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2010 CSA Choice

Hi All - I'm about to pull the trigger on a 2010 share, and am debating between Picadilly Farm and The Farm School CSA. Anyone with recent summer/fall CSA experience with either one want to share?



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  1. Great time for this topic. I can't report on those choices but can talk about my Atlas Farm CSA.
    They have a Farmers Market stand share at Copley. You pay them by check and then use up the share at the market to pay for whatever you decide to buy each week.

    For $90 you get $100 of produce, $250 buys $300 and $500 buys $600 in goods. Last season you could renew it when you ran out of credits.

    In addition to the discount, they also had specials for CSA customers most weeks. One week it would be a great price on strawberries, another it was broccoli. You got more of what was abundant and seasonal. The team at the stand would often remind me and grab some for me if I hadn't noticed the chalkboard specials and wanted them.

    This worked for me because we are a family of two and I have to visit a lot of different farmers markets for writing and photography assignments. Naturally, I see things I want at every stand I visit. And, I like to support more of the farms. But, having a share at my home market was wonderful.

    Alas had superior organic produce. It's so beautiful that I often spend time photographing it. They grow works of art and I really enjoyed being part of their program and will do it again this year.


    2 Replies
    1. re: BostonZest

      Penny- I assume that this is season long, ie the $300 credit is for all season, not per month, right?

      1. re: cassoulady

        Yes, you can use it all season. Sorry for the delay in reply, I didn't see the question until tonight.


    2. hi tia! my husband and i did picadilly farm last summer/fall. it was amazing. i can't say enough wonderful things about it. last summer was the first time we had done a CSA and really the first time i had ever even heard of one. we're doing it again next summer for sure. i've never eaten better in my life. and even got to try some veggies i had never had before. the quality of the produce was amazing and i think very reasonably priced for what you get. we did a pickup in arlington right near our apartment. we were worried that it was going to be too much food for 2 people but we were able to eat it all (we eat alot!). i also loved how jenny from picadilly would email every week to explain what was in the box and how to prepare and store some of the veggies. she would also often include a recipe, which was very helpful. seriously, we loved everything about this csa. and to think that last summer was a horrible growing season...i can't even imagine what it's like when we get good weather in new england! good luck and let me know if you have any specific questions.

      1. We're leaning in the direction of the Connors Farm CSA for this summer. It's a good location for us, the share seems equitable with other shares, they practice IPM, and we shop there weekly during the season anyway. We can pick up our CFS in Ipswich on Sat. mornings and then go to Connors which is just down the road a bit.

        1. Picadilly provides some of the produce for my CSA, www.farmdirectcoop.org. ...I'm going on year 7 with them.

          We were very happy with the quality of the produce that came from Picadilly and from what I understand they're people worth supporting.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chris VR

            I've done Red Fire Farm twice now, and will almost certainly sign up for a 3rd.
            I did the South Station pickup and it was really great for me to be able to pick up "extras" like fruit or flowers without having to commit to a whole season of them. I also did the egg share, which had a few hiccups as this was the first year for it, but the eggs were great, and they worked it out really well.

            1. re: cpingenot

              We just signed up for our first year with Red Fire Farm. I am very excited - I was thinking about doing the fruit share but decided to just do the vegetable share this season.

              1. re: Otm_Shank

                OTM, without a doubt, add on the fruit share, I did last year and this year have a double fruit share ( hoping to avoid the "who ate all the berries" arguements from last summer). the berries and peaches were the best I have had in my life. ther were days i ate nothing but strawberries. It is a generous amount of fruit for the price I thought.

                1. re: cassoulady

                  FWIW. I did the fruit share my first year with RFF, and it was really great fruit, but I don't plan on doing it again. The berries were fantastic, but one share wasn't enough for our appetites, and then in the fall there were a LOT of apples. I like apples, but I got something like 35 pounds of apples. Because I get my pickup at the South Station Farmer's market, I can pick up several pints of Strawberries, or a pound of peaches as I see fit, without committing to all the apples.

          2. I really love the idea of a CSA. For the past two years, we've gone with Stillman's farm for our CSA. Mostly, that was because they are the only CSA with pick up in Quincy.

            However, I'm not renewing with them this year. I was very disappointed in the selection of produce in my box both years. It seems as if during the height of summer, I was basically getting mounds of regular beefsteak tomatoes, ears of corn, tons and tons of eggplant (which I can't stand) and a bunch or two of kale.

            Meanwhile, I travel through South Station every day, and twice a week, I'd pass the vendors at Dewey Square farmer's market, who had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, heads of broccoli, fresh fennel, roma string beans, beautiful plums and peaches as well. I'd walk through the market and be jealous at all the wonderful produce available that I didn't want to buy because I had a refrigerator full of eggplant and kale at home waiting to be eaten.

            I suppose people with CSA's through other farms might have different experiences, though. I really like Stillman's and their family, and I don't have anything bad to say about the CSA, but for the variety.

            1. Update - went w/Picadilly - did more scouting and they kept coming up as great, and they did contribute good stuff to our Shared Harvest winter CSA this winter. Thanks for your input, everyone!


              1. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a place with a pick up or delivery to Somerville/Cambridge. Thanks for your help!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Grainiac

                  Parker Farm does deliveries to Central Sq, Porter Sq and Davis Sq. He downsized the number of shareholders for this year, but from the last email he sent to shareholders, it looks like there may still be some left: http://web.mac.com/parkerfarm/iWeb/Si...

                  1. re: Grainiac

                    Red Fire Farms offers pickups in Cambridge and somerville and offers a delivery service as well.

                  2. Any suggestions for ones that deliver to Brookline? Also, there are only 2 of us, so we only need a small share. Thanks!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: quirkydeb

                      Stillman's Farm does a pickup from outside Clear Flour Bread, and they offer a half-share that's good for a 2-person household. I was a happy member for about 8 years, although last year we decided not to renew because I really missed the option of shopping week-to-week at the farmer's markets.

                      1. re: quirkydeb

                        If you are physically in Brookline or perhaps Jamaica Plain, then look at Allandale Farm's CSA. Their first year was 2009 and it was a terrific experience with a ton of interesting crops. They offer a half and a full share, plus now separate egg, meat and flower CSA's. The meat one is actually a lamb, not a weekly delivery, if I remember. The details are on their site. They're currently only taking reservations from last year's people but I think enrollment opens up on like 2/8 or so.

                        You have to go to Allandale to pick up on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Your choice but that's your day unless you arrange beforehand to move that time.

                        1. re: quirkydeb

                          Depending where you are in Brookline, you might want to look at Red Fire farm's options. They have a pick up at the Whole Foods Parking lot in Brighton and the deliver to parts of Boston.


                        2. I too cannot speak to those two choices. However, I'm thinking of Farmer Dave's this year. They have a sliding scale fee, a bit more choice in terms of actual produce, and my favorite feature: a trade box so you can put things in that you don't care for and take other people's things that they don't care for. They also have a separate fruit share that looks awesome. www.farmerdaves.net

                          1. what about Siena Farms CSA at sofra bakery? I'm contemplating that one. i've heard great things, anyone else?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: snacky chan

                              The quality of their produce is excellent, but we were disappointed that they didn't include many of the vegetables we would most want to buy in the season....tomatoes, green beans, sugar snap peas, cucumber.

                              This year they are offering a second option to pay in a certain amount of money to pick as many of the vegetables you want to buy in a given week at a discount. You have to be able to pick up this version of the CSA at Copley Farmers Market or at their farm one day during the week.

                            2. We live in West Newton/Waltham area and are interested in CSA this year-- but are total newbies. Anyone have rec's for which Farm might service our 'hood and any advice on what to expect from a CSA?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mbasnack

                                Red Fire Farm is delivering to West Newton this year.

                              2. I'm relatively new to the CSA scene. I joined the Luna Farm CSA in North Reading this year. I've heard very good things about it, but does anyone have any direct experience they'd like to share?

                                1. Anyone looking for a CSA by location should check the Boston Localvores list: http://bostonlocalvores.org/summer-ve...

                                  As for my 2010 choice, I was going to switch from Red Fire to Stone Soup because last summer Red Fire was disappointing--yeah, I know the weather didn't cooperate, but my friend w/ Stone Soup still had tons of vegetables, and also when I mentioned that the shares seemed small compared to two years before, they said "well, that's how big the shares are." HOWever, the friend who had Stone Soup knows the MetroPed people, and told me they thought Red Fire was the best. (They provide delivery for several CSAs.


                                  I'm loving the Red Fire deep winter share, at any rate, but I am keeping it all to myself whereas in the high season I split a share.

                                  Sorry to be so convoluted! I've had a farm share since 2001 (except for 2002) and have tried Siena's owner's previous farm(!), the Food Project, Red Fire, and Parker.

                                  1. Also - there is updated info. on the Arlington CSA Share Fair being held on Feb. 25 - CSA farmers who distribute shares in Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Lexington, Medford, Winchester, Watertown, north Cambridge and Somerville will be there. There's an up-to-date list in the side bar on the site: http://csafairarlington.wordpress.com/


                                    1. Just got the confirmation for my small share at Parker Farm. First time doing a CSA and very excited!

                                      1. Kenney Farms from Concord is offering a pickup in Woburn. Looks like its their first year. Large and small shares. Here's a link.


                                        1. For anyone that values pick-your-own, I would recommend Tangerinis Farm in Millis. Most weeks they have at least one PYO option, including corn. That's as fresh as it gets folks.

                                          1. I did RedFire last year and will do it again. I am also considering the Altas Farm market share in a small denomination to get incidentals that I want as needed. If anyone goes with Red Fire, I urge you to add the fruit share (its an additional cost) but hands down they were the best berries I have ever had.
                                            I thought it was a great variety of stuff especially considering the weather wasnt the best. I also did the flower share and the bouquets were amazing and lasted a long time.

                                            1. Was just reading about First Light Farm in Hamilton. Has anyone heard of or bought a share from them? They're all organic, and judging from the photos on their web site last year's shares were spectacular, considering what the weather was like. They're pricey but their philosophy appeals to me. BTW: we did end up at Connors for this season.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Gio

                                                I have to say, unfortunately, my boyfriend and I were really not impressed with First Light. The shares were often quite small (there were many weeks when we could eat literally the entire box in 1 meal- it did get better at the very end) and the price was high. This may have just been a product of the bad weather last summer or the fact they are a relatively new CSA (I think this is only their 3rd year), but we switched to Enterprise Farm for a winter share and are continuing with them this summer. They have far more variety and are better priced. This wouldn't work for everyone though since their pickups are mainly in Boston. First Light has a great philosophy and are very nice people so I hope I haven' t put you off entirely, we may have just had a bad season.