HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >

Discussion

CSA's - Anyone use Sweet Earth Organic?

I'm thinking of joining a CSA this summer. I noticed past posts praising Angelic Organics. But I was looking at the helpful map at this website: http://www.sustainusa.org/familyfarme.... Sweet Earth Organic has a pickup spot just around the corner from me. Their website looks good: sweetearthorganicfarm.com. But I was wondering if anyone has any personal experience with them. If you think it's great or have complaints, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. While I don't have any experience YET, I signed up for the 2008 growing season with Sweet Earth. The pickup is closer, on Fridays, and it offers a half share, which will be better suited for me since I live by myself most of the week. I also like that Sweet Earth specializes in heirloom varieties of veggies.
    Also, I checked last week, and Angelic Organics was sold out of full-season 20 week long shares, which influenced my decision more than anything else. This is my first Chicago farm share experience, but I'll gladly check back in a year!

    1 Reply
    1. re: enevius

      Hello Enevius -- noted that you also signed up for the Sweet Earth Organic CSA -- have you recieved any information from them to date? Several others of us who sent in checks have not been able to reach them to determine if/when the program will be starting up. Would love to hear if you've had any other information!

    2. I've tried Sweet Earth Organic. Their shares are plentiful and the mix is good. This year I've signed up with Genesis Growers which delivers near my house in Chicago, so I'd suggest giving them a try for either their Summer or Fall Share. Their website is: http://www.genesis-growers.com

      I'd also recommend Home Grown Wisconsin: http://homegrownwisconsin.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: john5556

        It's time to start thinking about our CSA sign up again for the upcoming season. I really like Sweet Earth Organic because our shares are beautiful, plentiful, clean, and heirlooms. This will be my third year w/ Farmer Renee who is hard working and consistent. Yes, communication gets complicated sometime however, this is a Huge undertaking. For those commenting about delayed
        reply come May - this is planting season & that's when the farm is busiest. I know because I have a city garden as well. My feelings go w/ the farm which I intend to visit.
        Anyone else game to go see Sweet Earth this Season? Here's to a Healthy Growing season. Marilyn

        1. re: marilyn Schriner

          Count me in on that trip! I met Farmer Renee at the Chicago Green Market at the end of the season and want to travel up to that part of WI to visit her working farm. Desiree

      2. I also signed up for Sweet Earth's 2008 growing season -- actually, I sent my check in about a month ago but its not been cashed yet. I've tried to follow up with the farm, but haven't recieved a response (Farmer Renee was very responsive via email before I signed up). Has anyone heard anything yet for the year? I was concerned that perhaps with all of the rain/flooding, the farm may have been affected. Any news others have heard would be appreciated!

        2 Replies
        1. re: RebeccaC

          Hi Rebecca,
          I am in the same situation as you are, except we sent our check in at the beginning of March. No confirmation, no information. I finally called and reached her at the end of may, and she said to send an email. which she never responded to. i spoke to her june 13, and she said that we were going to be added to an email update list that weekend. she didn't mention the flooding, and said that she was planning to start deliveries at the end of june. she blamed spam-filtering for not responding to my emails. i tried to contact her through the website after i didn't hear anything, but got no response. we still haven't gotten any information...

          1. re: jessileejack

            Wow! That IS frustrating. I'd read similar posts on one of the CSA reco sites I'd visited, but the complaints had all been from a few years ago so I decided to take a leap of faith that things had improved. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed for now and keep calling/emailing. Please do let me know if you recieve any additional information.

        2. I am unfortunately on the same boat -my check was cashed in march and Renee stopped emailing me in early June after I offered my place as a pick up site in west town. I stopped by the Green City Market and everyone had sour faces upon me mentioning sweet earth CSA and wished me luck in getting my fund$ back! If anyone does get a hold of her please ask her to contact the rest of us....and if there is any other #, please pass on!!!! k

          7 Replies
          1. re: kusi

            Kusi -- thanks for the update. This just makes my heart sink. Like I said, I'd read a few posts like this from the past, but she was so nice over email, I really had hoped for better! Since my check hasn't been cashed yet, perhaps I'll try to have my bank put a stop on the check asap. FYI...I've been trying to contact the farm via phone all week and haven't been getting any answer. If I ever do, I'll post again!

            1. re: RebeccaC

              There is an update on the website now. They will probably start in July.

              1. re: RebeccaC

                hey folks,
                i had luck contacting renee on her cell phone yesterday 608 412 3317--she said she was getting so many calls that the farm's voicemail was full/not working. she said that the farm had been impacted by the flooding, but that she was hopeful that they'd pull through.

                i'm sympathetic, but the lack of communication started way before the flooding. our checks from march just got cashed last week. once, renee had mentioned an email list of subscribers that she was going to add us to--does anyone know if this exists?

                1. re: RebeccaC

                  I just talked to a woman (former organic farmer herself) who has friends who have subscribed to Sweet Earth's CSA-- apparently Renee is habitually late starting deliveries--- for the past few years anyway.

                  Like jessileejack, I'm sympathetic to the problems of organic farming, but the seriously, the problem here is the complete failure to communicate these problems to the people who have invested money into the CSA. Be late, have problems, struggle a little bit, but let us know what's going on!

                  I'm still hopeful that the rest of the year will wow me with spectacular produce, but doubt is starting to creep in. Too bad. This is my first try with CSAs and I'd hate it to be the last...

                  1. re: Genneaux

                    All -- thanks for the updates. Glad to hear there has finally been some communicaton. I actually called my bank and cancelled my check yesterday, after hearing the stories from others. I've got my fingers crossed that other CSAs might still be accepting new members for 2008. Keep me updated on how Sweet Earth turns out -- I'd love to support Renee in 2009 if all goes well for others.

                    You're right that a little communication could go a long way.

                    1. re: RebeccaC

                      I just signed up with Harvest Moon Organics (they were one of the few with spaces left for the summer). It is one of the more expensive ones ($695 for the full share), and I am splitting a full share with my husband and my brother (so roughly $10 per person per week).

                      Thus far, I have been happy and yet disappointed with my order. My disappointment was actually in the fact that my last two weeks had quite small orders. I understand this is a risk you take with CSAs, and I know that southern Wisconsin (where the farm is located) was affected by the floods, so while I am upset with the size, I can't really hold it against the farm. I can just hope it gets better as the season goes on.

                      I was pleasantly surprised the last two weeks with the variety of produce, however. Originally, I wanted to go with another CSA that gives a large range of fruit along with veggies, and also has a cheese share. Obviously, that one filled up, but Harvest Moon has included at least one locally made cheese each week, a baked good made using the produce, and some fruit. Not too bad for only expecting some asparagus and spinach. I live in North Center and the pick up is at Southport and Grace, which isn't too far from me. This is definitely a company worth checking out. http://www.harvestmoon-farms.com/

                      1. re: foodrocks

                        Oh...this is good to hear! Harvest Moon was actually my second choice -- I'd gone with Sweet Earth b/c they drop off nearer to my home. But Harvest Moon has a drop off by my office, so I just emailed them to see if they still have any room. My fingers are crossed!

              2. I used Sweet Earth last year and signed up again for this year. Farmer Renee had flooding like alot of Wisconsin farmers did last year, but she pulled through with enough veggies for the season. The veggies were absolutely delicious. It is exceedingly difficult to get a hold of Farmer Renee, and it seems like she needs some help with computers and updates. There is an element of faith involved. But she is a legitimate organic farmer who has been doing it for a long time. I commend her for continuing such a difficult business. Being a shareholder is taking a risk with the farmer. It protects them when they need it most. It gives me a share of the bounty when the season is good. Hopefully we will start to have legislation that attacks climate change head on in the near future. The veggies were excellent and I gained lots of energy last year.

                She did not cash my check for along time, either. I suggested paypal. I really think they need some volunteers to get her up and running with an efficient web-based payment/ communication schedule.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vivians

                  anyone hear anything more about when deliveries might be starting? i was hopeful that it might be early july, but haven't gotten any news since that june 25 update.