How to Pick a Farm – FairShare CSA Coalition

Is a CSA Right for You & Your Family?

Do you enjoy cooking at home, or want to learn? Do you like the flavors and challenges of seasonal eating and the idea of committing to your food producers? Then CSA is right for you!

How to Pick a Farm:

  1. Use the tools at csacoalition.org

    Our website has lots of great resources to assist in your farm selection. Learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) through our Farm Guide. Then, explore share types with the interactive Farm Search tool and find pick-up locations convenient to your home, workplace, or community.

  2. Get to know your farmer

    Kat Becker of Cattail Organics

    Become familiar with the farms in your community by clicking on their profiles, reading about farm offerings and their philosophy, and seeking out logistical information regarding pick-up locations and shares.

  3. Contact the Farmer

    As you narrow your search, visit the farm’s website and Facebook page, and then contact the farm if you still have questions. Farmers welcome inquiries from potential members.

  4. Sign up

    Fill out the farm’s CSA sign-up form and send a check to start receiving fresh food and priceless farm and cooking information.

Factors to Consider

Farm Location

Consider how often you want to be involved in on-farm activities and how far you would be willing to drive.

Farm Size

Some CSA farms have small operations with fewer than 10 families enrolled, while others are large feed more than 1,000. This means that some farms grow exclusively for their CSA members and other farms also sell at farmers markets, stores, etc.

Price of Share

Purchasing a CSA share can often save you money on high quality, organic food. CSA also offers the experience of community, connectedness and education. When comparing price, remember that each farm has different season lengths, crops, share sizes, etc. The value of your commitment to local farms and their commitment to growing high quality food is priceless.

Payment Options

There are several ways to make purchasing a CSA share more affordable. 1) Many farms offer payment plans so that you can pay for your CSA share over several months, rather than all at once. Ask your farmer for details on what options they offer. 2) For eligible households, FairShare will provide half the cost of a share, up to $300, through the Partner Shares Program. Find out details on eligibility and the application process here. 3) Some health insurance providers offer rebates on CSA shares. Learn about which providers offer incentives here.

A standard-sized October share from Roots Down Community Farm

Length of Season/Number of Deliveries

The length of the season and number of deliveries varies among the farms. Most begin in May or early June ending anywhere from October to February. Those with longer seasons utilize season extending devices such as hoophouses and also focus on winter storage crops in the cooler months.

Pick-Up Site

Almost all of the farms have sites in larger cities, such as Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Dubuque, the Twin Cities, and more. Many also have pick-up sites in outlying towns and on their farm. Consider how important it is to you to have a pick-up site located near your home, school, or work. Find a CSA farm or pick-up site near you by using our Farm Search tool.

Delivery Day

The days and times that farms make their deliveries varies.

Types of Produce and Other Products

Most CSA farms offer a wide variety of seasonal produce. Some also have specialty items, which are included in the share or can be purchased at additional cost. These may include flowers, honey, meat, apples, cheese, grains, wool/yarn, and eggs.

Special Farm Features

Each farm has its own unique characteristics. Get to know the unique aspects of the farms on their Farm Profiles, and find one that is right for you!

Below are additional resources to find a CSA farm that’s right for you:

FairShare CSA Coalition

FairShare CSA Coalition