Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture
A Visit to Petersen Family Farms

Garden Beds

Garden Beds at Petersen Family Farm
Garden Beds at Petersen Family Farm
Garden Beds

If you don’t have a garden of your own but would like to buy fresh, local produce, then joining a local CSA may be just the thing you’re looking for! Maybe you’ve even heard a neighbor or friend talk about the boxes or bags of produce they get through a co-op or CSA, and wondered what they were talking about?

A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is a common way that local farmers build community and support for their farm. When you are participating in a CSA you are buying what is called a “share” of the farm. Often, farms will have a limit to how many shares they have available for purchase, so you’ll want to get in on them early in the year. Shares usually don’t become available until June or July, although some farms have crops they begin harvesting as early as March. An important part of participating in a CSA program is being flexible— your share will likely include seasonal produce that is only available for a short time, and you may even get some fruits and veggies that you aren’t familiar with. Be brave! Being a part of a CSA is a great way to introduce new produce into your diet.

Farm Store at Petersen Family Farms

CSA’s can be focused exclusively on vegetables or fruit, since many fruits are orchard-grown and require additional farming capacity that a smaller farm may not have. Many CSA’s, however, do offer both fruits and veggies in their shares, and many will also include artisanal items like honey, jam, salsa, meat, or dairy products that are made locally. When you purchase a share of a local farm, there will likely be a regular, weekly pick-up of your share full of seasonal crops, ready for harvest. Some CSA’s have multiple pick-up locations, or even offer delivery, while others have only one pick-up location— at the farm where the produce is grown. 

Each share will vary in size depending on the program, but will feature multiple items that are in season; for example, cherries and peas in early summer, beets and apricots mid-July, peaches and corn in August, apples and squash later toward fall. CSA programs like the Simpleshare featured at the Petersen Family Farm are year-round, but most CSA’s run from early summer until fall. Since the Simpleshare is year-round, members pay for their share on a month-to-month basis, rather than one lump sum at the beginning of the season. 

There are many benefits to being a member of a CSA. By joining such a program you:

  • Support local agriculture
  • Add fresh produce to your menu
  • Enjoy the variety of seasonal produce
  • Connect with members of your community

If a CSA is right for you, research the programs in your area and find the one that fits your needs and budget. You can find local CSA’s along the Wasatch Front at csautah.org. Don’t be afraid to call or email the contact listed for each farm. Programs vary widely, and it’s worth the time to find the right one for you and your family.