Agriculture: From the farm to your table

If the thought of picking up a container filled with farm fresh produce every week during the summer makes you giddy, a CSA just might be the right choice for you as a consumer.

CSAs -- or Community Supported Agriculture -- have become increasingly popular over the last few decades, particularly in the eastern portion of the United States. Now, there's one right at home.

Schoolhouse Farms in Borodino is in the process of jumpstarting the CSA movement once again in the Skaneateles and Otisco lakes region.

Owners Richard Malcolm and Rebecca Muir have historically offered their produce and other farmed goodies to the community at their farm stand and the Skaneateles Farmers Market. However, the CSA would provide members with a weekly offering throughout the summer for one price.

Muir said this will be the first year they are offering a CSA as it's a new venture for the green-thumbed couple.

"We just thought it was time to offer more," Malcolm said. "The farm stand is one outlet we know will work on a daily basis."

Malcolm and Muir started getting the word out about the CSA in January by using a variety of outlets -- primarily websites and blogs. The idea is to share their passion for growing with others.

But, getting the word out and having the concept catch on has been slow going this year despite the fact CSAs have been done in the area before, Muir said.

"They've been done in the area ... we know and that's why we're saying maybe it is just the economy," she said.

Economy aside, some people may dispute that the benefits of knowing exactly where their food comes from and how it is grown far outweigh the cost of securing those meals.

The way the CSA works is to build a relationship between the farmer and the community. Interested consumers would fill out an application to join, and if approved would purchase "shares." The cost helps to assist the farmer with production costs and in return, members receive a weekly portion of the harvest.

The Schoolhouse Farms CSA is designed to offer 16 shares, or four months of produce, for $550. Shareholders will not be asked or required to work the farm.

Some of the vegetables grown at Schoolhouse Farms include 54 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, six varieties of summer squash and beans, three kinds of peas, four varieties of potatoes, eggplant, Swiss chard, cabbage, greens and lettuces. There will also be a variety of melons and winter squash for the CSA, Muir said.

For more information about Schoolhouse Farms or to apply for the CSA, log onto schoolhousefarms.blogspot.com.

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