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CSAs in the area

I'd love to subscribe to a CSA, although I'm a grad student and worried about the upfront costs. I saw the recent thread on the General Topics board about their pros and cons, and wondered if anyone here had any recs on well-managed CSAs that drop off in the western suburbs. Many thanks.

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  1. Okay, I'll bite. What's a CSA?

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      This definition of a CSA is off of Green Earth Institute's website:

      What is a CSA?

      CSA stands for "Community-Supported Agriculture." The concept is simple:

      * Each shareholder buys a "share" of the harvest, directly from the farm.
      * The fee goes toward the operating costs of the farm.
      * In return, the farm supplies a weekly share of produce.

    2. We subscribed to Green Earth Institute in Naperville last year and was quite impressed. We were on the bi-weekly schedule, which fit our budget & schedule more easily than a weekly pickup. The anticipation of what items would be ready & waiting for us every visit made it even more fun. They have recipes and information available on all of the produce, at no charge. And the people who run the farm are on-hand to answer any questions. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't experienced it!! Here's the link:

      http://www.greenearthinstitute.org/

      1. Angelic Organics is the most well known CSA around and appears to be very well run - good selection, reliable delivery, etc. Made more well known through the "Farmer John" documentary.

        The Reader had an issue a few weeks ago listing all of the local CSAs. http://www.chicagoreader.com/features...

        3 Replies
        1. re: wak

          My best friend and her husband belong to Angelic Organics CSA and have been very happy with it. I usually end up getting a bag or so of veggies every week and can attest to the freshness and quality, however I have no idea if they drop off in the Western 'Burbs as we are on the northside of the city.

          1. re: lulubelle

            All their dropoff locations are listed on their web site. Several in the Western Suburbs.

            http://www.angelicorganics.com/Vegeta...

          2. re: wak

            I've been delighted with Angelic Organics for the past two seasons. The produce is wonderful and it's a terrific value - You get huge amounts of organic vegetables for your money.

            There's a problem though - Their full-season shares usually sell out by February or March. If you are interested, check right away to see if there are any left. They do offer a 12 week share that starts later in summer and runs through the peak harvest season - That's what we did our first year as subscribers. It's a nice way to find out if a CSA share is going to work for you without committing financially to a full season. The 12 week subscribers get all the good stuff anyway - corn, tomatoes, peppers....

          3. I've been a subscriber to Angelic Organics almost every summer for over 10 years. The produce is really fresh and very delicious. However, we are a family of 4 and sometimes have trouble using it all every week. It can be an overwhelming amount of veggies (and I love veggies). If you subscribe, I'd recommend trying the 12 week share to see how you like it, and I'd strongly recommend that you find some people to share with. One summer we split a share between 4 people, and each had plenty. That might help you with your cost concern as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: wexstone

              wilson.edu/csacenter (a resource center at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA) lists CSA's throughout the country and was mentioned in Corby Kummer's recent Atlantic article about CSA's

              1. re: wexstone

                We kept up with the vegetables pretty well and there are only two of us. I can imagine it would be difficult for some people though. First, we ate little else. We went virtually vegetarian for the summer. Also, I was only working part time - It helps to have time to plan what you're going to do with that week's box of surprises. Finally, we make liberal use of the swap box, abandoning the stuff we don't like and trading the questionable stuff for things we do like. That helps.

                Using a 12 week subscription as a test run is sound advice though.