The Mathews couple raise their own poultry and vegetables and only go shopping for things they can’t grow themselves. They plant vegetables in the ground inside a large "high tunnel" greenhouse so they can eat freshly-picked produce all year long, and the fertilizers they use are all homegrown—chicken manure, compost, wood ash, pine straw—anything natural that happens to be on hand.
Not only do the Andersons feed themselves, but as a CSA farm they provide vegetables for up to 50 other families throughout the growing season. This year, although poultry is not part of the farm’s CSA program, customers will also be able to pre-order eggs and pasture-raised, soy-free heritage Delaware chickens and Bourbon Red turkeys.
With CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, the customer pays a set price at the beginning of a growing season and, in return, receives his or her fair share of whatever the farm produces throughout the season. The farmer knows how much food he or she has to produce to meet the needs of the shareholders, so there’s less guesswork—and less risk for the farmer.
For example, said Julia Anderson, "If there are 50 shareholders, you know you need 300 pounds of beets to last over the spring and summer season." She said that a CSA partnership between customers and farmers helps ensure a local food source that’s fresh the day the customer picks it up.