If you are looking to save money on your weekly grocery bill buying food from local farmers might be a good idea, but what about taking it one step further and actually buying a portion of a local farm?
CSA or Community Supported Agriculture programs work like this: members of the community pay the local farmer up front and then during the growing season the farmer delivers a share of each week's harvest.
The Cameron Place CSA in Palisade has been selling shares of their farm for the last five years and according to Cameron Place employee Josh Harding, is pretty productive, “This year we currently have 160 shares which includes about 300-400 people in the grand valley that we are feeding off just seven plus acres.”
If you enroll in the CSA program at The Cameron Place you get 18 weeks of produce starting the first week of June through the first week of October. Then you can either pick up your food from the farm or they have pick up days where they drive in and deliver to customers in both Grand Junction and the Redlands.
The Cameron Place offers three different size shares: quarter half and full. They range in price from $300 to $700 a season or $16 to $35 a week. It might sound like a lot to pay up front but employee Mitzi Harding says it could save you in the long run, “I looked at what we sell the same vegetables for at the farmer's market and the quarter share is a $400 value which you pay $300 for, the half share is $1000 value and members pay $450, and the full share is a $1600 value which you pay $750 for. If you are a consumer who values fresh, local, organic food you're getting way more bang for your buck.”
CSA programs don't just save you money they also help the environment and our local economy, “The concept of CSA is to bring people back to their local food systems and consume closer to where they live. There is less gas put into it and the food's fresher,” says Josh Harding.
The Cameron Place also offers fruit shares which you can add to your vegetable share for about $100. And included in your share every season is something they call pick your own. There are some items like peas, strawberries and even flowers that the farm doesn’t have the time and labor to pick so CSA members can come to the farm and pick those items themselves.
CSA programs cater to consumers who want their food grown cross town instead of cross country and gives them a chance to meet the people who grow their food. If you are interested in buying a share at The Cameron Place you can do so through the end of this week. For more information call 970-778-1347 or click the link below this story.