It may be near 80 degrees today, but believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about the fall and winter. Local community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs are opening up registration lists for autumn and winter produce shares, and spots usually fill up fast. So if you want in, it’s time to get on the horn.
For CSA novices, like myself, here’s how it works: You buy a “share” in a farm’s seasonal harvest, and in return you get weekly (or biweekly) deliveries of fresh produce straight from the farm itself. With these local CSAs, you can eat healthy, delicious produce long after those summer tomatoes and blueberries have gone out of season.
What to expect: A box of about eight vegetables, ranging from peppers in the beginning of the fall season to sweet potatoes and turnips in the colder months.
Harvest Season: 18 weeks for the Fall CSA, from the last week of August to the end of December. For the Winter CSA, it's 26 weeks, from the first week of November to the first of May, if you're not a part of the fall harvest. If you do participate in the Fall CSA, the Winter program is 18 weeks, from the first of January to the first of May.
Pickup: If you're in the city, the pickup is at 1424 South Street or Shurs Lane in Manayunk. Pick-up sites also in Ephrata, Mohnton and at the farm in East Earl. For a list of all locations, click here.
Cost: Pricing depends on where you live. For "local" subscribers (those within 20 miles of the farm), it's $450 for the full share and $245 for the half for the Fall CSA. For city participants interested in the Fall program, it's $482 for the full share, and $261 for a half share. Winter rates aren't posted yet, but there are discounts for early-birds, so keep an eye on the price-listing page.
What to expect: A full share means that you'll receive nine to twelve veggies weekly. The half share, recommended for people who don't cook at home every night, contains four to eight vegetables weekly. Organic kale, pumpkins, and greens are just a few of the goodies you'll receive. Meat, bread, eggs, and fruit are a few of the available add-on options.
Harvest Season: Seven weeks, from November 9th to the week of December 21st.
Pickup: You can grab your box in Rittenhouse, University City, Bella Vista, and more.
Cost: A full share costs $217, and a half share is $140.
What to expect: In each box, there will be five or six veggies, one fruit, a protein (like tofu, eggs, or chocolate milk) and one meat item. Occasionally they'll toss in a treat, like homemade sauce or preserves. You can choose between a meat, vegetarian or vegan share, and your box can be adjusted accordingly (think more produce, plus treats like locally-produced bread or cheese). You can always add on shares as well, like cheese or coffee.
Harvest Season: There are ten bi-weekly pickups between December 7th and April 19th.
Pickup: Pickups are made at their (heated) greenhouse on 2501 East Cumberland Street in Fishtown.
Cost: It's $425 for a bi-weekly share.
What to expect: A box of about eight different veggies, including squash, broccoli and other fall favorites. Just to make your holiday a little easier, your last box will feature Thanksgiving favorites. You can also add chicken, dairy and honey as well.
Harvest Season: Twelve weeks, from from September 1st to November 22nd.
Pickup: You can pick up your box in Center City, Fairmount, Northern Liberties, Broad Street, and more. Note: They've moved their Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy locations, and added a new Conshohocken pickup in the 'burbs. You can see the full list of locations here.
Cost: A Fall CSA weekly prepaid share is $372, and a bi-weekly is $192. They also have pay-as-you-go options for $35 a box.
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