Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jan 22, 2011 12:18 PM

CSA 2011 Season

I am trying to get ideas for this year. I have done a CSA previously. What farms and ideas does everyone have that they can share?

I have looked at a lot of farms and right now I am thinking about going with Arganica Farm Club or Great Country Farms?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I joined arganica about 6 weeks ago. They do not have their act together by a longshot and I am now even more concerned that they are expanding to richmond before ironing out the problems they already have. Every week there is some sort of problem with my order. Problems have ranged from rotten produce which I am now leary of ordering much of, to missing items that I was charged for, to bacon that was just a wad of blubber. Loved having to scale a filleted blue cod in my sink one night. Got granola one week, daughter loved it, ordered double the following week only to find out they had sent a substitute the first week and the second week was disgusting. The granola wasn't even broken up it was big sheets of an overly sweet fat laden oatmeal rock.
    Right now I can tell you the winners are the following in my opinion:
    Albemarle baking company's crunchy oatmeal bread and ginger scones
    Milk from grassfed cows that come in glass bottles trickling springs, I ordered their butter though and was disappointed it came in a tub which was not stated on order form and they gave me salted instead of unsalted.
    Seltzer in old fashioned bottles that is so fizzy and delish. The cherry tomatoes are hydroponic multicolored and so sweet they taste like august.
    You can buy a one month membership which I recommend if you decide to try them. Mine is up in june and jury's out on continuing. Right now I think I'm going to have had quite enough.

    13 Replies
    1. re: pegmo

      Thank you for your comments and review because they are very helpful.

      1. re: Smiles2008

        You're welcome, fyi arganica uses other farms, coops, and an amish store. I checked out mscoffee's today and registered with them. Its no contract or obligation. I'm going to order from them this week and see how they fair. Thanks to mscoffee! I will let you know how it goes!

        1. re: pegmo

          Just want to say delivered a couple of very nice boxes of produce, meat and dairy here yesterday and in 3.5 hours of veggie chopping I found nothing bad. Highlight for me are burgundy carrots. I will order from them again.

          1. re: pegmo

            I am so happy to hear it worked for you. I was washing and chopping on Tuesday. I did get extra tomatoes and they missed one of my broccoli bunches. Rarely does this happen and of course they do not charge.

            My post was deleted(trouble with my ID) so I will add it again. I like Green Grocer not only because it has no contract as you noted, but you can add or delete weeks depending on your needs. Also the flexibility to add and substitute items in the basic box is great for me and they deliver. They have been expanding items they carry (chocolate and olive oil were added recently). Their meat (locally raised grass fed meat and free-ranging poultry) is relatively new as well.
            From their website:
            Our priority and focus from the start has always been to provide excellent quality produce and locally and regionally produced products as well as stellar customer service to every customer while helping to grow, support and encourage sustainable local agriculture...and to have fun doing it!


            1. re: mscoffee1

              I was wondering what happened to that post! I think the meat prices are pretty affordable for what they sell. I'm looking forward to some delmonicos I got. I agree with all you say here. Smile 2008, mscoffee is right. Try this first! There still are some things Arganica has that wash green doesn't, but here the veggies are better with the exception of the cherry tomatoes. WGG's are nice but Arganica's are the kind I wake up early to line up for all summer. Gave some of those to a dear friend who is often there with me and she went crazy like I did.what's great is that since wgg has no joiner fee or strings I can order the things arganica has let me down with and still order the trickling springs milk, baked goods from albemarle baking co and the pittsburgh seltzer, too.

              1. re: pegmo

                With you on the tomatoes. Yea, my friend stops for most of the summer. Haven't done beef, so let me know.

                1. re: mscoffee1

                  Delmonicos were very tender and flavorful. They are heavily marbled so there's some fat trimming, but that's part of the secret to being so tender. Final bill came in at $12.95 LB.

              2. re: mscoffee1

                I wonder if they've changed since we ordered with them years ago. My impression was that a lot of the produce was the exact same stuff you could buy at Safeway (with the same stickers on them and everything). I know it's winter, but the list of items in this week's box comes from FL, CA, Mexico, Canada, WA, and SA! For those of you that use it, what's it like from June-Nov?

                1. re: amarynth

                  Agreed - my bananas have Dole stickers on them, and they're...bananas. I also got a mango.

                  To be fair, it was a great mango. And the apples and white mushrooms I received last week were respectively stickered and wrapped, but were better-tasting higher-quality produce than I could get at the grocery store. Green beans came in a bulk plastic bag, like you'd grab yourself at the grocery store and were *fantastic.*

                  I looked at the website, and it says "During our local growing season, roughly June through November, we buy our produce locally." And supposedly the never air-frieght anything, even during the off-season. The only thing "local" this week are the russet potatoes and maitake mushrooms from Pennsylvania.

                  1. re: Raids

                    I'm on my second large organic box, my bananas are cerro azul from equador. I got very nice white buttons this week, but last week the creminis I ordered were so perfectly firm I think they were the best I've had ever. I agree on the green beans!the eggs are perfect. I can get eggs like this only one other place and that's. From someone we know with chickens and hers don't lay in cold weather! The porterhouse steaks are delish. We got them both weeks and have them ordered for next. One thing I'm noticing on the prices of the additional veggies is that washington green grocer are much less expensive than arganica. Shitakes are $8 lb at the former and $14.45 at the latter! I also like the wgg blog. Lisa the wife is a chef and has a wonderful eye for a great recipe.

                    1. re: pegmo

                      Do you put out a cooler for your egg/meat deliveries, or are you just sure to be home when the delivery shows up?

                      1. re: Raids

                        I will when it's warmer out, I am lucky to have a 6 minute commute and a household where there is often someone at home.

      2. We used Great Country Farms a couple of different seasons in the past, but gave up after things went downhill. I think the biggest issue was that they have so many outlets for their produce, and the delivered boxes for the CSA seem to get the leavings. One summer we had terrific fruits, that they got from a neighboring orchard, but I dont think they're doing that anymore.
        I purchased a groupon for Arganica and will give them a try this spring.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lblau

          Can you please explain what happened? I didn't realize that they used other farms.

          1. re: lblau

            We used Great Country two years ago and were very pleased. If anything though, we felt that to make the most of our dollar spent there was to actually go out there and do the picks (like during the week - not during any festivals!). With kids it was a tad difficult from Reston to do it as much as we would have liked.

            1. re: lblau

              I just wanted to point out that today Arganica is offering a Living Social coupon (I hadn't seen the groupon) which might be a good way to give them a try (as lblau is doing). I don't know anything about them, myself. If they're as disorganized as reported, the rush from these coupons could cause more problems, but still seems like a good deal, though.

              1. re: mselectra

                It was living social that they had the coupon when I joined. They offered that to the richmond crowd this week, too. One thing to mention is meat is far less expensive at wash green grocer. The animals are all grassfed. They have a good explanation of what their philosophy is on that and its worth a read.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I love, love, love my CSA, Spiral Path Organics. The pickup site I use is Silver Spring and it looks like (at least this is news to me) that they are expanding to Bethesda for the new season. The produce is great, it is a good value compared to organic shopping at WF and I save time at the market with a grab and go pickup. I have been a member since they joined the Silver Spring market a couple of years ago and have never been disappointed and unlike what others describe above it's a very well-run, organized set-up.

                1 Reply
                1. re: shellymck

                  Thanks very much for posting this. I have bought from them at the farmers market in the past, so this will be very convenient for us.

                2. I recently/just looked at the one they have through this restaurant called Food Matters in Alexandria. I don't think they have a good portion (less than half a grocery bag is not enough produce for a full share) in my opinion. In addition, when I went to check them out for the csa I ate at the restaurant and the food was extremely bland. Bison Steak was tough, Bean Burger very bland and accompanied Fries were soggy. I don't know about Food Matters but it isn't for me.