I promised I'd post again when CSA signup time rolled around. I just got an email from Brinkley Farms (http://www.brinkleyfarms.com ) about signups for the CSAs that are hosted at the RTI campus in RTP. The deliveries won't start until the April-May timeframe, but you're encouraged to sign up as soon as possible, to give the farmers the benefit of the upfront operating capital that's one of the major points of a CSA.
Here's a link to the RTI CSA website & specifically the signup info. Note that most/all of the farms who participate at RTI also deliver to the various local farmers' markets, so you have options as to when/where you pick up your weekly produce delivery.
There's also a similar program where several farmers deliver to Duke on Tuesdays: http://www.hr.duke.edu/farmersmarket/...
There are many other farms who do CSAs who don't participate in the RTI or Duke programs, but who deliver to the Carrboro & Durham (and probably Raleigh-area as well, I dunno for sure) Farmer's Markets:
Here's a brief CSA rundown:
You pay a farmer a certain amount upfront, usually working out to $10-20/week for the late-spring/summer/early-fall timeframe that the CSA operates in. In exchange, each week you get a box of fresh produce from that farmer. It's great for the farmer because it guarantees them a portion of income for the season upfront, and it's great for you, because you get the freshest possible produce. I myself really like it because it kinda forces me to eat my veggies, and to investigate new recipes based on whatever winds up in the delivery for that week.
Some farms also do meat/eggs/etc. With some farms, you take whatever you're given in the box (they all try to provide an assortment in the box every week -- these are by and large small family farms growing 10-30 different veggies per season, not big monoculture factory-farms). A few farms, such as Brinkley, will send a "menu" each week and you can pick from it.
I'm also partial to Brinkley because they do beef and pork as well, and their ground beef & their bratwurst provided some of the major highlights of last summer at our house. I believe they're also doing eggs this year, which I'm really excited about.
My husband and I signed up for Timberwood Organics (http://www.timberwoodorganics.com/) CSA a couple of weeks ago. They start in April and deliver to homes. Fruit/Veggies only, I think, which was actually a selling point for us since we're vegetarians. I also picked them because was impressed by the level of information on their website, and their online ordering option. This is our first CSA, after talking about it for years, so we're really excited for it to begin.
I live in Five Points in Raleigh, and we have recently secured a drop-off of two different CSAs on Whitaker Mill Road, at Bernard Street. It will start In April or May and the drop-off time is 4-6 on Thursdays. There are two to choose from. I'm so excited! They also found a dairy that does home delivery of milk and ice cream, etc.
I work for an organic certification agency, and can vouch that both Hilltop Farms (Fred Miller, located in Willow Spring, and delivering to Raleigh and Cary as well as farm pickup) and Harland's Creek Farm (Judy Lessler who, I believe, delivers to Durham and possibly Carrboro, is located in Pittsboro) are both 100% certified organic, if that makes any difference to you.
Those are great recommendations. Eco Farms (pickup at Carrboro, and perhaps this year, Durham farmer's markets) also has an excellent CSA program. John Soehner grows some of the best greens, lettuce, favas, mushrooms, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, onions, and squash in the area. After trying the garlic from every vendor at the Carrboro and Durham farmer's markets in a blind taste test, John's came out on tope... yes, I'm that kind of a garlic geek. Not sure if the website is up, but John's number is 919-357-8099. Just my two cents.
The first year I did a CSA I did Maple Spring Gardens. They are awesome people, super-friendly and accomodating, and their produce is top-notch (or at least it was 3 years ago). The main reason I switched was because it's a long haul from RTP back to the Carrboro Farmer's Market after work, and I kept almost missing my pickup.