Enter March. A time of confusing weather and impatience, with spring just around the bend, lurking close enough to tease us, but still keeping her distance. I’m okay with this cat-and-mouse game for now, because this year I vow to be ready for spring when she finally decides to stay. Come spring, I will have signed up for my CSA and secured a medium-sized picnic basket.
Not so sure what all the CSA buzz is about? Sit back, relax and let me lay it out for you: CSA is an acronym for community-supported agriculture. Before harvest season begins, farms sell “shares” of their crops to local community members who, in return for their investment, get a consistent flow of fruits and veggies (and, in some cases, other yummy add-on items, like artisanal cheese) for the season. Generally, you pick up your weekly (or biweekly) box of fresh produce from the farm or a pickup location in your ‘hood. Still with me? Cool.
CSAs are pretty sweet because they support local farmers and help you to eat locally. Plus, some farms even allow shareholders to literally pick some of their own items like flowers, herbs and fruit, which is a neat way for us city folk to get back to nature (and it’s super Instagramable). Plus, CSAs are a great way to have a constant intake of fresh and healthy foods (#swimsuitseason) and you might even discover a new weird veggie to be obsessed with.
So, now that you’re all filled in and sold on the CSA world, you just have to choose a farm’s CSA program which, admittedly, can be a daunting task. (So. Many. Options!) To help narrow down the options, we’ve put together a handy list of 18 spring CSA programs in Philadelphia and the suburbs, along with all the details you’ll need from each of them. After choosing your CSA, you’ll be all set for a season of healthy eating, picnicking and lower weekly-grocery bills.
What to expect: Your weekly 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 mid-to-late May through early November.
Pickup: The farm (98 Moyer Road in Perkasie), Doylestown and Warrington.
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). Farm stand discounts are available to all CSA members.
What to expect: This share contains around seven to 10 different fresh veggies in each box. Expect to see leafy greens, lettuce and potatoes in the spring, with sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon coming in summer. There are additional fruit, yogurt and egg shares to be purchased separately. New this year is a mini share, containing 5 to 6 items in slightly smaller portions.
Length of time: The early-start CSA is a four-week share that begins April 4th and ends April 25th, for those of us who want a head start on the early spring vegetables. The spring/summer CSA lasts 18 weeks, from the May 2nd through the end of August.
Pickup: The farm (387 Iron Bridge Road in East Earl); Center City (737 Bainbridge Street in Bella Vista). Additional locations in Delaware County, Warminster, Chester County and Montgomery County. Note: Home delivery is a very affordable option, adding $2 to your order every week.
Cost: Early CSA program: $108 for four-week share, $54 for biweekly program, $594 for 16-week spring/summer share, $297 for biweekly share. Mini share: $22 a week with your choice of a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. Make sure to check out all the discounts for early sign-ups, buying in bulk, local customers, and more. Note: early-bird sign-up discounts are 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 a newsletter sent out pre-pick-up that outlines the contents of the shares, as well as a few recipe ideas. Items will include herbs, 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 mid-May to mid-November.
Pick-up: The farm (1585 Winfield Drive in Downingtown); Malvern Farmers’ Market (146 Channing Avenue); Kennett Square (Walnut and Cypress in Chester County); Bala Cynwyd (Conshohocken State Rd and City Ave).
Cost: $635 for a full share (weekly pick-ups), $335 for a half share (biweekly pick-ups).
What to expect: There will be a seasonal assortment of six to nine fruits and vegetables, along a protein option of your choice (note: there are vegan-friendly protein options, too!). 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 — Greensgrow aims to be your one-stop shopping spot.
Length of time: The CSA lasts 24 weeks, starting the week of June 1st and running through the week of November 11th.
Pickup: At the farm (2501 East Cumberland Street in Philadelphia). Additional locations in and around Philadelphia.
Cost: Standard program: $800 for full share (with cash or check, additional charge for credit/debit payments), $450 for a half share (12 weeks), $490 for a fruit and veggie share (24 weeks), $175 for the cheese share (7 pick-ups), $210 for the coffee share (7 pick-ups). Sign-up starts March 3rd. Keep your eyes peeled for flower and ice cream/popsicle shares!
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.
Pickup: 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: 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 two kinds of fruit. There’s also a fruit-only share, as well as a meat CSA, also offered year-round. Additonally, they also offer a ton of add-ons, including bakery items (pies!), eggs and dairy products.
Length of time: The fruit and veggie share, as well as the fruit-only share, are available all year and can be delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly. The meat CSA is available monthly.
Pickup: 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: The large veggie share with fruit is $24.85 for a single delivery, $298 for the full share, $99.35 for four shares. The small veggie share with fruit is $15.75 for a single delivery, $189 for the full share, $63 for four shares. The fruit only share is $12 for a single fruit delivery, $144 for the full share, $48 for four shares. The meat share is $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 and certified organic 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.
Pickup: 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, arugula and eggplant, 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 around Thanksgiving, about 26 weeks in total.
Pickup: At the farm (415 West Seven Stars Road in Phoenixville).
Cost: $910 for a full share, $500 for a half share (delivered biweekly), $1,000 for a split share (produce shared between two households).
What to expect: There will be four to 13 items in your share box weekly, 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: Lasting 26 weeks, from May 1st to October 23rd, though dates vary for add-on items. Deadline for signing-up is April 14th.
Pickup: There are over 60 pickup areas across Philadelphia and surrounding neigborhoods; use the website’s location finder to find the closest pickup location to you.
Cost: Weekly vegetable share is $850 for the large vegetable share (11-13 items), $610 for the medium vegetable share (7-8 items) and $425 for the small vegetable share (four items). Add-ons include $520 for the chicken share, $350 for the herbal 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, $255 for the flower share, $445 for the summer beverage 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.
Pickup: 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 is $430 for weekly delivery. Half share is $260 for biweekly delivery.
What to expect: This 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 22 weeks, from late May/early June to late October/early November.
Pick-up: Bucks County Community College (Newtown), Medicine in Balance (Langhorne), Lower Bucks Hospital (Bristol), Newtown Athletic Club, Doylestown Farmer’s Market and WeWork Northern Liberties (Philadelphia).
Cost: $820 for the extra-large share (12 items weekly), or $520 every other week (EOW); $720 for the large share (9 items weekly) or $410 EOW; $480 for the medium share (5 items weekly) or $310 EOW; flower share (starting in July) is $210 for one bouquet of flowers for ten weeks. Note: Additional charges for those paying with card — cash/check are preferred.
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 pickup. Add-on shares include fruit, eggs and chicken, depending on your pickup location.
Length of time: The CSA is 24 weeks long. It runs from the first week of June to mid-November.
Pickup: The Harvest House at the Pennypack Horsham Farm (685 Mann Road, Horsham) between 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm on the day assigned to the share member.
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 Foodworks CSA operates slightly differently from other CSAs. Instead of paying for the season upfront, you pay weekly (or biweekly) 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. 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 $28. There are also plenty of unique add-ons. Think: a bacon share, a healers share, cheese 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.
Pickup: Lots of pickup 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 certain neighborhoods of Philadelphia, for an additional fee.
Cost: $38 to $42 for a large farmer’s share, $40 to $44 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 potatoes, beans, tomatoes, bok choy and more. Plenty of add-ons are available, like artisan cheese and bread shares, egg share, fruit share and yogurt share.
Length of time: This CSA runs 22 weeks, from early June to November.
Pickup: There are plenty of locations with varying pickup days in and around Philly like the Metropolitan Bakery (262 South 19th Street in Rittenhouse) on Tuesdays and in Ambler (338 Rosemary Avenue) on Wednesdays. Find the location closest to you here.
Cost: $660 for a full share, $462 for partial share, $129 to $219 for cheese share, $47.50 for egg share, $107.50 for flower share, $109 for fruit share, $115 for yogurt share and $154 for the artisan bread share.
What to expect: The Rineer Family Farms shares last five and 10 weeks at a time, rather than requiring a full-season commitment, but is available all year-round. 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.
Pickup: Thursdays at Suburban Station, Saturdays at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market and the Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market, Sundays at the Spring Mill Farmers’ Market. And, if you live in Northeast Philadelphia, your share gets delivered to your door on Saturday Mornings.
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 seven 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, bread, mushroom and dairy share add-ons.
Length of time: This CSA lasts 23 weeks from June through November.
Pickup: 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, $155 for the fruit share, $56.50 for the mushroom share, $113 for the regular bread share, $198 for a two cheese share, $275 for a three cheese share, $330 for a two-cheese and dairy share.
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, pastries and beer (from Dock Street Brewing Co.).
Length of time: This CSA lasts 21 weeks from May 26th until October 13th.
Pickup: All pickups 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 and can be found here.
What to expect: You’ll receive organic vegetables, with bundles 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/early June through mid-November.
Pickup: 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.
Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: