Lake Country is surrounded by farmland, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to buy into CSA, Community-Supported Agriculture.
In spring, participants buy a “share” of a farm’s produce, and, then throughout the growing season, receive locally-grown, seasonal vegetables weekly. While the health benefits may be obvious, there are other perks.
By buying into a CSA, “(You are) helping farmers manage their income by agreeing to pay for the season,” explains Karin Van Voorhees of Oconomowoc. Of course, participants assume some risk if a natural disaster or disease should damage the crop, but they also reap the rewards when the harvest is bountiful.
Belonging to a CSA provides opportunities to learn about the growing season — what crops are ready when. Often, farmers provide tips about caring for the produce. “It allows us to introduce farm-to-table and sustainable practices to our kids,” says Rebecca Seymour of Oconomowoc.
A share can contain everything from onions to beets to kale. The exact mix depends on what the farmer plants and what flourishes. Trying new vegetables and discovering ways to prepare them is half the fun. “We enjoy healthy cooking always, but these ingredients elevate everything to a new (level of) delicious,” says Kia LaBracke of Oconomowoc.
Most CSAs begin in mid-June and continue for 18 to 20 weeks depending on the crops. “Often you incorporate more produce in your meals than you might have done otherwise,” says Bartos. A CSA also provides personal interaction; consumers can touch the land, meet the people growing their food, and ask questions.
Shares usually are available in several sizes, and price points, from individual portions to enough to feed a large family. The amount and variety of produce in a CSA often eliminates the need to shop for their items elsewhere, freeing up more time to enjoy summer.
Regional CSA options:
Three Brothers Farm, Oconomowoc, threebrothersfarmcsa.org, 262-470-4429
LotFotl, delivers to Waukesha, Brookfield and Mukwonago, lotfotl.com, 920-318-3800
High Meadown Farms, delivers to Oconomowoc, Watertown, Waukesha, highmeadowfarmcsa.com, 920-699-3658
High Cross Farm, delivers to Waukesha, Menomonee Falls, New Berlin, highcrossfarm.com, 920-533-FARM
Full Harvest Farms, delivers to Brookfield, Delafield, Hartland, Menomonee Falls, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, Sussex and Waukesha, fullharvestfarm.com, 262-673-6760
BrynTeg Farm, Ashuppin, bryntegfarm.com, 262-567-9546
Serenity Farms, Oconomowoc, serenityfarmwisconsin.com