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Jun 28, 2010 08:54 PM

CSA information

I've been doing some research on CSA memberships in the San Diego area, keeping notes literally on the back of an envelope. Inspired by the recent spreadsheet of Food Loves, I decided to turn my notes into a Google spreadsheet for sharing:

I am not entirely sure that the information is 100% correct, but I did my best. The spreadsheet is open for editing, so if you want to update information or add columns/rows, be my guest.

Some of the information there is specific to my preferred locations, but I hope the rest of it is helpful to at least some of you.

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  1. what a terrific resource! i dug up some additional info - i don't have the time to enter it into the spreadsheet now, but if anyone else has the urge...

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Just FYI - I combed through both links provided above (thanks GHG!) and made sure I had included everything... so the spreadsheet now includes everything the two of us have been able to find on San Diego area CSAs.

      I admit to being lazy and not providing much information when it was clear the CSA would not be useful for me out here in East County. But I will try to update when I have new information, and I'll log back in to Chowhound when I've done my trial of Tierra Miguel.

    2. Awesome Lisa...great that the Food Love thread has inspired you to branch out..
      So cool..
      Beach chicka

      1 Reply
      1. re: Beach Chick

        Wow, from a tiny acorn is born...

      2. Great spreadsheet!

        Just a couple of thoughts if you're looking to sign up soon... we've been with both Tierra Miguel (8 months) and Be Wise Ranch (also about 8 months and currently enrolled). TM had some major storage issues with their produce... a lot of my boxes looked like they had been packed and sitting in a hot place for days. Produce went bad within 3-4 days (even root veggies and citrus) and, by the end of our time with them, we were receiving rotting/moldy produce. No joke. They were completely unresponsive other than "We'll let the farmer know" when I called to ask why my box was actually moldy. Oddly, their best yields seem to come when we started in the fall with the box getting skimpier and of worse quality towards summer. Plus, their variety sucked... although I learned to love beets as a result. As one of the pricier CSAs, it's definitely worth doing a trial with them before signing on. Maybe it was just a bad year for their harvests, but it left a really bad impression on me.

        Be Wise Ranch has been the absolute opposite experience... beautiful produce, generous boxes, and a good variety. Great customer service: very responsive and helpful when my check was lost in the mail. The owner of the pickup site is... um, not at all nice, but you should never have to deal with the site owners and the BWR staff handles every issue that comes up.

        17 Replies
        1. re: geekyfoodie

          Thanks for the spreadsheet Lisa and thanks for the notes GF. We keep wanting to get in Be Wise when ever there is an opening (which hasn't happened for a long time) and I was looking at Terra Miguel. I will wait for Be Wise.

          1. re: MrKrispy

            There's a note on their website saying that full locations will be reopened around the end of August. Hope you can join! We're doing the biweekly small box ($25/box) and for two people, it's a lot of produce.

          2. re: geekyfoodie

            @geekyfoodie or Ewilensky, i was just torturing the produce guys at Jimbo's because they've replaced the gloriously sweet & beautiful Be Wise organic strawberries with those nasties from Driscoll's. they claimed the Be Wise strawberries are "done for the season." are you still getting them in your CSA box?

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Nope... no strawberries in my last box. Sorry!

              1. re: geekyfoodie

                crap. i was *hoping* he was just being cranky, but this makes me think it's true. boo. thanks for the reply!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Nothing in my box either. But some nice blackberries - obviously a trade with another farm as these come from someone other than Be Wise. They never last. Blackberries are the best of all the berries.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Whole Foods stopped carrying Be Wise strawberries about 2-3 weeks ago. I suspected they were over for the season b/c they came early in the season. Chino's berries are at their peak right now.

                1. re: daantaat

                  thanks - i'll have to grab some Chino's!

              3. re: geekyfoodie

                Thanks so much for the additional info, GF. I went ahead and signed up for a 2-week trial at Tierra Miguel, and I'll keep an eye out for how long the veggies last. I also have just sent Be Wise a check for a trial month next time they have openings (hopefully end of August). I sent it in because I was not clear about their subscriptions being sold out, but now I'm hoping that it puts me first in line. :o)

                Ewilensky - a serious kale addiction? That's impressive or frightening, I'm not sure which. We were a member of a CSA in Connecticut several years ago, and I remember my husband getting me to eat kale by cooking it with bacon (which cures many ails). Anyway, my hat is off to you and your robust digestive system.

                1. re: LisaLM

                  try making baked kale chips - even the biggest skeptics inhale them, no bacon necessary ;)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    bacon is always necessary! haha

                    We saute the kale a lot, my gf has a tasty recipe that adds canned white beans to the sauteed kale, really easy and good. I have cooked kale spritzed with oil and seasoned on a wire rack in the oven and that got them nice and krispy, but was still kind of boring. I need to work out a better seasoning

                    1. re: MrKrispy

                      when you bake them in the oven they definitely benefit from a light sprinkling of sea salt. you can also try a pinch of cayenne or chipotle for heat...or use seame oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        good ideas! i used sea salt, pepper, and paprika.

                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          use smoked paprika instead of the regular stuff - HUGE difference in flavor.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            that's all I use. I go thru paprika very fast, and try to get the good imported Hungarian powder. I have heard of higher quality paprika but haven't found it in San Diego.

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Goodhealth, agreed. Make a double batch of Kale chips every Sunday. Are you spying? Because if so, I think Russia has some job openings now. Chard also works too. But we like it blanched and sauteed, with bacon or without. Usually without. We like to save bacon as a garnish for more bacon. It's gotten so bad we grow our own kale these days to supplement deliveries.

                      1. re: Ewilensky

                        Thanks in advance for all the kale tips. I can see how making them into chips might be perfect, esp. with a kick of salt and spice or sesame seeds. Is this how you got your name, MrKrispy?

                2. We've been a Be Wise subscriber for about 16 months now. Wonderful produce, a little light on fruit, but all in all, no complaints at all and I blame them for my serious kale addicition...

                  1. Lisa, you might also want to check out the Specialty Product farmers market bag -

                    It's sort of a quasi CSA/farmers market offering. A bag of produce (mostly local, mostly organic) for $20 (you can order up to 4 bags). But wait there's more...they have the option to add on fish from Catalina Offshore, cheese from Venissimo, coffee from Peerless, chocolates from Chuao among others. Order weekly by midnight on Sunday, pick up at their Hancock St. location (by Old Town) Thursday or Friday.

                    I only cook for 2 most of the week and we can usually get through 1-bag in a week. I've been doing this off and on for the last 3 or 4 months and, really, the only thing we've been overloaded with has been the wild arugula. Quality has been good to very good and the shelf life good.

                    The fish from Catalina Offshore has got to be the best deal in town. 2 pounds of fish for $12. So far I've gotten Halibut (twice), Fluke (flounder), corvina, scallops. Friday night dinner is usually whatever fish is in the bag on Thursday.

                    I like this option because it does not require me to sign up for a subscription or set period of time. It gives me the option to get the bag one week, skip a week so I can shop at a farmers market and then get a bag when I know I won't have time to visit Hillcrest or Little Italy on market day. For small households and flexibility, this is a pretty good option.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: DiningDiva


                      I think this is the best deal, because of the no obligation as well as the variety (the website has videos of prior Farmers Market bags) and the 2 lb seafood option.

                      Also, you can shop SP for whatever else you may need (or want) that week.

                      It isn't a bad drive from East County. (6 traffic lights total for me from Santee.)

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        OMG i have never heard of anyone overloaded with arugula. Kale is one thing!

                        1. re: MrKrispy

                          Thanks for the tip about the bag of produce... it sounds nice (esp the fish option!) but I'm worried we're too lazy to head to Old Town to pick it up. I'll look into that again if the CSA starts feeling oppressive, though. :o)

                          Some good news for us - in addition to being on for a 2-week trial of Tierra Miguel's CSA starting Tuesday, we also just got word that we're in at Be Wise for a 4-week trial... starting the week right after our 2-week at Tierra Miguel! So by the end of summer, we'll be able to have a decent review of the two places. Let the veggie-fest begin!

                          1. re: LisaLM

                            Yay! That's going to be an awesome ride and I hope you enjoy it!