If there are such things as “food deserts,” what we have during the summer in the Upper Valley is a “food rain forest.”
One way to take advantage of the summer bounty is by joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This is a great way to eat local, fresh fruits and veggies 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 simply a consumer to becoming a partner in the growing process—sharing the risk and the rewards of farming in New England.
The Upper Valley has more than 30 family farms to choose from. Find one that’s convenient for you, and you can look forward to whole season of fresh, local produce, meats, and more. We’ve listed five here by town, but you can find even more at the Vital Communities website.
- Plainfield, New Hampshire. It started with a single a crop of strawberries in 1976, and today Edgewater Farm works 60 acres of tillable farmland and 70,000 square feet of greenhouses. The farm stand is located just south of West Lebanon on Route 12A, but shares from Edgewater can also be picked up at two locations in White River Junction, Vermont, and at South Cove Center at Eastman Lake in Grantham, New Hampshire. Choose from cut flowers, gift certificates, prepaid debit card accounts, and more.
- East Thetford, Vermont. Located on Pavilion Road, just off Route 5, Cedar Circle Farm makes participating in farm shares easier than ever. There are no weekly boxes to pick up. No mounds of fruits or veggies that you’re not quite sure what to do with, increasing the likelihood of them going to waste. Instead, you sign up for a prepaid debit card that you can use at the farm stand however—and whenever—you like. Each CSA card comes with an automatic 10 percent discount, and new this year, there’s an option to sign up for weekly dinner shares.
- Hartland, Vermont. With three options to choose from, Hartland takes top prize for most CSAs per square mile in the Upper Valley. Technically, Clay Hill Farm doesn’t offer a CSA. What it does have, however, is pasture-raised, GMO-free, all-natural beef and pork that you can pre-order with a $100 deposit. HeartLand Farms, at 74 Gilson Road, produces organic vegetables, berries, fruits, nuts, and pork. Cedar Mountain Farm products include vegetables, milk, and beef. You’ll find them at 25A Linden Road, but if you work at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, you can ask for on-site delivery.
- Post Mills, Vermont. Crossroad Farm has been in business for 35 years, and like other family farms in the Upper Valley, they continue to adapt. They grow vegetables, strawberries, melons, flowers, and bedding plants, and they, too, have switched to providing farm shares via pre-paid debit card, available in increments of $100. To eliminate credit card processing fees, Crossroad asks that shares be paid for by check.
- Windsor, Vermont. The folks at Long Bridge Farm have a list of produce that seems as complete as what you would find at any supermarket. Their full and half farm shares run for 20 weeks and will be packed with everything from arugula to turnips to cut flowers. The farm stand is located at 30 Bridge Street, just west of the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge.
Do you live in the Monadnock Region? Check out the CSA options in your neck of the woods!