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Farmers Say Now is the Time to Sign up for Fresh Produce Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Farmers Say Now is the Time to Sign up for Fresh Produce Program

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Liberty Mills Farm Liberty Mills Farm
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) - It may be winter, but farmers say now is the time to start planning for that spring crop. A popular farm program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to families is filling up fast.

The program is called Community Supported Agriculture. People buy shares from a farm early on in the growing season then get weeks of fresh produce right from the farm once it's picked.

"You know exactly where your food is grown, you get to come out to the farm and see your food growing so it's a wonderful relationship,” said Evie Woods, the owner of Liberty Mills Farm. “It's a great way to teach your kids that food doesn't come from a grocery store. It actually comes from a farm."

Woods said January and February are the time to purchase shares, which are sold starting in the beginning of the year so the money can help the farmers with the costs of planting and growing the crops.

There are often discounts for early sign up, and many of the CSAs in the region sell out long before spring.

Woods said when you participate in a CSA you usually take home produce that was picked only a day before.

"The benefit to the consumer is you get an absolutely great tasting product and it's also an excellent quality," she said.

You also get to try a variety of produce you might not get to try otherwise, and you can build a relationship with the people who grow your food, she said.

Another reason to sign up for a CSA now is that you can start getting information from the farm early and talk with farmers about what produce you want. Farmers can often decide what to grow based on demand.

"You're growing directly for people," Woods said. "It's like growing for your neighbors and friends, so it's a wonderful relationship for us as well to see people benefit directly from the food we're growing."

You can contact area farms to see if they have a CSA program that you can sign up for, or encourage them to start one.

You can also click here and go to "find CSA farm" to find a farm with a community supported agriculture program near you.
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