Howard County Farmer’s Markets will not allow certain community supported agriculture products to be picked up during the market hours if the products are not covered by the farmer’s market blanket insurance policy.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a method of food distribution directly from farms.
Kathy Zimmerman, an agricultural spokeswoman at the Howard County Economic Development Authority, said the issue only affects one CSA, the Orchard Country Produce Farm from Gardner, PA, which is a new addition to the four other farms that are part of CSA programs in Howard County.
According to Zimmerman, the farmer's market board members are still working with that farm to address the issue, because the farm is unfamiliar with the area and its policies.
“The main reason is because they are putting in things like canned tomato juice and unpasteurized apple cider, and we can’t allow that because it’s not included in our policy,” she said.
Anyone receiving CSA shares from that particular farm can still pick up their shares either before or after market hours.
The insurance policy, which was issued by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, aims to protect consumers in case they may become sick from produce they buy at markets, Zimmerman said.
The demand for locally grown produce has increased “exponentially,” Zimmerman told the Howard County Times, because the food is fresher and nutritious, which has added to the popularity of CSA's.