BANGOR, Maine ― Everyone’s weekly schedule and food desires are different, so it only makes sense that everyone finds a farm share program that fits their lifestyle.
That’s the aim of the annual Bangor CSA Fair being held Sunday at Sea Dog Brewing Company. Community supported agriculture (CSA) shares are a way for people to have access to fresh, local produce and products all season long by buying a share with a farm in advance of the growing season, or in some cases, during the growing season.
“Every family or household is going to be different in terms of what they need,” Brittany Hopkins of Wise Acres Farm said.
There are a variety of CSA options, with different options offered by different farms. Sunday’s fair will represent a scope of CSA programs, from the traditional CSA featuring a box of in-season veggies delivered weekly to a credit share system that allows members to buy what they want, when they want, at the farmer’s market stand.
“Customers really like [the fair] because they have a chance to gather a bunch of information at once,” Clayton Carter, of Fail Better Farms, said.
Fail Better Farm and Wise Acres Farm are among the 13 farms that will be represented at the CSA fair. This is the 11th year that the fair is being held, organized this year by Bangor Greendrinks.
“This is one of the really best ways to support local agriculture because it’s not just going to the farmers’ market — it’s investing in the farmer for the entire season. So it provides them with more financial stability, but also makes sure that you have local food on a very regular basis,” Greg Edwards, chair of the Bangor Greendrinks board, said.
Both Carter and Hopkins have participated in the fair in past years and say the format of the event is not only educational for customers seeking to learn more about CSA options in the area, but it also allows farmers to connect directly with consumers.
“[The fairs] have been phenomenal,” Carter said. “For many of us, it’s the day that we sell the most of our CSA shares.”
While many may be most familiar with local agriculture through shopping at farmers’ markets, participating in a CSA offers benefits such as guaranteed access to fresh, local food all season long and you can buy shares that provide as much or as little food as needed.
For farmers, having a CSA program allows them to have working capital at the beginning of the growing season, a time when they’re not necessarily selling as much product as in peak season but have to buy equipment and other early season necessities, Carter said.
The fair is being held from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Sea Dog Brewing Company, following the winter farmers’ market that is being held in the morning.