CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and operates on a subscription basis, fostering a cooperative relationship between farmer and shareholder.
The idea is a simple one: customers purchase annual, seasonal or half shares (depending on what the farm makes available) of the farm's produce rather than buying single items at retail prices. CSA shares bring the freshest farm products to you while ensuring that all the items are sold, a win/win marketing model. Customers pay in advance, providing the farm with its budget and production goals. In return, the farm works hard year round to bring the shareholder wholesome herbs, fruits, and vegetables at their peak of freshness and perfection.
Farm production varies naturally with the seasons, weather conditions, weed pressure and other variables, meaning a farm will often enjoy bumper crops and suffer occassional crop failures. Because CSAs work as a community partnership, where all share the risks and reap the many benefits together. Thus, share quantities will vary from crop to crop and from season to season, being sparser in the cooler seasons and most bountiful in the late summer.