The term "community-supported agriculture" (csa) refers to the direct support by the local community for a farm, specifically to the purchase of a share of farm harvest. In practice, a consumer/supporter pays the farmer a sum at the start of market season, then receives a basket of produce each week for that season.   In this manner, consumers give a farmer some knowledge of demand, as well as money to invest in the season's crops. In turn, the consumer receives a promise of supply and shares a little of the risk of farming, if tomatoes or eggplant take a season off, for example. The shares will mirror vegetables' seasons: you will eat the best varieties I have found at their peak of flavor.

I do not recommend share purchase if you thrill to the hunt for your vegetables or do not like to experiment. Since I farm organically, there will be holes in some leaves. Nor is it really a way to save by purchase in bulk. Instead, I take care of shareholders first, which means you may get broccoli or fennel first, or the only Copia heirloom tomatoes. Organic farming in the hot, humid, frequently rainy U.S. Southeast is particularly difficult in late July into early September. Fungi destroy tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and other vegetables. I have not yet failed to harvest enough to supply shares or the farm stand, but those weeks can become repetitive.

CSA details, 2019 version:

•24 week term, Saturday pickup May 18 thru October 26; Tuesday pickup, May 21 thru October 28.

•$625 cost in two payments, $325 due at first May delivery, $300 the first week of August. This equals $26.04/week for produce grown organically under USDA certification in Loudon County. I will likely offer to extend shares into November/December on week-to-week payments.

•A csa share provides fresh produce in season. This means many leaves/greens in May and October, then summer produce, including tomatoes, okra, corn, eggplant, squashes and so on in between. However, no sweet potatoes in May or basil in November. See select/cook fresh for produce variety, seasons, and tips for simple cooking.

•I will give a wide range of vegetables, perhaps including ones you may not recognize. Farming is an ongoing surprise of pests and weather: a csa share does not lend itself to early menu planning. Ask me how to prepare the surprises, and enjoy. As a one-person operation, I work seven long days per week April-October, and so prefer to hold complexity and therefore substitutions to a minimum.

•Pick up at Market Square Saturdays, or at The Plaid Apron Tuesday afternoon. My regrets, but since I am a one-person operation and have to keep it simple, I cannot keep up with vacations, forgot-to-pick-ups, and so on. If you cannot pick up, ask a friend to share and to pick up. I prefer not to refund payments. If you wish, I will give you a receipt with each payment.

•In illustration, here are the contents of shares over the season for 2018 (I just record this every two weeks, given that many items are the same week to week): week 1-cabbage, arugula, red kale, chard, lettuce, tat soi, mustard, collards; week 3-cilantro, squash, lettuce, chard, te you, onion, beets, curly kale; week 5-onions, butterhead lettuce, Zucchini, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, potatoes, onions; week 7-roma, cherry, and heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet corn, lettuce, potatoes, arugula, and okra; week 9: sweet dumpling squash, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes (Cherokee, cherry, roma),watermelon, yellow squash, garlic; week 11-delicata winter squash, heirloom and roma tomatoes, eggplant, eggplant, sweet corn, potatoes, garlic, arugula; week 13-spaghetti squash, basil, lettuce, bell pepper, garlic, cherry tomatoes, okra, eggplant; week 15-chard, lettuce, okra, butternut squash, eggplant, roma tomatoes, green beans; week 17-broccoli, lacinato kale, okra, green beans, eggplant, collards, arugula, potatoes; week 19- green beans, lettuce, pumpkin, purple sweet potatoes, okra, garlic,curly kale; week 21-broccoli, cilantro, green beans, eggplant, orange sweet potatoes, iceberg lettuce, beets, butternut squash, garlic; week 23 -white sweet potatoes, carrots, bok choi, red kale, arugula, red lettuce, collards, fennel.

 Email me : john@hinesvalleyfarm.com to sign up or to ask questions.