As we all try to eat local and organic our need for farmers markets and CSA’s has grown (pun intended). Finding a farmers market or CSA (community supported agriculture) is much harder than you would think. I personally know of at least two farmers markets in a 5 mile radius from my home but you cannot find out about them through any one central source. I found out about both of them through word of mouth.
How to find a farmers market:
- Call you local townships offices, all of these markets need to have permits in the towns they are in so you are most likely to find out about them through this source. They may not know the dates and time though so you need to get the name of the group that obtained the permit and contact them (also note some towns run them so you might be calling the organizer).
- Once you know the organization running the market email or call them to find out when it starts.
- Google or use another search engine to search “farmers markets” and your town or state. You may get linked to the website of the group organizing a farmers market, a farm selling at particular farmers markets, or non-profit groups that have booths at markets.
- Read your local paper or search for a blog about your area that might mention the farmers market.
- Ask your neighbors, maybe they know of one… sometimes there are really close to your home but in a more remote area that you do not drive by to know about.
- If there is not one in your area, start one! Call your town and find out how to start the process!
How to find a local CSA:
- Go to the Local Harvest website and enter your zip code. CSA’s register with the site which shows a summary the structure and offerings of the CSA. If the CSA has their own website there will be a link. They have vastly improved this website over the last two years and there are more CSA’s in general.
- Some other tips: decide what matters to you some CSA’s are not organic because they want to keep their costs down from certifying, also in my area it is hard (according to the farmers) to grow apples without a certain amount of pesticides. Some CSA’s require you to work as part of your membership and others will allow you to pay a higher price and not have to work. CSA’s are great local resources where you get to make friends with some of your like-minded neighbors… it really is a community event!
Most importantly once you find a CSA and farmers market tell people about it and if you had a hard time finding it let the organizers know because they want people to come too. We need to support this kind of agriculture to help protect our food supply and our health.
Are you a member of CSA? Do you go to a farmers market weekly for your fruits and vegetables?
Photo: From Flickr Commons US National Archives Photographer Ernst Halberstadt (1910-1987)