Recs for a summer produce box subscription (CSA)?
A few summers ago someone in my office arranged to have a farm deliver weekly boxes of produce to subscribers as part of a program called "Community Sustained Agriculture"...I didn't participate as I was traveling that summer, and now no one remembers who arranged it or through what farm/program.
Has anyone had success with a program like this that they would recommend? I have a list of local farms that participate, but it's quite long and I would prefer a personal recommendation as I understand some are better than others in terms of what they provide each week, local pick-ups, etc.
Thanks so much!
We subscribe to Full Circle Farms and recommend it. Some people have criticized FCF for including too much produce from other farms in the winter (sometimes from as far away as Texas and Mexico), but this time of the year I'm happy to get something besides potatoes, beets, and turnips. All the produce is organic.
The best part of FCF is that it doesn't require that huge up-front payment that locks you in for the year---you're charged $30/week ($34 for home delivery, which we get), and you can cancel or suspend delivery whenever you want. You also have the flexibility to substitute anything you don't like with something more to your taste---either permanently or on a weekly basis. And you can double up on many items.
They also sell foodstuff from a variety of local vendors, and items such as Bluebird Farm's emmer farro and Mt. Townsend Creamery's fromage blanc are generally a buck or two cheaper than they are at Metropolitan Market.
Here's what's coming to our house Monday (I doubled up on carrots because I'm feeling carrot soup next week):
1 each Bunched Carrots 1 each Bunched Carrots
1.5 pounds Red Potatoes FCF 4 each D'anjou Pears *
1 each Eggplant 2 each Texas Honeygold Grapefruit
0.4 pound Cremini Mushrooms FCF 4 each Navel Oranges
1 bunch Mizuna (Greens) FCF 4 each Cameo Apples *
1 each French Breakfast Radishes FCF
2 each Yellow Onions
I highly recommend Boistfort Valley Farm: http://www.boistfortvalleyfarm.com/ . Last year was our first with them and they provided a huge box of high-quality fruits and vegetables and even include fresh-cut flowers with each box. We only did the summer share and will so again this year but I know they also offer a winter share as well. We did Full Circle Farm and were never really able to get everything locally from their farm which was our intended goal with the CSA. We never had this issue with Boistfort Valley as I believe that everything comes directly from them.
I heartily agree with the Boistfort Valley Farm recommendation. I am selective about organic produce, and I choose Boistfort Valley Farm for all the fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and flowers that I don't grow in my own garden. Great produce, great people, enjoyable all the way around.
It does seem like delivering produce from Mexico defeats the purpose of a CSA. Also, another advantage for farms of your paying upfront is that they get money upfront for planting/seasonal preparation.
I'd go to the farmers' market (Ballard/U-District/West Seattle) and check out the vendors who are there, see whose stuff you like. Of course, not everyone who has a CSA will be at the markets in March.
There's a list of CSAs available here: http://www.pugetsoundfresh.org/csa.htm
I talked to the farmer from Oxbow Farm today and was impressed. All local, nice people, and I tasted some really extraordinary carrots. I first found them at Ballard farmers' market a year or so ago (they start up again in April) and they've got good quality stuff.
They have a CSA through the farm, and there's also a Jewish community CSA called Jharvest that's set up with Oxbow.
Info on Oxbow's CSA:
Info on Jharvest: