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What is a Traditional CSA?

What is a traditional CSA Share?


A CSA, which stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” is a simple idea (very much like buying a magazine subscription) in which a “Member” buys a “Share” of a farmer’s harvest at the beginning of the growing season, and then comes to the farm each week to pick up their “Share” of the farm’s vegetable harvest. Sometimes that share is bagged or boxed and delivered to the shareholder.


This up front purchase is quite helpful to the farmer because a farm’s expenses are pretty much incurred in the first 3 months of the year. In those early months of the year nothing is ready to sell.


A key component of the traditional CSA is the idea of risk sharing. As a consumer, by paying up front for your entire season’s worth of produce you are bearing the risk of any and all crop failures. Most CSA farms require shareholders to sign a risk acknowledgment.


A CSA share consists of usually 5-15 items each week. The share is typically selected by the farmer and generally cannot be modified. In other words you get a “package” of items each week. The items change as the seasons change. The items in the share reflect the true seasonal nature of farming.


Another key component of a traditional CSA is that if you don’t pick up your share each week you loose it. Most CSA’s do not offer “skip weeks” for when you’re on vacation or just can’t get to the pick up on time.

Most CSA’s require a single upfront payment at the beginning of the season for the season’s worth of food. Sometimes they’ll offer an option to pay in installments. In our area the up front cost of a traditional CSA is usually around $700.


How is JACK’S Pay-As-You-Go CSA different?


Pay-As-You-Go eliminates your large up front payment.


Pay-As-You-Go eliminates your risk of crop failure because we adjust the price and items each week.


Pay-As-You-Go allows you to decide when you want a share and when you don’t. If you want to skip a week or two go ahead. You won’t be penalized because you haven’t pre-paid at the beginning of the season.


Yes, it’s probably not the best business decision from our side but we sure do sleep good at night!


Read more about our pay-as-you-go CSA here.



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