CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) has been a growing trend in recent years, gaining support and interest as the locavore movement has exploded. Better than a farmer's market, participating in a CSA program means that you pay for a quarter or year's worth of a given product (usually fresh produce) up front, and the seasonal bounty is then either delivered to you or to a designated location in your community. The upfront payment helps support the farms from which the produce is sourced and in exchange, you are guaranteed fresh, organic, seasonal produce grown nearby.
CSA programs have also extended to ranches and you can purchase a quarter, half or whole steer on your own or in conjunction with another family (or families) and the frozen pre-packaged meat will be delivered to you in much the same way, often packaged with fresh eggs and whole chickens. Other programs include honey, dairy products, and even fresh cut flowers.
Now, you can even purchase coffee beans from a CSA. Supported by Pachamama, a global coffee farm co-op, paritcipants in the Coffee CSA program will receive two shipments per month of freshly roasted coffee beans. The advantage? You know the name of the farm and its country/area of origin and are given access to photos, stories and detailed information about their production process. How does that taste to you?
Photo by Mudeth.