Tuesday December 24, 2013 | 07:07 AM

Need a last minute holiday gift? Sign up someone you love for a share in one of the 180 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs available from Maine farmers. Between early June and the end of October shareholders in a CSA have direct access to fresh produce from a local farm. Some farmers who have seen the value of the basic CSA model have expanded to offer meat, raw milk, cheese, eggs, maple syrup, honey, homemade baked goods and flowers. The idea of a CSA is that members pay up-front for a share prior to the growing season, providing the local producer with much-needed capital and giving them a market and guaranteed income. In exchange, consumers get seasonal produce, an intimate connection to the people growing their food, and the knowledge that their investment is helping support the small family farmer. CSA plans vary in product, price, share size, duration and distribution.

To find a CSA farm in Maine check out the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s database here. For more information on a CSA , including tips and questions to ask when signing up, check out Local Harvest’s website

Live in or around Portland and love seafood? Consider signing up a family member or gifting yourself a share in Salt and Sea’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF). The model is the same as that of a CSA, but instead of produce the shareholder has weekly access to fresh, locally caught, sustainable seafood. 

(photo of Kris Kringle by unknown)

About this Blog

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About the Author

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, deliciousmusings.com.

When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse.

In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more.

Sharon can be contacted at kitchens.sharon@gmail.com or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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