Yes, I know we woke up to a dusting of snow this morning, but that doesn’t change the fact that, believe it or not, CSA sign-up season is already underway.
For the uninitiated: Community-supported agriculture (a.k.a. CSA) programs are a convenient way to get your hands on straight-from-the-farm veggies and produce. You buy a “share” in a farm’s harvest and get a box of produce delivered to a pick-up location near you. Most programs allow you to opt for weekly or biweekly deliveries (or half- or full-share options), so you can get the right amount of produce to fit your family’s (or appetite’s) needs. CSAs typically run from early summer to mid-to-late fall.
Sounds awesome, right? If you're dying to get involved, look no further! We've rounded up a handful of terrific CSAs you can join in the Philly area, and we'll keep updating this guide as 2014 details for other programs in area are finalized. Just don't wait too long to secure a spot—space is always limited.
What to expect: Each week you'll get a bushel containing eight to 12 different veggies, which vary from season to season.
Length of time: A 24-week plan is available from the end of May through early November; the 16-week plan takes you from end of June to early October.
Pick-up: The 24-week share is at the farm (98 Moyer Road, Perkasie), Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1 and 8 p.m. The 16-week share is at Doylestown Presbyterian Church (9127 East Court Street, Doylestown) on Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $530 for the 16-week program, $795 for the full-share 24-week program, $415 for the half-share 24-week program.
What to expect: An assortment of about eight items. Lettuce will be included in nearly every box, and you'll also frequently see potatoes, leafy greens and brassicas in the spring. Green beans, tomatoes and watermelon are popular summer items.
Length of time: 16 to 20 weeks, depending on your start date; early-start program kicks off in April, standard program starts the second week of May. Both programs end in August.
Pick-up: The farm (387 Iron Bridge Road, East Earl) Tuesdays from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Center City (1424 South Street) Tuesdays noon to 7 p.m.; and Manayunk (Shurs Lane) Tuesdays 1 to 7 p.m. Additional locations in surrounding areas. Note: You can get free delivery if you're within 20 miles of the farm.
Cost: Standard program full share: $500 for local customers, $532 for surrounding-area customers; standard program half share: $270 for local customers, $286 for surrounding-area customers. Early start program full share: $600 for local customers, $640 for surrounding-area customers; early start program half share: $320 for local customers, $340 for surrounding-area customers. Note: There are early-signup discounts available until March 15th.
What to expect: In addition to five to eight veggies, you will also get a fruit and a protein option (choices include eggs, yogurt and tofu). Eight times during the season, the share will also include locally made artisan cheese. Greensgrow Farms will even surprise customers at times with items such as fresh pasta or beer brewed right here in Philadelphia.
Length of time: 25 weeks with one built-in vacation week, mid May until early November.
Pick-up: At the farm (2501 East Cumberland Street, Philadelphia) Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: TBD (we'll update when the info is available). Sign-up starts on March 4th.
What to expect: Nine to 12 veggies in the full share and four to seven veggies in the half share. An email will be sent out a week ahead of time detailing the produce you should expect to see in your share. Add-ons include optional egg, flower, cheese and herb shares.
Length of time: 25 weeks, May 5th until October 27th.
Pick-up: There are over 60 pick-up areas across Philadelphia and in surrounding areas. Check out the website's location finder to find the pick-up spot nearest you.
Cost: $750 for the full share, $475 for the half share.
What to expect: An assortment of six to eight items will be offered each week. Items may include peppers, Swiss chard, and so on. Pictures of last year's shares can be found here.
Length of time: 21 weeks, from the first week of June to third week of October.
Pick-up: Several options in the city and suburbs, including Trinity Memorial Church (2212 Spruce Street in Center City), Regent Square (4200 block of Regent Square in West Philly) and Clark Park Farmers' Market (43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly).
Cost: $245 for every-other-week delivery, $430 for every week.
What to expect: Items such as tomatoes, peppers and onions are included in each share along with some free-choice (i.e. take them if you need them) and you-pick items, like assorted herbs, berries and flowers.
Length of time: 26 weeks, mid May until late November.
Pick-up: At the farm (415 West Seven Stars Road, Phoenixville).
Cost: $895 for a full share, $500 for a half share, $1,000 for a split share (produce shared between two households).
What to expect: A mix of fruits (mostly berries) and veggies, like cucumbers, salad greens, radishes, eggplants, tomatoes and more. A large share has 10 items and a small share has six.
Length of time: 24 weeks, late May to mid November.
Pick-up: The College Settlement of Philadelphia (600 Witmer Road, Horsham) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and the Highlands Mansion and Gardens (7001 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington) on Monday and Thursday. Pickup hours at both locations are 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $780 for the large share, $540 for the small.
What to expect: This is the former CSA program Neighborhood Foods under a new name—and with a slightly new concept. In addition to the traditional CSA (a box of 10 assorted pieces of produce), there's also an a la carte option. Here's how it works: If you sign up for the half share, you'll be able to pick which items you want in your box each week via a new online store. Half-share subscribers will get about six pieces a week. Plus, there will be lots of opportunity for add-ons, like coffee, jam, peanut butter, ketchup and more—all from local producers.
Length of time: 22 weeks, mid-May to mid-October.
Pick-up: Lots of new pick-up locations, including B2 coffee shop (1500 East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly), Cafe Chismosa (Fourth and Poplar in Northern Liberties) and more, as well as home delivery in Center City for an additional fee.
Cost: $600 for a full produce share, $395 for half share (which includes the online store component). Email Dylan Baird if you're interested in signing up.
What to expect: 10 selected items weekly for the full share and six items for the half share. Summer veggies include bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplants and lettuce. Add-ons include cheese, egg, flower, fruit and yogurt shares.
Length of time: 22 weeks from early June until late October.
Pick-up: Among many others: Metropolitan Bakery (262 South 19th Street in Rittenhouse) on Tuesdays and Jefferson Hospital (925 Chestnut Street) on Thursdays. Find the location closest to you here.
Cost: $615 for a full share, $440 for partial share.
What to expect: A small share generally consists of five to six units of vegetables, and is recommended for two people. A large share consists of the same vegetables as a small share, but is twice as large, consisting of 10to 12 units, and is recommended for four people. A unit is similar to what you would typically buy at a grocery store—i.e. a bunch of carrots or a head of lettuce. The farm is a partnership between Weavers Way Co-op, Weavers Way Community Programs, Saul High School of Agriculture, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Produce is grown at Saul High School in Roxborough. The farm is managed by Weavers Way staff in collaboration with students and teachers from Saul.
Length of time: 24 weeks from late May through October.
Pick-up: Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m., Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. Pick-ups are at the farm, across the street from Saul High School: 7100 Henry Avenue in Roxborough.
Cost: $425 for small shares, $750 for large. You can get discounts for volunteering to work the farm.
What to expect: All veggies. A box of about 10 locally grown and seasonal produce items per week. Produce varies as the months change. Expect cucumbers and sweet peaches in the summer and apples and root vegetables (i.e., beets) as the weather gets cooler. Add-ons include jam, bacon, bread, pastries, nut butters, beer and cheese.
Length of time: 22 weeks from mid May until mid October.
Pick-up: All pick-ups are on Thursdays. Walnut Hill Community Farm (46th and Market) on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.; Renewal Church (47th and Cedar Avenue) from 5 to 7 p.m.; Heritage Farms (4300 Monument Boulevard) from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (time TBD).
Cost: $600 for a full share, $350 for half share.
What to expect: A share box of about eight vegetables. Early boxes will include crisp lettuces, and as the summer progresses tomatoes will appear. The fall boxes include winter squash and fresh broccoli with the last boxes including all your staple veggies for Thanksgiving. Add-ons include eggs and yogurt.
Length of time: All-season (fall and summer) shares run first week of May until late November (30 deliveries for full share, 15 for biweekly). Summer season runs May until August (18 deliveries for full share, nine for biweekly). Fall season runs September until November (12 deliveries for full share, six for biweekly).
Pick-up: Wimer's offers locations in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Burks counties. Share holders will be contacted the weekend prior to the season start with details on their pick-up time and location.
Cost: $930 for an all-season full share, $480 for an all-season biweekly share; $558 for a summer weekly share, $288 for a summer biweekly share; $372 for fall full share, $192 for fall biweekly share.
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