As we begin to emerge from our winter hideaways and notice the green that's starting to pop all around, consider that it’s the perfect time to consider joining a CSA!
A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a great way to get fresh fruits and veggies into your diet while supporting your local farming economy. With most CSAs, you pay a flat fee for the season and pick up a box of fresh produce once a week. You move from being just a consumer to becoming a partner in the growing process—sharing the risk and the bounty of farming in New England.
Plus, you’ll get the freshest in-season food available. It also inspires you to try new things, since each week’s harvest is a little different from the last.
The website Local Harvest can hook you up with multiple CSAs in your area. If you live in the Monadnock region you can also get started with these. Or if you live in the Upper Valley, check out these CSAs.
- Hillside Spring Farm. The motto at Hillside Spring Farm is “by horse and by hand.” Frank Hunter and Kim Peavey live up to that motto by farming their three acres with the help of three workhorses—two Belgians and one Percheron—and with their own two hands. Practicing sustainable, biodynamic farming, Hillside Spring produces a hundred varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers throughout the course of a 24-week harvest. Check them out at 32 Comerford Road, Westmoreland, New Hampshire.
- Stonewall Farm. More than just a farm, Stonewall is also an educational center and a facility for hosting events, such as weddings and family reunions. In the produce department, Stonewall offers certified organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. A herd of 45 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows produces enough organic milk to be a supplier for Stonyfield Organic. It’s also available for sale in the farm’s year-round store, as is beef, cheese, and their Frisky Cow gelato. You’ll find them at 242 Chesterfield Road, Keene, New Hampshire.
- Phoenix Farm. Meat isn’t usually the first thing you think of when choosing a CSA, but if you’re ready to move away from store-bought meats, you might consider Phoenix Farm. They offer herd shares of pork and flock shares of chicken. The hogs on the farm are American Guinea Hogs. Smaller than standard commercial hogs, they are well suited to forage feeding and produce a flavorful meat. The flock consists of red broilers, a French breed developed specifically for the slow food movement. They are pasture raised and fed non-GMO grain. You’ll find Phoenix Farm at 350 Troy Road, Marlborough, New Hampshire.
- Archway Farm. The 80 acres of Archway Farm are home to a herd of heritage breed pigs. The animals are raised outside in small groups year round, where they forage, root, and roll in the mud—as pigs are wont to do. The animals are fed no antibiotics or growth hormones. Archway’s treatment of their animals has made them Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World, one of the most highly regarded food labels for farms striving to provide a humane environment for livestock. They sell fresh cuts of meat—pork chops, roasts, ribs—as well as bacon, ham, and salami. You’ll find them at 183 Arch Street, Keene, New Hampshire.