Like so many great ideas, CSA began in the '80s. In, of all places, New Hampshire. The idea behind community-supported agriculture (yup, CSA) was to put the power back in the farmers' control—and also to better connect consumers to seasonal vegetables rather than allowing people to select their foodstuff based on their immediate tastes—whether that is strawberries in the winter or peaches in early spring.
Stop me if you already know this (or, jump to paragraph four): Consumers buy a share at a local farm and, in return, receive a box of fresh, seasonal vegetables, usually weekly, and whatever is picked right then. Using this practice, farmers can jibe better with what is appropriate and best to grow for the season, instead of trying to chase down a craving. For users, it is a fun way to sample whateverthe fields are kicking up right here, right now.
Like a blind-tasting farmers' market delivered in a box, CSAs have taken root (ahem) over the past several years. Bend is still a few years behind the curve, but some admirable CSAs in the area are opening up their seasons. SW
Rainshadow Organics, 70955 NW Lower Bridge Way, Terrebonne, (541) 279-0841
One of the bigger and more advanced CSAs, Rainshadow provides some four dozen varieties of vegetables as well as flowers and meats. Beets, snap peas, carrots. Small shares (8-10 different items), $450; large (about two grocery bags weekly), $600. Delivered for pickup at farmers' markets in Bend, Sisters, Redmond.
The Last Stand, 900 NE Peters Rd., Prineville, (541) 771-1923
Big supplier of garlic, onions, herbs and eggs. Sounds like a great omelet. $525 for 20 weeks; an additional $100 for delivery to Central Oregon Locavore in Bend.
Fields Farm, 61915 Pettigrew Road, Bend, (541) 382-8059
The staples: basil, beets, melons and onions. From mid-May through October (with a bag of food for Thanksgiving). A share in the 2013 season is $630, picked up at the farm; a small share is $320.
Volcanic Veggies, 1201 NE 2nd, Bend, (541) 728-3355
Strawberries, kale and fish (!), $600 for an entire year (pickup every other week).