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Now is the time to order your CSA summer share

The 1-acre Common Roots Urban Farm in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood sells full and half shares of its fruits and vegetables during the growing season.

The 500-acre Porter Farm in Genesee County does, as well, only in a sales and distribution region that stretches from Rochester to Buffalo and toward the Southern Tier.

Farmers & Artisans Market in Snyder works with several farms in Niagara County to provide an array of produce in various shares, including a $20-a-week portion for 20 weeks.

The three are among at least 12 farms in the region that tout Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Most will begin to make shares available in May or June, but now is the time to buy them. Those who choose to do can assure a steady supply of fresh, local, healthy foods to feed themselves and their families.

"The lack of knowledge about healthy eating spans from food deserts to corporate executives who come to our stand and say, 'Yeah, we know we shouldn't be going to McDonald's two or three times a week,' " said Terra Courtney, co-owner of Common Roots.

Want to eat healthier? Try one of Western New York's farm shares

Some CSAs require members to arrange pickup at their farms, though Common Roots, Porter Farm and Farmers & Artisans are among local agricultural producers that also offer to drop off shares at workplaces where a sufficient number of employees are willing to participate.

Porter Farms, for instance, drops off shares weekly to Independent Health, BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and The Buffalo News.

Farms that offer CSAs generally provide recipes for the seasonal bounty they provide, either in the form of newsletters or online.

Farmers estimate costs are about 30 percent less than you would pay in a grocery store or farm market.

"A lot of feedback I receive from customers is that they're spending more time planning meals together as a family, more time preparing the meals, and their children are being exposed to vegetables they wouldn't necessarily have eaten otherwise," said Emily Porter, Swarner, who handles promotions and marketing for the second-generation family farm that supplies about 800 families with produce. "Someone is going to benefit from that food."

CSAs IN WNY

Owner Julie Blackman and her staff run a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) program out of Farmer's & Artisans on Main Street in Snyder. (Sharon Cantillon/News file photo)

Arden Farm*

1821 Billington Road, East Aurora

theardenfarm.com; 341-1268

Becker Farms

3724 Quaker Road, Gasport

beckerfarms.com/csa; 772-2211

Common Roots Urban Farm**

309 Peckham St., Buffalo

commonrootsurbanfarm.com; 292-9109

Greg's U-Pick Farm**

9270 Lapp Road, Clarence Center

gregsupick.com; 741-4239

McCollum Orchards**

248 N. Adam St., Lockport

mccollumorchards.com; 730-0703

Native Offerings Farm*

8501 Maples Road, Little Valley

nativeofferings.com; 257-3006

Porter Farms*

5020 Edgerton Road, Elba

porterfarms.org; 585-757-6823

Promised Land CSA at the Oles Family Farm**

2112 County Line Road, Alden

promisedlandcsa.com/csa; (585) 599-3462

Root Down Farm**

5850 Shimerville Road, Clarence Center

therootdownfarm.com; 949-1204

CSA is full; you can add name to waiting list

Sinemus Farm

6959 Norton Road, Elba

sinemusfarms.com; 940-1386

Thorpe's Organic Family Farm*

12866 Route 78, East Aurora

thorpesorganicfamilyfarm.com; 655-4486

Tioga Valley Farm**

7320 Davis Road, West Falls

tiogavalleyfarm.com ; 697-6442

* Certified organic family farm

** Uses organic methods

Learn more about organic farming at nofany.org

Learn more about CSAs localharvest.org/buffalo-ny/csa

Urban farms, beacons of self-reliance, change the Buffalo landscape

email: refresh@buffnews.com

Twitter: @BNrefresh

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