It was 55 degrees outside today, beautiful being out with kids! That of course made me think of the pending spring and all the CSAs in Massachusetts that are still accepting members. Sigh. I want to get on the CSA wagon, if only I could convince my husband. If you are in Boston, there are many surrounding farms that deliver weekly to the urban areas. The amount of produce most shares give you is way more than our family of four could eat, I know a half share would be sufficient for us – more than we need. Here are some I would sign up with in a flash! Most of these run from June to October.
Silverbrook Farm: An array of produce and specialties like free range eggs, preservative free jams and mustards, and cheeses. Pick up locations at Dartmouth, Boston City Hall, Copley Square, and Codman Square Farmers Market. Full share ranging from $588 to $621 per season, half share $346 to $376.
The Kitchen Garden: Eight to twelve pounds of seasonal produce each week that you can pick up at at the farm in Hadley, at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square (Cambridge), or Boston Non-Profit Center. $550 for full share, $325 for half share. They also introduced a new concept this year called Market Share. $325 gets you a gift card for $350 worth of veggies at their farmer’s market, $550 gets you $600 to spend. Each week you can spend as much or as little as you like and you get to pick the produce yourself.
John Crow Farm: In addition to veggie CSAs they also offer meat and poultry, see website for details. Pick up locations in Bolton, Cambridge, Groton, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, and Newburyport. They even have home delivery for Bostonians organized by Metro Pedal Power! A full share is $600 and small is $425.
Farmer Dave’s: Offering options for pre-boxed ($430 to $585, $750 with home delivery) or choice style ($295 to $585) CSA. Pick up in Dracut, Gloucester, Lawrence, Somerville, and Tewksbury.
Apple Street Farm: A smaller farm that offers shares for $450, some of the crops are pick-your-own. It is best if you live near Essex in the North Shore area. They also have a yummy poultry share, one chicken per week for $450 (or every other week for half share, $225), from June to October (about 20 weeks). Expensive? Yes. You can’t find a chicken that fresh at the super market. No artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, de-beaking, or environmental damage here.
I’m really jealous of low income folks, why? Because many farmer’s markets and CSAs now accept EBT. So there you have it, I don’t qualify for public assistance but can’t afford food straight from the farm – yet someone is getting it ‘free’. Yes, it is a great idea, and yes, many people truly need that assistance. Unfortunately many also abuse the system and buy a ton of junk food. If you use EBT to shop at a farmer’s market, I say great for you! That’s the best place to spend that money that our tax dollars pay for.
We spend about $60 a month on produce, both fruits and vegetables. I often buy something I specifically need for a recipe. Hence for us I can’t justify spending $300 plus dollars each on a vegetable share and a fruit share. I know it is healthier and I do want to support local farmers, but until our whole family warms up to the idea (wink!), we are sticking to our minimalist grocery shopping list for the bare necessities and buying organic produce that’s on the Dirty Dozen list, non-organic for the Clean 15!
Take a look at our favorite North of Boston Farmers Markets if you just want to pick up a few things. Not from Massachusetts? Not a problem! To find a CSA near you check out CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.