What is a CSA? A Community Supported Agriculture farm is a symbiotic relationship between a farmer and consumers, where the consumers pay for a share of the harvest and that supports the farmer and also the consumers accept the risk involved of crops lost due to weather or pests,assuming the farmer really does their part as well. The benefit is the consumer knows where his food is coming from how it was produced and the food is local and in season. The benefit to the farmer is the investment in his business is up front and in advance. A drawback would be there could be a ton of produce or conversely depending on the weather, very little produce. And it is in season so expecting melons or tomatoes in May might be disappointing.
A very good site explaining CSA and what to look for and pitfalls to avoid is Local Harvest.org
This link will offer answers to most of your general questions.
I highly recommend you click on this link and answer these 10 questions for yourself.
2013 is my 4th official year running a CSA and I have about a dozen shareholders. We do not have room for new members this year! I am always working hard to provide excellence in produce and service and I want to make sure my shareholders find that their investment was worth it for them and their family.
The way Terre Verde Farm CSA works is you pay the fee for the 20 week season well in advance and up front so that we have some capital with which to buy seeds, hire a tractor for tilling in the compost, buying flats of seedlings or any other expenses needed to get the gardens going on time, which begins the first of March! Then in Mid to late May I will notify all who purchased a share that we will be beginning and the date that we will start. I expect to start no later than the first week in June. Each"share" will receive a basket/box of produce in season, harvested just that day in most cases.
One of the changes I made this year was to limit the number of exotic vegetables I produce and increase the quantity of "standard " veggies. I found that even for myself, with the economy in such trouble that I am less willing to experiment or chance resources, so hopefully you and I will not get bored or sick of the same regular veggies. I still have tons of perennial herbs and a few annual herbs to brighten up and create interest in your boxes.
My mission for the Terre Verde Farm CSA is to produce high quality, nutrient dense, alive and vibrantly tasting vegetables and fruits using natural and organic methods and in a sustainable way. I particularly like heirloom veggies and fruits as they are open pollinated and fairly non-messed-with. Some of them are a little harder to raise or may not be as "perfect" as store produce but they make up for it with incredible flavors and that they are as natural as can be.