More N.C. residents turning to community-supported agriculture

Posted April 15, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated April 17, 2010 5:27 p.m. EDT

— Many people go to farmers’ markets when they want fresh, locally grown produce, but some people go directly to farms to get their vegetables.

Dee Bartlett, with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, says more people are turning to community-supported agriculture, or CSAs, to get fresh food. For a fee, consumers can purchase a share in a farm and get fresh produce each week.

Find community-supported farms in your area.

“It's more nutritious. Also, it’s more flavorful. You’re getting (food) within a few days of when it’s harvested,” Bartlett said.

Farmer Dwight Holcomb plans to start a food co-op in Johnston County next month, which will allow people to pay $300 a year to get fresh, local food.

Holcomb says his CSA will work a little differently from most. In addition to the subscription, his members will be required to work or offer land to increase production capacity.

Farmers say they like the guaranteed income, and vegetable lovers like the steady supply. Consumers can save money and time if they eat a lot of vegetables, but they need to look carefully at their needs.

“If you’re a single person and you don’t consume that many vegetables, it might not be in your best interest,” Bartlett said.

For those who want to sign up, check out different farms and get references. It’s important to note that consumers will only get food that's in season.

“Tomatoes, you may not have them in May when you have the strawberries,” Bartlett said.