Yes, I know winter’s not over quite yet. But believe it or not, spring is coming (really!), and 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. The shares are filled with what is commonly referred to as “units”- similar to what you would typically buy at a grocery store—i.e. a bunch of carrots or a head of lettuce. 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. 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 six to 12 different veggies, which vary from season to season. If you pick up your CSA you’ll also get to pick some of the produce, flowers and herbs that go in your share.
Length of time: A 24-week pick-up plan is available from the end of May through early November. The 22-week delivery plan starts in June.
Pick-up: The 24-week share is at the farm (98 Moyer Road, Perkasie), Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1 and 8 p.m. The 22-week delivery shares can be picked up in Doylestown and Yardley on Wednesdays.
Cost: $795 for the full-share 24-week program, $415 for the half-share 24-week program. $676 for the large box 22-week program (10-12 items), $445 for the medium box 22 week program (6-7 items).
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. Sweet corn, 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 mid-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. Additional locations in Philadelphia, West Reading, Mohnton and Ephrata. Note: You can get free delivery if you're within 20 miles of the farm.
Cost: Standard program full share: $510 for local customers, $542 for surrounding-area customers; standard program half share: $269 for local customers, $285 for surrounding-area customers. Early start program full share: $610 for local customers, $650 for surrounding-area customers; early start program half share: $323 for local customers, $343 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, seitan and tofu). The half share includes the same items but is delivered every other week. The share will also include locally made artisan cheese eight times during the season for the full share and four times for the half share. Greensgrow Farms will even surprise customers at times with items such as fresh pasta or beer brewed right here in Philadelphia. You can also add on items like coffee and cheese when you pick up at the farm on
Length of time: 25 weeks with one built-in vacation week, mid May until early November. The coffee and cheese shares are available from May to 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. Additional locations in and around Philadelphia.
Cost: Standard program: $800 for a full share; $475 for a half share. $175 for the cheese share $210 for the coffee share. Sign-up starts on March 4th.
What to expect: This year-round CSA includes fruit and herbs in each share. The small shares include one herb and one kind of fruit in addition to six different vegetables. The large share includes two kinds of fruit and herbs and nine vegetables. There is also a Fruit Only CSA and a Meat CSA, which is available from September through June, as well as tons of add on options.
Length of time: Fruit and veggie share is available year round and can be delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The Meat and Fruit Only CSAs are available from September through June.
Pick-up: Locations throughout Philadelphia and surrounding areas. The meat shares are available for pickup from Highland Orchards (1431 Foulk Rd. Wilmington) on the 2nd Saturday of each month between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Henretty’s in Hockessin from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Large veggie with fruit: $24.85 for a single delivery, $298 for the full share, $99.35 for the half share. Small veggie with fruit: $15.75 for a single share, $189 for the full share, $63 for the half share. Fruit only: $12 for a single fruit delivery, $144 for the full share, $48 for the half share. Meat: $38 for a single delivery of chicken, $85 for a single delivery of three different kinds of meat.
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. Everything is organic and biodynamic.
Length of time: 26 weeks, mid-May until mid-November.
Pick-up: At the farm (415 West Seven Stars Road, Phoenixville).
Cost: $910 for a full share, $500 for a half share (delivered bi-weekly), $1,000 for a split share (produce shared between two households).
What to expect: three to 14 items depending on your share size. 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. There is also a mini-custom share that allows you to tailor your weekly share and leaves you with a $225 credit to use on the CSA store.
Length of time: 26 weeks, from May to October. Dates vary for add-on items.
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: Weekly vegetable share: $899 for the XL veggie share (14 plus items), $799 for the large vegetable share (11-12 items), $525 for the medium vegetable share (6-7 items), $355 for the small vegetable share (4 items), $469 for the mini custom share (three items plus store credit). Add-ons: $910 for the meat share, $519 for the chicken share, $210 for the community supported medicine share, $210 for the fruit share, $71-$210 for the egg share depending on frequency of delivery, $325 for the cheese share, $255 for the flower share, $115 for the herb share, and $155 for the bread 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: $260 for every-other-week delivery, $430 for every week.
What to expect: A mix of fruits (mostly berries) and veggies, like cucumbers, salad greens, radishes, eggplants, tomatoes and more. You can also purchase fruit shares at both locations and cheese, pork and chicken at the Highlands site.
Length of time: 24 weeks, first week of June to mid November.
Pick-up: The College Settlement of Philadelphia (600 Witmer Road, Horsham); and the Highlands Mansion and Gardens (7001 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington). Pickup hours at both locations are 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $790 for the large share (10 items), $560 for the regular share (six items) and $400 for the mini share (four items).
What to expect: This is the former CSA program Neighborhood Foods under a new name—and with a slightly new concept. Rather than paying for the season up front, you pay weekly (or bi-weekly depending on your plan) and the price fluctuates by a few dollars to reflect what is included in each box. You can add and remove items to your traditional CSA (which includes seven to nine pieces of produce for a small and 11 to 13 for a large) or choose the á la carte option, which lets you choose everything that goes in to your box as long as long as you spend a minimum of $30. There’s also a chef’s share that includes one to two pantry items in addition to the produce included in a small share. 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, June to mid-October.
Pick-up: Lots of new pick-up locations, including B2 coffee shop (1500 East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly), Cafe Chismosa (900 North 4th St Northern Liberties) and more, as well as home delivery in Center City for an additional fee.
Cost: $38 to $42 for a large produce share or for the chef’s share, $28 to $32 for small a share.
What to expect: Your choice of 1o seasonal 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, flowers, 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: $625 for a full share, $445 for partial share.
What to expect: Naturally grown vegetables with the occasional addition of fruit and herbs. The full and large shares both include 10 items per week but the large has less variety and larger quantities of each item in order to accommodate to families. The partial share consists of six items a week and the core share contains the five most popular items of each week’s share. Fruit, bread, dairy and egg shares are also available.
Length of time: 23 weeks from June to November.
Pick-up: Various locations throughout Philadelphia, Berks County and the Lehigh Valley.
Cost: $375 for the traditional core share, $625 for the large share, $450 for the partial share, and $645 for the full share;
What to expect: The farm is a partnership between Weavers Way Co-op, Weavers Way Community Programs, Saul High School of Agriculture, and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. All produce is grown at Saul High School in Roxborough and the farm is managed by Weavers Way staff in collaboration with students and teachers from Saul. A small share generally consists of five to six units of vegetables. The large share consists of the same vegetables as a small share, but is twice as large, consisting of 10 to 12 units.
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: $435 for small shares, $775 for large. You can get discounts for volunteering to work the farm.
What to expect: A box of about 10 locally grown and seasonal produce items per week for a full share. Expect cucumbers and sweet peaches in the summer and apples and root vegetables like beets as the weather gets cooler. Add-ons include locally produced jam, bacon, bread, pastries, nut butters, beer and cheese.
Length of time: 21 weeks from mid May until mid October.
Pick-up: All pick-ups are on Thursdays. Walnut Hill Community Farm (46th and Market) 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 5:30 p.m; and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $610 for a full share, $360 for half share.
What to expect: A share box of about nine all natural 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 and you can also choose a pay as you go plan if you don’t want to pay upfront.
Length of time: All-season (fall and summer) shares run from the last week in April 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 Berks 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, $465 for an all-season biweekly share; $558 for a summer weekly share, $279 for a summer biweekly share; $372 for a fall full share, $186 for a fall biweekly share.
What to expect: Choose from a traditional share, which includes enough organic vegetables to feed 1-3 people in the individual size and enough for 3-5 people in the full size or, try the market share if you’d rather pick your own produce from the farm stand each week.
Length of time: 25 weeks from late may through mid-November
Pick-up: Z Food Farm in Lawrenceville on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. or the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $875 for the full share, $525 for the individual share; $250 for $265 worth of credit, $375 for $405 worth of credit, $500 for $550 (additional credit is given to returning customers).
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