by Lisa Tome
Randy Ciurlino will work for food.
Ciurlino, of Chesapeake City, works three hours a week and then takes home a bushel share of fresh produce at the end of the day.
"I'm a diabetic. I get a week's worth of vegetables with greens and stuff. I hated greens before I came to work here," said Ciurlino. "In the stores, God knows how long it (produce) has been out of the ground. Here, I harvest it and take it home the same day."
Ciurlino is a member of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Priapi Gardens in Cecilton. A CSA allows people to pay up front, or work a specific number of hours in exchange for small or large size shares of what's grown. Bethany Tuthill, niece of Vic and Mary Priapi and a staffer at Priapi Gardens, explained the premise behind a CSA. She said it allows people to help a farmer fund getting crops in the ground. In exchange for their payment, they get a share of the harvest. In addition to being able to pick up at the farm, people can choose to pick up at other sites on specified days.
Priapi Gardens has offered CSA for seven years or longer.
"We don't put anything in the boxes that we don't grow," said Tuthill. "What we're finding now is the word of mouth factor. We have a really great CSA and more people are joining. We have members that join year after year."
She also said that by joining, people have a closer connection with their food and where it comes from.
Judi Squire and her husband, Collier, have been working with the CSA since August. "The produce is great. You learn to eat a lot more greens," Judi Squire said. "It's fun to plant something and come back and see it in a week. You get surprised when you see it come up and see the fruits of our labor."
Cost for the summer CSA is $295 for a small share (family of 1-2) and $485 for a large share (family of 2-3). That harvest starts the first week of May and runs for 22 weeks. There is also a fall CSA which runs for 10 weeks.
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