The Benefits of Hudson Valley CSA
Community Supported Agriculture, CSA for short, is an agricultural model that has become increasingly popular in the Hudson Valley. In exchange for an upfront payment or series of installments, CSA members regularly receive a “share” of their farm’s bounty — whether that be an assortment of fresh vegetables and/or fruit, herbs, flowers, eggs, dairy, and meat — over the course of the growing season.
The advantages of Community Supported Agriculture are abundant. The food that CSA shareholders receive is incredibly fresh, high-quality, delicious, and nutritious. Produce is often picked the same day as CSA pick-up; at some farms, CSA members even get to pick their own veggies, herbs, or flowers.
Many CSA members report eating healthier as a result of their share, and enjoy learning to cook vegetables they haven’t tried before.
The community that comes with CSA is another quality people deeply value. Through CSA newsletters, potlucks, and on-farm events and workshops, members quickly become part of something greater than the share they pick up every week. Not only are CSA members investing in their own health and wellness; they are also investing in their local economies and communities.
Farmers benefit from the CSA model in several ways, too. The upfront payment structure ensures that farmers have the resources they need to invest in seeds, equipment, and labor at the start of the season. By cutting out the middleman, CSA gives the revenue right back to those working the soil. Finally, CSA guarantees a consumer base throughout the season, allowing farmers to concentrate on growing the best food possible.
Since 2016, the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition has worked hard to support, expand, and diversify the CSA community in the Hudson Valley. Our network of over 80 CSA farms spanning 13 counties is committed to recruiting first-time CSA members, expanding the local CSA member base of area farms, and making CSA a familiar and accessible option for everyone in the Hudson Valley.
Whether you live in Washington County or in Westchester, there is a farm nearby, building soil and growing the freshest food out there. Visit hudsonvalleycsa.org to learn more about the Coalition and to find the perfect CSA for you.
Hudson Valley CSA Coalition
Find the right CSA
Not all CSA farms operate the same — there’s often flexibility in terms of cost, pickup schedule or location, contents, and more. Use the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition’s online directory to browse the CSA farms in your area. Finding the CSA that works for you may take some time, but it’s worth the effort to find your perfect farm match. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask the farmer! Getting in touch with an email or phone call will give the farm the opportunity to let you know if they can offer what you seek. Here are a few options to consider when choosing your CSA:
Some CSAs offer payment plans, sliding-scale or income-based pricing, working shares (in which you volunteer at the farm for a CSA discount), or even debit plans that allow you to add to your account during the season. If you don’t see an option like this on their website, just ask — many farms are willing to arrange a payment plan. An increasing number of Hudson Valley CSA farms accept SNAP/EBT.
Pickup Location and Timing
Many CSA farms offer on-farm pickup within a set window of time, allowing members to say hi to their farmers and admire what’s growing in the fields. To accommodate busy work schedules, some farms offer after-hours or honors system pickup. There are also many farms that have one or more off-farm distribution sites, whether at schools, worksites, community centers, farmer’s markets, or churches. Choose a CSA that best suits your schedule and location.
Share Contents and Size
Most CSAs offer pre-bagged shares based on what’s in season and available at the farm. Some farms offer free-choice shares that allow you to fulfill your share from a variety of available items. Many CSAs offer specialized shares or share add-ons, including eggs, meat, dairy, flowers, herbs, or value-added items.
Pick Your Own
Some farms allow you to go into the fields to pick your own vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers.