Community Supported Agriculture
I’ve been lucky in life. I have an amazing husband, a beautiful child and a very supportive family. I’ve also had the privilege of living on the island of Maui for two years. Despite the way this sounds, it was hard for me. A fierce contrast from the New York I was accustomed to, it took some time before I was truly able to embrace the island life. It helped that when we first arrived we were lucky enough to live with friends. We would often dine together and share chores. The year was 2000 and it was then that I had my first experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
Our friends were members of a local farm and, in return for a membership fee, they received a weekly “share” of that week’s harvest. We lived Upcountry in Kula, a village on the hillside of Haleakala, Maui’s dormant volcano. Stunningly beautiful, the land there is not what you think of when you picture Hawai’i though. It’s more like the rugged, emerald, rolling terrain of Ireland. The island’s unique volcanic, nutrient-rich soil produces spectacular vegetables, citrus, and the famous Maui onion. Each Friday we’d return home from a long day and eagerly scamper to see what delights awaited us inside the basket.
CSA programs are win-win for the farmers and for members. It provides the farm with financial support at the beginning of each season for seeds, plants and materials. For members it ensures the freshest, seasonal produce one can find for about 22 weeks. I love it because the shares often include herbs or vegetables that fall outside of my comfort-zone, forcing me to expand my horizons and experiment.
Fast-forward 11 years and I’ve finally discovered a local farm that has a CSA program close to our home on the mainland. Sunset Beach Farm is located in the village of North Haven, New York and is owned and operated by Karin Bellemare and Jon Wagner. They are dedicated farmers and lovely human beings. Karin and Jon write about their farm on their website. I will also chronicle this season’s CSA and include ideas for how to enjoy it all. Happy Memorial Day!
To find a CSA program in your area visit localharvest.org