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Stillman's Farm CSA - any good?

s
snorkmaiden May 3, 2004 02:39 PM

After reading the thread below about CSA, I checked out the CSA website and found that Stillman's Farm delivers to J.P. They still have shares available at $250 per half and $400 for whole from June-October. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's had prior experience with them.

Link: http://www.homepagez.com/stillmans/

  1. s
    slowcookedbeef May 6, 2004 08:20 AM

    We subscribed for awhile but skipped last year. The people are wonderful and we were very satisfied with what we got. They did a nice job of providing variety (including the occasional oddball choice, which we loved).

    However, we were less enthralled with the logistics of getting the box. The pick-up is in the Fleet lot on Centre Street on Saturday AM, which is a zoo. And the demand for the farmstand far exceeds the supply of clerks and items. So, it was a hassle from time to time to get our goods and get out.

    Overall, I would encourage you to give it a try.

    1. 9
      9lives May 6, 2004 10:13 AM

      I'm a regular customer at theStillman Farm stands at the downtown farmers markets..good quality. No experience with the CSA delivery service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 9lives
        k
        kristinayee Apr 1, 2009 05:53 AM

        We just signed up for the Stillman Farm meat CSA. And by god, it's fantastic. They park their van right outside Clear Flour Bakery (not, JP, I know, but I don't have any experience with JP specifically) and you just walk up and pick up your share. We signed up for a 1/4 share which is 5 lbs. I think next time we might do the 1/2 share and get 10 lbs and just freeze some portions. We blogged about our first pick up in our blog (check out my profile for the link) and you can see some pictures. We will continue to post pictures to the blog of each monthly pick up for anyone who is interested.

      2. k
        keencook1 Apr 1, 2009 08:24 AM

        You may want to check their web site to be sure, but I believe they are doing CSAs (both meat and veggies) in Quincy this year. I've done their meat for a while now, and absolutely love it (and am switching to pick up in Quincy in June because of the logisitics mentioned previously). Their veggies are good, too; good variety.

        1. m
          mwk Apr 1, 2009 02:04 PM

          Hi,

          We did Stillman's CSA for the first time last year, in JP. Although I live in Quincy, JP was the only Saturday option. It was a bit of a hassle driving to JP every Saturday to pick up, and it is a zoo there. However, I was very happy with the boxes themselves. They had a decent variety, more so in the spring than the late summer, when it was mostly corn, tomatoes and eggplant.

          However, my work location has changed and I switched this year to pick up in Quincy. I think it's worthwhile from a value standpoint, and of course everything was generally fresh and tasty. We had one incident with some pre-packaged spinach, and a couple of corn ears which had some rot in them. But over all, everything was good, and I was obviously pleased enough to sign up again this year.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mwk
            p
            pasta Apr 1, 2009 02:17 PM

            I have a half share in their meat CSA and have been very pleased with the quality and variety. The beef is truely 100% grass fed ( not corn finished). I am not a member of their vegetable CSA but do buy alot of produce from them which is great stuff. The family is very nice to deal with. I highly recommend giving them a try.
            I agree the JP pickup can be a bit of a zoo, but I have found that if you get there at 11:45, it works out fine.

            1. re: pasta
              k
              kristinayee Apr 2, 2009 06:31 AM

              Hi there, thanks for sharing about your 1/2 share - we just signed up for a 1/4 share. I was wondering, what do you normally get for cuts of meat in your 1/2 share? I heard that with the 1/2 share (10lbs) you can get larger cuts of meat like whole roasts or whole chickens that you can't necessarily get in a 1/4 share as a whole chicken would take up the whole 5lbs! We did get a small pork tenderloin in our first installment, but I'd be interested to learn what a 1/2 share gives in terms of diversity. Thanks!

              Kristina Y.
              www.thevitullos.blogspot.com

              1. re: kristinayee
                n
                newyorker1 Apr 2, 2009 09:25 AM

                I had a meat 1/2 share during the last 6 mo cycle; off the top of my head over the course of 6 months I received: a couple whole chickens (one was 11 lbs! I'm working through that one right now...), a couple racks of ribs (I forget what kind) several approx 1 lb packages of ground pork/beef, some lamb stew meat, several smoked and non-smoked ham steaks, several packages of bacon, several packages of sausages, a lamb steak cut from a leg of lamb.

                I thought the quality was excellent, but didn't renew as my freezer was full of all the previous six months of meat. I think for my habits buying from them or other local purveyors at farmer's markets as needed probably works out a bit better, but joining the meat and produce CSA's were good for encouraging me to be more experimental and less tied to recipes in my cooking.

                1. re: kristinayee
                  p
                  pasta Apr 2, 2009 11:36 AM

                  and adding to newyorker1 list of what was in a 1/2 share , I also recall rib eye steak, flank steak, breakfast sausage, pork belly, pork chops, lamb shoulder and rib chops, a large smoked ham and a small fresh ham, pork tenderloins and country ribs. The mix depends largely on what animals are ready for market.

                  There are 2 of us and most months we went through it, although sometimes I would have a few things left over. Last month I had some sausage and ribs left over, so I used them to make a ragu before picking up the next package.

                  I also agree with newyorker that it encourages you to experiment. I made bacon from the pork belly which was delicious, but if I saw pork belly in the market, I doubt I would have purchased it .

            2. jdubboston Apr 2, 2009 06:55 AM

              I have done the Stillman's CSA for multiple years and really have enjoyed it - great quality, good amount for the $$, plus Glenn & the others are a joy to see each week.

              I pick up in JP on Tuesday afternoons - not sure how late they are or if your work schedule is flexible & you can do a mid-week p/u, but it's always easy then.

              Highly recommend it!

              1. l
                lescaret Apr 3, 2009 09:33 AM

                My wife and I did the vegetable CSA with Stillman's two years in a row but then didn't renew. Our pickup location was Leominster. The problem we had with them was that the greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc.) were consistently wilted. Not completely bad, mind you, but wilted in such a way that, if you were choosing in a grocery store, you would certainly not buy them. That annoyance was compounded by the fact that their farm stand offerings seemed, on the whole, of a higher quality than what went in the CSA box.

                We really wanted to like them because the pickup was convenient for us and the price seemed right but ultimately we weren't satisfied with the quality of the produce we received.

                1. Allstonian Apr 3, 2009 09:44 AM

                  I was a member for 8 years, starting out for several years in JP and then shifting to the Sunday Brookline pickup when Kate and Aidan started that one. I was very happy with the quality of produce, and especially the mix of veg and fruit, which has only improved in the past few years. (I especially liked the peaches we got from them - I love local peaches!) I had not even known until I started reading comments about other CSAs on this board that some farms offer separate subscriptions for fruit and for veggies. The Stillman's shares pretty much always have at least one fruit item every week throughout the season.

                  I did not subscribe for this year, largely because I had come to miss the ability to shop the farmer's markets during the summer and fall - the Stillman's box was great, but there are only two of us and we had to work to use up everything we got each week. I will probably re-join again next year.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Allstonian
                    a
                    abrox Apr 3, 2009 10:27 AM

                    Just signed up for the Brookline pick up. Sounds like a nice variety of veg/fruit! Looking forward to the bounty!

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