The oddly early (but oh-so-welcome!) warm weather we’ve had lately makes it feel like winter is in the rear-view mirror. But while I’m sure we’re all holding our breath in anticipation of picnic season, there’s one reason to be happy spring hasn’t actually arrived yet: You still have time to sign up for spring CSAs!
For those of you who don’t keep up with the world of local agriculture, community-supported agriculture programs (also known as CSAs) are an easy way to get fresh vegetables and fruits straight from the farmer’s hands to your table. Here’s the breakdown of how most CSAs work: Before the start of the harvest season, you buy a “share” of the farm’s crops. In return for your investment, you get a steady flow of farm-fresh produce, usually weekly or every other week, to be picked up at a location near you. The type of share you purchase determines the frequency of pick-up.
Because there are dozens of CSAs and pick-up locations to choose from, all the choices can be a bit overwhelming. To help narrow down the options and find the program that’s perfect for you, we’ve put together a list of spring CSA programs in Philadelphia, along with what you can expect from each of them. Now, time to prep your salad bowl and reserve your shares before they sell out – carrots and lettuce don’t grow on trees, you know.
What to expect: Every week your box will contain six to 12 different vegetables, which vary depending on the season. As an added bonus for those picking up their shares, you’ll be able to pick some of your own produce, flowers and herbs for yourself. Heads up: This means you’ll literally be harvesting your own crops. Don’t forget your clippers!
Length of time: A 24-week pick-up plan is available from the end of May through early November.
Pick-up: The farm (98 Moyer Road in Perkasie), Doylestown and Yardley.
Cost: $795 for the 24-week full-share program, $420 for the 24-week half-share program (pick up every other week). $737 for the large box 24-week delivery program (10-12 items), $486 for the medium box 24-week delivery program (6-7 items).
What to expect: This share contains between seven to 10 different fresh veggies. Expect to see leafy greens, lettuce and potatoes in the spring, with sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon coming in summer. There are additional yogurt and egg shares to be purchased separately.
Length of time: The early start CSA is a four-week share that begins April 12th and ends May 3rd, for those of us who want a head start on the early spring vegetables. The spring/summer CSA lasts 16 weeks, from the second week of May until August.
Pick-up: The farm (387 Iron Bridge Road in East Earl); Center City (1424 South Street). Additional locations in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Warminster, Chester County, Montgomery County and Berks County. Note: You can get free delivery if you’re within 20 miles of the farm; otherwise, there’s an additional charge.
Cost: Early CSA program: $108 for four-week share, $54 for two-week program. Spring/Summer program: $524 for 16-week share, $262 for bi-weekly share. Make sure to check out all the discounts for early-sign-ups, buying in bulk, local customers, and more. Note: There are early sign-up discounts available until March 25th.
What to expect: Members can expect to receive seven to nine items a week, comparable to two grocery bags of produce. There will be newsletter sent out that details the contents of the shares, as well as a few recipe ideas. Items will include lettuce, chard, eggplant, beans and much more. Occasionally, Down to Earth Harvest includes products from other local farms to expand variety.
Length of time: This CSA runs 26 weeks, from May to November.
Pick-up: The farm (1585 Winfield Drive in Downingtown); Malvern Farmers’ Market (146 Channing Avenue); Kennett Square (Walnut and Cypress in Chester County).
Cost: $625 for a full share (weekly pick-ups). $325 for a half share (bi-weekly pick-ups).
What to expect: There will be a seasonal assortment of five to eight vegetables, along with a fruit and protein option of your choice (protein options include eggs, yogurt and butter). The share will also include locally made cheese, made available eight times during the season (half shares will get cheese four times). The folks at Greensgrow will even occasionally throw in some locally prepared items like beer, pasta and ice cream. There are add-on shares like cheese, coffee, ice cream and bread available as well.
Length of time: The CSA lasts 25 weeks, from mid-May until early November, with one vacation week built in.
Pick-up: At the farm (2501 East Cumberland Street in Philadelphia). 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 March 4th.
What to expect: This year-round CSA will contain a mix of both fruits and veggies in each share. A small share has six vegetables, one herb and one fruit. A large share contains nine veggies, two herbs and one to two kinds of fruit. There’s also a fruit-only share, as well as a meat CSA from September through June. Then, they also offer a ton of add-ons, including bakery items (Pies!), eggs and dairy products.
Length of time: Fruit and veggie share, as well as the fruit-only share, are available all year and can be delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The Meat CSA is 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 Road in Wilmington) on the second Saturday of each month between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Cost: Large veggie with fruit: $24.85 for a single delivery, $298 for the full share, $99.35 for four shares. Small veggie with fruit: $15.75 for a single delivery, $189 for the full share, $63 for four shares. Fruit only: $12 for a single fruit delivery, $144 for the full share, $48 for four shares. Meat: $38 for a single delivery of chicken, $85 for a single delivery of three different kinds of meat.
What to expect: Jack’s Farm does things a bit differently. This pay-as-you-go CSA requires no up-front commitment. Instead, it requires members to sign-up to their email list. Each week the farm sends emails which will list the produce available for pick-up and the price on a given week. It is then up to you to decide if you’d like to commit to purchasing the share. All that is left is to pay and pick up on the specified date.
Length of time: The CSA runs 30 weeks from April to December.
Pick-up: Multiple locations, including the farm (1370 West Schuylkill Road in Pottstown), Philadelphia (601 North 2nd Street in Northern Liberties) and Bryn Mawr (834 Lancaster Avenue).
Cost: Pay-as-you-go; price dependent on the week’s share.
What to expect: Shares consist of different vegetables, herbs and some berries. Items include tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggplants, and more. There are free-choice items, such as greens and herbs, which are taken as needed. Some items are offered as U-pick items, meaning you can pick your own items, like peppers, beans, flowers and tomatoes.
Length of time: This CSA starts at the end of May and runs until November, about 26 weeks in all.
Pick-up: At the farm (415 West Seven Stars Road in 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: There will be six to 12 items, depending on the size of your share. To plan your meals ahead of time, a newsletter will be sent out detailing the produce to expect for the week. There are tons of add-ons, including eggs, herbs, meat and even a community-supported medicine share.
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 surrounding neigborhoods. Use the website’s location finder to find the nearest pick-up location to you.
Cost: Weekly vegetable share: $825 for the large vegetable share (11-12 items), $599 for the medium vegetable share (6-8 items). Add-ons: $910 for the meat share, $520 for the chicken share, $210 for the community-supported medicine share, $210 for the fruit share, $93 to $174 for the egg share, depending on frequency of delivery, $325 for the cheese share, $240 for the flower share, $115 for the herb share, and $195 for the bread share.
What to expect: There will be a variety of six to eight items offered each week. Items include peppers, Swiss chard, potatoes and much more. Check out previous shares here.
Length of time: This CSA lasts 21 weeks, from the first week of June to third week of October.
Pick-up: Clark Park Farmers’ Market (43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue, West Philly), Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market (Winston Road between Germantown Avenue and Mermaid Lane, Chestnut Hill) and the Landisdale Farm (838 Ono Road, Jonestown).
Cost: Full share, $430 for weekly delivery. Half share, $260 for biweekly delivery.
What to expect: This new CSA will have you pick 8 to 10 items (full and half shares) or 11 to 13 items (Veggie Lovers Share) each week from the list of available produce. Produce depends on the season, but includes a variety of veggies like beets, kale, radishes, scallions, squash and zucchini, among others.
Length of time: This CSA lasts from June 2nd to October 27th.
Pick-up: Exact locations still to be determined, but pick-up locations are planned to be in Doylestown, Warminster, Newtown, Warrington, Bristol and Langhorne.
Cost: $795 for the Veggie Lovers Share, $695 for a full share, $395 for a half share.
What to expect: Expect a medley of fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, and vegetables, like eggplants, peppers, squash, onions and more. Choice picks and U-picks are also available options upon pick-up. Add-on shares include fruit, egg and chicken, depending on your pick-up location.
Length of time: The CSA is 24 weeks long. It runs from the first week of June to mid-November.
Pick-up: The College Settlement of Philadelphia (600 Witmer Road in Horsham); and the Highlands Mansion and Gardens (7001 Sheaff Lane in Fort Washington).
Cost: $792 for the large share (10 items), $552 for the regular share (six items) and $432 for the mini share (four items).
What to expect: The Philly Food Works CSA operates slightly differently from other CSAs. Instead of paying for the season upfront, you pay weekly (or bi-weekly) and the price of your box will vary depending on the contents you pick. You have the freedom to add or remove items from traditional CSA options like the Chef’s Share (6-7 veggies, 1-3 fruits and 1-2 pantry items), small or large Farmer’s Share (6-10 veggies and 1-3 fruits) and the Local Share (6-7 veggies and 1-3 fruits). For those who want to completely customize their own share, there is an option to build a share from the ground up, so long as you spend a minimum of $30. There are also plenty of unique add-ons. Think: s bacon share, a healers share, tea share and more.
Length of time: Shares are available all year round, with item availability depending on the season. Check out their seasonal availability chart here.
Pick-up: Lots of pick-up locations, including B2 coffee shop (1500 East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly), the Random Tea Room (713 North 4th Street in Northern Liberties) and more, as well as home delivery in Center City for an additional fee.
Cost: $38 to $42 for a large Farmer’s Share or for the Chef’s Share. $28 to $32 for a small Farmer’s Share. $33 to $37 for a Local Share.
What to expect: You get your choice of 10 vegetables on a weekly basis for the full share and six veggies per week for the partial share. Items include eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, bok choi and more. Plenty of add-ons are available, like the artisan cheese share, egg share, flower share, fruit share, yogurt share and a short six-week spring share.
Length of time: This CSA runs 22 weeks, from early June until late October.
Pick-up: There are plenty of locations with varying pick-up days in and around Philly like Metropolitan Bakery (262 South 19th Street in Rittenhouse) on Tuesdays and Ambler (338 Rosemary Avenue) on Wednesdays. Find the location closest to you here.
Cost: $635 for a full share, $451 for partial share, $129 for cheese share, $42.50 for egg share, $107.50 for flower share, $105 for fruit share, $110 for yogurt share, $115 for spring share.
What to expect: The Rineer Family Farms shares last five and 10 weeks at a time, rather than requiring a full-season commitment. Each share contains a dozen eggs, a canned item, five seasonal fruits/veggies/mushrooms and a surprise item. It’s a perfect way to try out a CSA without having to lock yourself into an entire season’s worth of crops.
Length of time: This CSA is a year-round operation, so you can start whenever you’d like.
Pick-up: Multiple locations in Philly, including Parkwood in Northeast Philadelphia on Thursdays and Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market every Saturday.
Cost: $330 for a 10-week share. $200 for a five-week share.
What to expect: There are three different share types to choose from. The core share features five items each week, the partial share contains six items per week and the full share consists of 10 items per week. Items include fresh vegetables, with the occasional addition of fruits and herbs. There are also egg, fruit, mushroom and dairy share add-ons.
Length of time: This CSA lasts 23 weeks from June to November.
Pick-up: Various locations throughout Philadelphia, Berks County and the Lehigh Valley.
Cost: $410 for the core share, $485 for the partial share, $665 for the full share. Add-ons: $66 (half-dozen) to $126.50 (dozen) for the egg share, $185 for the fruit share, $162.50 for the mushroom share, $125 for a small dairy share, $176 for the regular dairy share, $176 for the cheese 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 Philadelphia and the farm is managed by Weavers Way staff in collaboration with students and teachers from Saul. The small share consists of five to six units of vegetables, while the large share has 10 to 12 units. When available, there are also U-pick options.
Length of time: 24 weeks from late May through October.
Pick-up: Tuesdays from 2 to 7 p.m., Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m. Pick-ups are at the farm, across the street from Saul High School, at 7095 Henry Avenue in Philadelphia.
Cost: $445 for small shares, $800 for a large share. You can get discounts for volunteering to work the farm.
What to expect: A box of 10 to 12 pounds of locally grown fruits and veggies per week for a full share, 5 to 6 pounds for a half share. Items include cucumbers and sweet peaches in the summer, and as the weather gets cooler, items like apples and beets will be more abundant. Add-ons include jams, cheese, yogurt, whole nut and fruit bars, bread, butter and pastries.
Length of time: This CSA lasts 21 weeks from May until October.
Pick-up: All pick-ups are on Thursdays at Walnut Hill Community Farm (46th and Market), Renewal Church (47th and Cedar Avenue), University of Sciences (600 S 43rd Street), and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Cost: $640 for a full share, $375 for half share. Add-on prices and delivery rates vary.
What to expect: You’ll organic vegetables, with amounts designed to feed one to three people in the individual size, and three to five people in the full size. There is also a market share option for people who want to select their own produce at their leisure. This requires pre-purchasing credit to use throughout the season.
Length of time: This CSA runs 25 weeks from late May through November.
Pick-up: Z Food Farm in Lawrenceville on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
Cost: $890 for the full share, $540 for the individual share. Market shares: $250 for $265 worth of credit, $375 for $405 worth of credit, $500 for $550 work of credit. Make sure to check for discounts and credit bonuses for early registration and returning customers.
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