriculture continues to be an important part of our local economy and community. Buying local is not only good for you; it keeps money in the economy here at home. Local farms help build a diverse, healthy community and reduce the negative environmental and economic impacts of packaging and transporting fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products thousands of miles to store shelves. Local agriculture is one of the things that make the Monadnock Region such a wonderful place to live.

There’s growing public awareness about the advantages of eating locally grown and produced foods and buying direct from CSA farms, farm stands, farmer’s markets, and stores that feature local foods. CSA farm members eat just-picked foods throughout the season that couldn’t be any fresher. And fresher foods have better flavor and nutritional value. You are also buying “in bulk” and that helps keep your costs down. Trying to get the kids to eat their veggies? Children are more likely to enjoy the vibrant flavor and freshness of foods right off the farm. It’s also a lot of fun to visit the farm, experience the beautiful environment, and learn more about where your food comes from.

The Cheshire County Conservation District is working to make it easy to find a local CSA farm (and farm stands and farmers’ markets as well). Visit www.MonadnockFarms.org. There you’ll find an interactive map, links to local farms, and information about farms in the Monadnock Region.

CCCD is also on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CheshireCCD. Several area farms regularly post about what’s growing and being harvested, recipes, ideas, and information about why locally grown foods are important for you and the community. Check it out, visit a farm, buy local!

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