CSAs connecting fresh produce to consumers

CSAs growing in popularity in La Crosse region

The warm weather we’ve had means growing season is almost here, and one particular kind of farm is gaining popularity in our area.

Connecting consumers directly to farmers is exactly the point behind Community Supported Agriculture or CSA’s.

It’s also about bringing fresh food directly to your table, which farmers say is both healthy and convenient.

Sitting in the heart of the Driftless Region near La Farge is a CSA that is for everyone.

“It’s where you can buy a membership for a farm,” Jill Varney, owner of Small Family Farm said. “A membership could be a full season’s worth of produce, a weekly box delivery, or every other week box delivery.”

Since 2007, Varney and her family have owned the farm, a place where organic produce is grown and delivered to drop sites for customers every week during the summer and fall months.

“There’s a lot of your familiar items like your carrots, potatoes, your beans and sweet corn, but some less familiar items, maybe like kohlrabi, or bak choi or like rutabagas,” Varney said.

The family originally served just 60 customers, but has since grown to around 450 across the state.

“Now we are totally supported by just farm income, and it’s a good life,” Varney said.

CSA’s or Community Supported Agriculture has been around for a while, but Varney said a new trend is catching on, especially in the La Crosse area.

“Lots of workplaces, like Gunderson La Crosse or Mayo La Crosse, are interested in having CSA farmers deliver produce to their workplace because it’s an employee benefit,” Varney said.

Varney said it’s not just about eating healthier, it’s also about creating a connection with where your food comes from.

“A lot things people value the most about their CSA experience is that relationship with the farmer. Knowing the farmer, because we are just so disconnected in our food system,” Varney said. “There’s a lot of transparency with where your food is coming from.”

Boxes of fresh produce are delivered to drop-off locations every Wednesday.

Customers usually receive 8-12 different vegetables depending on the season.

Twenty weeks’ worth of boxes will cost you about $600. Every other week delivery will cost about $370.

If you would like to learn more, head to their website, smallfamilycsa.com.

You can sign up to become a member at any time.