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Community supported agriculture season is here

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PEORIA (HOI) -- Are you looking to keep your kitchen stocked full of fresh, high quality locally sourced foods?  You may be in luck because we've find the perfect way.

It's called Community Supported Agriculture where consumers support local farmers by investing in food before it's produced or grown. 

"It's a partnership with the consumer and the farmer and they share the rewards and the risks of farming. Our members get 24 weeks of fresh vegetables picked right in season just for them," said Katie and Hans Bishop, CSA Manager of Prairierth Farm's in Atlanta, Illinois.

There are many different types of CSAs--some are year around, while some offer more than just greens. One local farm in Peoria, Haystack Gardens, is offering a new type of CSA--a subscription-like program, for eggs and fresh cut meats ranging from pork to chickens.

"They could get a variety of meats, they might get some ribs, some roasts, some pork chops, a variety of different cuts," said Farmer, Anna and Jeremy Estabrook of Haystack Gardens.

Though you can buy most of these products at your local grocery store, there are several benefits to buying these products from your local farmers. The Bishop Farmers says one of the benefits is that the product you receive is more fresh.

"The produce for a CSA or even a farmers market is picked within days of you getting it on your table and on your plate."

Additionally, the Estabrook Farmers say it is a good way to get the family together and have your kids eat their vegetables.

"It's a really good way to have our children and our families connected to food, where it comes from. I think it's a great way to get kids to eat healthy, when they pick themselves, they enjoy eating it."

Just like supporting other local businesses, when you buy directly through your local farmers, it keeps those dollars in your local community. The Bishop farmers say that CSA makes up nearly half of their revenue.

The next time you need to do a grocery run, consider making the trip to your local farmers instead or investing in their products ahead of time. 

To find out who your local farmer is and where you can get started with a community supported agriculture program, visit here.

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Audrey Leigh

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