Farm Fresh: Community Supported Agriculture Programs in Philadelphia

Sign up for one of these community supported agriculture programs to get from-the-farm produce all season long.

>> Check out our all-new list of CSA programs for the 2013 season!

Sick of the wilted, overripe veggies at the grocery store? Us, too. Say hello to community supported agriculture, or CSAs.

Just what is a CSA? An excellent way to enjoy delicious, locally grown produce—that’s what. Here’s how a CSA works: Customers purchase a “share” of a particular farm’s harvest, and they receive a weekly or bi-weekly supply of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit throughout the spring, summer and fall. You can pick up your produce directly at the farm or at designated pick-up points.

Here are the best CSAs to join in the Philly area. But hurry and reserve your spot now—space is limited.

Blooming Glen Farm
This CSA program is hands-on, so be prepared to get a little dirty! You might be asked to count or weigh the produce, and you’ll have the opportunity to pick some veggies in the field yourself. During the summer and early fall, you can also pick your own flowers at no extra cost. Additional “work opportunities” will be available for members who want to experience farming themselves.

What to expect: Eight to 12 different vegetables, varying in season. In the spring you can expect more leafy greens and spring roots, summer will consist of more familiar vegetable staples and fruits (tomatoes, melons), and fall will provide hardy greens and root crops.

Length of time: Sixteen and 24 week programs are available, late May to early November.

Pickup: The 24-week share is at the farm (98 Moyer Road, Perkasie). Sixteen-week shares are at Doylestown Presbyterian Church (127 E. Court Street, Doylestown).

Cost: Full share for 24 weeks: $795; split share: $415 per partner; full share for 16 weeks: $530.

Greensgrow Farm
This community supported agriculture program includes fruit, cheese and dairy in addition to vegetables each week. And don’t worry about going on vacation—this CSA has built a vacation into the shares so that you can head out without worrying about wasting food and money. You could also save $200 by participating in a work share, by working four-hour shifts throughout the season.

What to expect: Five to eight different vegetables, two fruits, a locally produced cheese, and another dairy/protein choice (options such as eggs, yogurt, and tofu).

Length of time: Twenty-five weeks with 24 shares to include a built-in vacation week, May 24 through November 10.

Pickup: At the farm (2501 E. Cumberland Street, Philadelphia), West Philadelphia (38th and Lancaster Avenue), Camden (Cooper Grant/Rutgers Campus at Friends and Penn streets, and at Waterfront South Farmers Market at 1729 Ferry Avenue).

Cost: Full share: $775 ($32.30 a week); Half share: $435 ($33.45 a week)

Lancaster Farm Fresh
This farm is a cooperative of over 75 small-scale, certified-organic family farms in Lancaster County. Lancaster takes its organic reputation seriously, so you can be sure to trust that your produce is chemical free. Each week you will get advance notice about the veggies you can expect to arrive in your share. You can also sign up for a fruit share, which runs from June through October.

What to expect: Seven to 12 different vegetables in the full share, four to nine in the half share, fruits included in season.

Length of time: 25 weeks, May through October.

Pickup: Fairfood Farmstand (51 North 12th Street), Metropolitan Bakery (262 South 19th Street), plus more than 30 additional pickup locations in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Lancaster Farm home-delivers to certain areas at an additional expense.

Cost: Full share: $725; half share: $450; fruit share: $200.

Landisdale Farm
Landisdale Farm is a family owned and operated certified-organic farm located in Lebanon County, focusing on healthy soils and healthy plants. Reserve your share before March 31st to save some cash.

What to expect: Six to eight different vegetables, fruits included in season.

Length of time: Twenty-two weeks, June 6 through October 24.

Pickup: Trinity Memorial Church (2212 Spruce Street). Additional locations in the city and surrounding areas.

Cost: Two medium shares: $840; one medium share: $430.

Kimberton Farm
Currently in its 26 year of operation, the Kimberton Farm is biodynamic/organic vegetable farm that dedicates 10 acres to its CSA program. Fun fact: It was the first CSA in Pennsylvania. Items such as greens and herbs will be offered for free at no additional cost, so you can take them as you need them and customize your share.

What to expect: Herbs, vegetables, and some berries.

Length of time: 28 weeks, mid-May to mid-November.

Pickup: At the farm (415 West Seven Stars Road, Phoenixville).

Cost: Full share: $895; partial share: $500.

Crawford Organics
Crawford Organics is a family-operated farm dedicated to raising organic produce since 1998. It offers winter, spring/summer, and fall CSAs each year, so you’ll never miss out on your weekly dose of fresh produce.

What to expect: On average eight different vegetables, almost always including lettuce. Leafy greens, potatoes, and brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower will come frequently in the spring and less often in the summer.

Length of time: Standard program: 16 weeks, mid-May through August. Early-start program: 20 weeks, April through August.

Pickup: At the farm (387 Iron Bridge Road, East Earl) and Center City (119 S 21st Street, Philadelphia). Additional locations in surrounding areas. Note: free delivery if you are 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.

FirstWatch Farms
FirstWatch Farms grows over 25 different kinds of vegetables. It’s dedicated to growing items in season, so you can expect very high quality vegetables each week. Egg and fruit shares are also available for purchase.

What to expect: On average, eight different vegetables. No greens (think lettuce, spinach, and broccoli) will be given in the summer months, as these vegetables grow better in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall.

Length of time: Twenty-two weeks, end of May to mid-October.

Pickup: For Lititz shares, at the farm (2050 West Main Street, Ephrata) and the Downtown Lititz Farmers’ Market (9 North Water Street, Lititz). Pickup locations also available in Wayne.

Cost: Lititz full share: $575, Lititz partial share: $335; Wayne full share: $600, Wayne partial share: $360.

Neighborhood Foods
Neighborhood Foods CSA is a joint venture between the Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation and Urban Tree Connection, both nonprofit organizations that focus on the importance of fresh food access and employment of local youth in West Philadelphia neighborhoods. Bread, honey and jam shares are also available for purchase.

What to expect: About 10 different vegetables each week, fruits included in season.

Length of time: Twenty-two weeks, mid-May to mid-October.

Pickup: The Walnut Hill Community Farm at 46th and Market; in Narberth at Price and Dudley Aves; at Four Worlds Bakery at Woodland and 47th Streets; and at the Rittenhouse Farmers Market at Rittenhouse Square.

Cost: Full share: $600.

Red Earth Farm
Red Earth Farm is a family-owned and operated farm dedicated to bringing the freshest chemical-free produce to your table. The farm also provides the opportunity to purchase other fresh farm products, such as eggs, cheese, yogurt, honey and grass-fed meats brought from neighboring farms.

What to expect: Ten different vegetables and herbs, fruits included in season.

Length of time: Twenty-two weeks, June to November.

Pickup: Metropolitan Bakery (262 South 19th Street), plus additional pickup locations in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Cost: Full share: $595; partial share: $435.

>> Want to win a crate of farm-fresh fruits and veggies? Enter our latest Be Well Philly giveaway with the FruitGuys!