Farms Encourage New Members to Sign Up for Weekly Produce - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Farms Encourage New Members to Sign Up for Weekly Produce

Posted: Updated: Jan 3, 2013 06:13 PM EST

We haven't seen the worst of winter yet, but central Virginia farmers are already looking ahead to springtime. For local food lovers, it's time to make plans.

Community Supported Agriculture Farms (CSAs) are already calling for new members. Members pay a fee to receive a share of the farm's crop. Each week, they can get in-season produce from the farm.

CSAs say this is a chance to learn about where your food comes from, and discover your roots. At Bellair Farm in Albemarle County, the farmers are hoping to have 370 members to share their produce with this year.

"You are what you eat so if you really understand where your food's coming from, how it's being grown, it can be healthier, it just kind of can fill out your life in a really meaningful way," said Jamie Barrett, manager of Bellair Farm.

They won't start pickup season until mid-May, but Barrett says now is the time to sign up.

"This is when we're hiring for next season, buying seed, and we really would love to know that our revenue is secure and that we can feel good about our budgets and we can really concentrate on our growing instead of our marketing," said Barrett.

Now is also the time for consumers to get to know the farms, and ask questions.  

"Charlottesville is lucky because there's lots of really great farms around so you want to find one that fits you and what you're looking for, so it's a really good time to do that research and find that," said Barrett.   

Kala Somerville has already signed up with Bellair for next year. 2013 marks her third year in a row.

"I have a 3-year-old and I've really enjoyed taking her to the farm and letting her see where the food is coming from and how it's grown, all while supporting our local economy," said Somerville.  

Farmers say it's a chance to get your hands in the dirt, and learn more about where you live and what you eat.

"For me, getting into farming was about kind of finding my roots and learning about the cycle of life and connecting to the seasons, and I think CSAs can really provide an outlet for people to explore that as much as they would like, as well as get great produce at a great price," said Barrett.    

Many CSAs offer farm visits and other programs, in addition to the produce subscriptions. Bellair Farm has potlucks, canning workshops, and opportunities to pick your own produce.


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