We love farmers markets! With spring just around the corner, we’ll soon be able to walk into any town USA and shop the local farmers markets which have become major community-wide events. Our Missoula market opened this past weekend and the vendors and anxious locals braved rain, snow and finally the briefest ray of sunshine to take the chill off. For those of us in colder climes, it is at least encouraging to get back outside for a Saturday morning of fresh local coffee and cheese curd sampling, while deciding on the perfect veggie starts.

Industrial food may still dominate the culinary landscape but the farmers-market model works well for farms small enough to sell all or most of their produce direct to consumers and to visionary restaurants.

The CSA concept began in 1985 and is growing each year. When shopping at a farmers market, ask your favorite vendor if they’re part of a CSA program. If you aren’t familiar with the idea, here is how it works: the CSA provides a portion of the farm’s harvest each week through a purchased share. Typically, the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. It’s a good idea to ask for references from past CSA members before you sign up. CSA organizations like Local Harvest.org provide valuable information to learn more about CSAs before making the commitment to join one. Many CSAs also work with local and state-wide Food Banks to address the growing needs of Americans seeking emergency food assistance.

Here are some, but not all of our favorite CSAs and farmers markets in no particular order. Do you have a special CSA program or farmers market we can share with our readers?

CSAs

  1. Ailani Gardens CSA
  2. Cure Organic Farm
  3. Garden City Harvest
  4. Gladheart Farms
  5. Green Edge Gardens
  6. Windy Meadow Farms
  7. Yokna (patawpha) Bottoms Farm
  8. Zoe’s Garden

Farmers Markets

  1. Barton Creek Farmers Market
  2. Bluegrass Farmers Market
  3. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
  4. Forsyth Farmers Market
  5. Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets
  6. Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance
  7. Portland Farmers Market
  8. Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market
  9. Santa Fe Farmers Market
  10. The Dallas Farmers Market
  11. Union Square Greenmarket
  12. Williamsburg Farmers Market
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