The summer harvest is coming to an end, and local CSAs are accepting new shareholders for the fall growing season.

Community Supported Agriculture, for those who haven’t been receiving boxes of food all summer, is a way for fresh food-loving locals to buy directly from area farmers, helping support their growing operations. And the term “shareholder” is key. As such, you take on the same risk as the farmers. A busted growing season for them means empty boxes of food for you.

Despite the risks, the program has caught on like wildfire in the Lowcountry with several farms offering CSA memberships since spring 2008. The main CSAs in the area are Legare Farms, Ambrose Family Farm, and Rita’s Roots/Thackeray Farms. These guys are all located out Wadmalaw/Johns Island way.

Summervillians should be pleased to learn that Pinckney’s Produce in Holly Hill is also offering a fall harvest CSA program and has expanded its program with delivery to Charleston and Summerville. For a complete listing of Pinckney’s Produce in-season vegetables and information about pick-up locations, delivery times, pricing, and membership click here or call (803) 492-3521.

All the farms are preparing for the fall growing season, which can be anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. The area’s late summer/early fall crops include beets, cucumbers, field peas, limas, string beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, eggplant, green onions, tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. Later, you can expect to see greens like cabbage, chard, collards, lettuces, kale, and spinach along with root vegetables and tubers like carrots, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and turnips plus pumpkins and winter squash.

In other exciting food news, the CSA model has expanded to include beef and seafood producers. Lowcountry Local First member Clammer Dave is offering clams and oysters to his CSA members in six-month seasons for $325, which includes four months of oyster production and six months of clam production. Meat lovers should check into CSA options with Cordray Beef, Legare Farms, and River Run Farms for beef shares.