The rising price of gas has trickled down to our grocery stores. Everything seems to be more expensive, but there is a way you can get cheaper produce and help support the local economy. The Black River Organic Farm supplies fresh produce for more than 100 locals through a program called CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. For less than $260, people who buy in, can get a box of fresh vegetables, once a week for 16 weeks. Black River Organic Farm owner Stefan Hartmann said, "A lot of people comment that it's kind of like every Thursday they get the box, it's like Christmas every Thursday, because they never know what's in the box." Kirsty Piper, CSA program participant, said, "Less energy is used to get the food from here to there. Your're supporting the local farm economy." Kirsty Piper picks her box up at a local co-op food market. She says there are lots of upsides that go beyond health. With rising gas prices, CSA saves her money. She and two coworkers share the cost and the produce. Piper said, "I figured out the cost and it probably cost me about five dollars a week for more vegetables than I can actually go through in the week. That's a lot less than you would be paying in the grocery store." Part of what makes the CSA program so attractive is not only the cost but the freshness of the vegetables picked right off the vine. The produce doesn't have to travel very far. Just about 40 miles from the farm to Wilmington. Hartman said, "Local, freshness and this direct connection with an actual farm, and a local farmer and that's something that's beyond dollars and cents." It's like a co-op. Customers buy in to the farm for four months. With that, they share in the harvest, or possibly the loss. This dry season has made it difficult for the Black River Farm. Still, the outlook is good. CSA is growing in popularity. The word of mouth is spreading like crazy. That's why we are in this situation where we actually have to turn people away," said Hartman. Piper also said she is also experimenting with recipes to include the exotic vegetables she gets from the Black River Farm.
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