Monday is our early day on the farm. We get the day started at 7:00am and we do not stop until all of the work is done. The day is busy because we harvest for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Bozeman Farmer’s Market and MDF (Market Day Foods). Crazy View Farm works with three other farms to grow, pick, package and distribute produce to 78 CSA shareholders each week for 16 weeks (June – October). 

The CSA Modelis an agreement between the farmer and customer that provides capital to the farmer during the planning and planting season to pay for seeds, growing materials, equipment, and labor. In return, the farmer provides CSA members with a weekly box of produce throughout the growing season. CSA members are invested in the farm for the entire season. They share in the harvest, when it is bountiful, but also share in the inherent risks and challenges of growing food – drought, frost, wind, hail, to name a few.  Shareholders, or families, pay $360 at the beginning of the growing season and receive a weekly share of the produce. That breaks down to only $22.50 per share, per week. Health insurance companies have learned that families and individuals who participate in CSA programs have lower heath care costs. Ask your health insurance provider if they offer rebates for their customers that are a part of a CSA. When offered, health insurance companies typically offer $100 rebates for individuals and $200 rebates for families. Even if your health insurance provider says no, it is always good to be pushing them to look for new ways of lowering the cost of healthy foods for you and lowering the health care costs to the insurance company. CSAs become a win-win scenario for both families and health insurance providers.

Cleaning lettuce heads and bundling up the carrots

Crazy View puts a concentrated effort into growing a majority of the greens that make up the weekly CSA share. Today we harvested basil, heads of lettuce, zucchini and eggs for the shareholders. All four farms work together to provide a diverse variety of produce to their shareholders each week. The other farms contributed fennel, tomatoes, squash, cucumber and onion to the share. If you think receiving fresh vegetables, picked at the peak of perfection and in your hands within 24 hours sounds ideal, then you should consider become a CSA member. It will not only feed your body organic, wholesome goodness but it will also teach you and your children about the vegetables that grow well in your area and when they are in season. If you are unsure how to find a farm in your area that operates a CSA, contact me and I will help you or attend the next farmer’s market in your town. Ask the farmers if they are operating a CSA program and how you can become a member.
Aside from the healthy vegetables and learnin’ that you will receive by becoming a member, you will also be supporting your local farming community. Think about it – you are purchasing your share in the springtime, the exact time of year when farmers need capital the most and you are removing the middleman. Rather than driving to the grocery store for every edible desire, you are going straight to the Farmer. By making this choice you are delivering the true value of the product to the Farmer. When you purchase your produce at a grocery store, the Farmer’s price decreases by every person that it takes to get the product from the Farm and to your plate. A portion of the value gets paid to the farmer, truck drivers, warehouse, marketer and grocer. I do know that it is convenient and efficient to get your produce from a grocery store, but I do hope that you consider purchasing a portion of the food you eat directly from the human whose sweat, blood and tears went into growing your dinner. 

The list of produce to harvest for the day

Washing, weighing and packaging

One thought on “The CSA Model on Crazy View Farm

  1. Excellent discussion about CSA. I know in Brainerd, smaller families or single people can also order a half share. That makes it a bit more manageable. I choose to get my produce from the same farmers at the farmer's market. That way I can pick out what I want. Wonderful time of the year for fresh produce.

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