CSA - Community Supported Agriculture
I'd like to get some opinions about various CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms around the bay. I'm shopping around for a CSA and I'm interested to hear about people's experiences with produce selection, variety, cost, service, and how responsive the farms are to customer's suggestions - both good and bad. I read about Full Belly and Terra Firma... Terra Firma looks pretty good so far in terms of what I've read on the web.
Thanks for your input!
Community Supported Agriculture, Ranyee's definition:
People can subscribe to farms, and have fresh, seasonal produce delivered to their homes, or picked up at the farm or a set pickup point. This allows the farms to have income throughout the year, and the subscribers get a box of goodies. Hopefully, the farms grow produce organically, and use farming methods that help sustain the environment. Seems to me like a good deal for everyone.
I definitely would recommend Terra Firma, everything was crisp and fresh and usually ready to eat. (You have to watch out with the corn tho, because just about every ear you open has a worm in it). They send out a newsletter with recipes and ideas of what to do with the veggies in the box, some of the recipes are really good, some not... I went to one of their open-farm days and met everyone and got a tour of the farm, they seem very committed in what they are doing. Whatever it is, they are not The Box, which packs the same "organic" items that you can pick up at Safeway.
I did it for a couple of years. Farm Fresh was the organization. I got one box every other week. It came with a newsletter and recipes. I gave them a list of what I didn't want which they abided by. It was delivered to my office every other Wednesday, there was no delivery charge because there was a whole group of us doing it. I don't recall how much it cost.
I stopped because too much food was going bad. It was kinda amazing because it never looked like that much but somehow I had a tough time cooking it all. The good thing was that I was "forced" to use veggies I didn't normally buy.
We subscribe to both Farm Fresh and Eat Well Farms. We have Farm Fresh deliver to our house (costs $5 extra - think we're paying $27 a basket) and Eat Well drops at a neighborhood house (works out to about
$19-20 a basket). Eat Well we pay up front for 6 or 12 baskets, Farm Fresh invoices us each month.
The Eat Well baskets are a bit smaller than Farm Fresh, but I like their produce a touch better. It's definately a lot of produce and hopefully forces you to cook (and to try stuff you'd never buy on your own).
I like always having fresh produce in my house without having to go to the store. Farm Fresh does let you tell them what you don't want (ie asian pears) and they'll substitute something else. Eat Well doesn't at this point.
Let me know if you have any more questions - at least about these two farms!