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Feb 23, 2010 08:59 PM

CSA recommendations in Madison, WI

I'm moving to Madison this summer and interested in joining a CSA. Any recommendations? Especially ones which have pickups near downtown or campus?

(Also, feel free to volunteer anything else food related that I should know! Both from the dining and cooking POV's.)

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  1. DMB,

    Welcome to's a great town and you're lucky to be coming here.

    I investigated CSAs last year and chose Harmony Valley Farms...I was delighted with them, but the two of us had a hard time keeping up with even the every-other-week deliveries. They had very good quality product and a better variety than I've heard of from other CSAs...

    We like:
    Farmer's Market every summer Saturday morning on the capitol square
    Lombardino's for Italian
    Louisianne's for nice cajun/creole inspired fare
    Imperial Garden for Chinese takeout
    Kessinich's and Wisconsin Cutlery for kitchen supplies
    Penzey's for spices
    Vanilla Bean for baking supplies
    Lazy Jane's for breakfast
    Jolly Bob's for drinks and Jamaican nibbles

    3 Replies
    1. re: Monch

      Thanks! This is just what we're looking for!

      1. re: DMBjr

        Fraboni's for Italian deli
        Glass Nickel for delivered pizza
        The Old Fashioned for Wisconsin-inspired pub grub (upscaled)
        Tornado Room for steaks
        Union Terrace for beer and relaxing
        Samba - Brazilian steakhouse
        Great Dane for pool and brewpub

        1. re: Monch

          Awesome, I appreciate the recommendations very much and will check them out when I get to Madison.

    2. There are several great places to buy food as well. Willy St Co-op is a treasure here in town. Great organic, local and artisinal foods, wonderful deli, freshly prepared sushi, a seafood center, etc.

      In addition to the Saturday Farmer's Market on the square, there are several neighborhood markets throughout the summer, these are expanding all of the time.

      Don't forget all of the music and food festivals all summer long, great opportunities to try out many of the food carts.

      My fave pizza in town is La Rocca's, for Laotion, Lao Laan Xang (Willy St), Weary Traveler for casual, bar related food, Sardine for a more upscale meal, and I just recently tried Tapas Rias, weird location but great tapas!
      Dohban is a gem, not well known but excellent food with a Nepali theme. Tons more around the square, Marigold for breakfast, Muramoto's for sushi, you have alot of exploring to do!

      1. Simply Wisconsin is a CSA that is based in Madison. They are composed of several farms, so there is a lot of variety. In addition to veggies, they have egg, cheese, and meat shares. I've been a member for 2 seasons, and am very happy with quality and variety. Website is

        1. Freshest Farms is the closest to Madison which is a plus if you want to hang out at the farm. The farmers are young and urban so the relationship with your farmer is awesome. Plus the vegetables are selected for taste so each box has varieties not found in stores, like their huge variety of heirloom tomatoes.

          1. There's a madison area CSA site that might help you browse the various options. Click the "find a farm" option here:

            My top 3 restaurants here are L'Etoile, Magnus, Restaurant Muramoto (on King St).

            1 Reply
            1. re: TAsunder

              My wife and I are going to be entering our second CSA year with Driftless Organics. They offer a great variety of certified organic fruits and vegetables. They offer a few pickup options around town, so you should have a relatively convenient option regardless of your location. We live a couple of blocks from Mermaid Cafe and had a good experience picking up or weekly box from them. Good luck with whatever decision you make!

              Driftless Cafe
              118 W Court St, Viroqua, WI 54665