CSA options locally

Forums:

I know it's a bit early to start discussing this, but hey, better to get off to a head start, right!?

what is everyone's opinion on the local CSA options? the two locations that I am most familiar with are Greensgrow and the Farm to City at Walking Fish.

looks like the two options are completely different. if I understand correctly, a half share at Greensgrow means pick up every other week, whereas a half share at Walking Fish simply means half the amount of food? about how much food would one expect to pick up at these options?

I also saw that if you sign up at the Farm to City at Walking Fish by Jan 31 you get some sort of a discount so I'd like to possibly decide by then, if possible.

key2ursoul's picture

Where is Walking Fish? I hadn't even heard of them...I'd like to learn more about this other option.

For the half share at Greensgrow, you get to pick up every other week (either Thursday or Saturday), and you get a cheese, a choice of either eggs, yogurt (Pequea Valley), butter, or seitan, and about 5 or 6 fruits and veggies. It's great stuff, but I found that I often have to purchase more fruit or veggies to have enough to make a meal (unless it's greens, or cucumbers, or beets). I still really like it though...

jbette01's picture

I have been meaning to try Farm to Families
---------------------------------------------------
Farm to Families offers local, fresh food -- and lots of it -- for a very cheap weekly fee.

Here's how it works:

1.Order a $10 or $15 box of fresh fruits and vegetables. Box items vary and depend on the season. Place your order before Friday at 12pm.
2.The next Thursday, stop by the Garden Center between 4-7pm to pick up your box.
3.While you're picking up your box, order for next Thursday. It's that simple!

Farm to Families is like a CSA -- but way cheaper. And you can opt out at any time. We accept EBT (SNAP), Credit Card, or Cash payments. Email us for more information or to sign up:

| 215-427-0350 x110.

key2ursoul's picture

Farm to Families is fabulous, and year round! I belong to it, and it's great, but it is NOT organic...There's no way it could be, for that price. Still, great value.

dan

We do Farm to Families also, and love it.
As was already said said, they aren't organic. Additionally, they're not as focused on local as a traditional CSA, although most of their stuff is local.
However, their price is great, you can take "vacation weeks" whenever you want, they're year-round, and you can get lots of great deals on "additional add-ons" like eggs, meat, etc.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

zimmiezelda's picture

Ahh, thanks Dan.

So, It's basically just a produce pick-up. I don't expect everything to be organic or local, but that's the point of me wanting to join one.

Greensgrow has the best web information on theirs. It gives you a much better idea of what you'll receive: 5-8 veg, 2 fruit, a locally made cheese and a dairy option. (plus maybe a surprise?) It's more expensive but it IS local. The Farm to City info is so vague.

This will be my first year joining one and I'm leaning toward Greensgrow.

Gold is the new silver. Must I tell you everything?

dan

zimmiezelda wrote:
So, It's basically just a produce pick-up. I don't expect everything to be organic or local, but that's the point of me wanting to join one.

It's mostly local, but they also have non-local things (like bananas or pineapples), usually as an add-on you can purchase. But, yeah, it's mostly non-organic (although some of it is).

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

jbette01's picture

dan wrote:
zimmiezelda wrote:
So, It's basically just a produce pick-up. I don't expect everything to be organic or local, but that's the point of me wanting to join one.

It's mostly local, but they also have non-local things (like bananas or pineapples), usually as an add-on you can purchase. But, yeah, it's mostly non-organic (although some of it is).

I am pretty sure that Greensgrow CSA is not organic. Some of it may be, but it is not something they guarantee.

Nothing against Greensgrow, but I find their CSA to be a bit of a treadmill. It's hectic to cook a lot of the things before they turn. If you are traveling for some reason, best to just give it away. I actually think shopping at the farmstand every weekend is much more manageable and cheaper.

sdm's picture

I'd like to find a CSA that also includes meats and eggs. Those would be of way more use to me than a pound of kale.

From welfare to Mayfair.

Leo's picture

The "organic" label is quite a bit of nonsense anyway. Always better to buy local than to buy "organic" that's shipped thousands of miles to get to your table.

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zimmiezelda's picture

Hmm...very good points. And I certainly don't want vegetables that are on their way out.

But Greensgrow has a meat, vegetarian or vegan option and they include yogurt, eggs or milk.

Someone needs to buy BOTH and report back their conclusion in the Fall. : )

Actually I'm leaving this up to CrustyZombie.

Gold is the new silver. Must I tell you everything?

sdm's picture

Didn't see a meat option at GG last time I checked, but that was awhile ago. Headhouse offered one, but it was prohibitively expensive, even if you split it 2-3 ways.

From welfare to Mayfair.

Jordan's picture

If you're super dedicated to cooking Greensgrow is great. However, if you're not, you will be inundated with vegetables. Start with a half share!

A. Jordan Rushie
Fishtown Neighbors Association - Vice President
2424 East York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125 215.385.LAW1 (5291)
Blog: www.phillylawblog.com
Website: www.fishtownlaw.com

meredith's picture

zimmiezelda wrote:
Hmm...very good points. And I certainly don't want vegetables that are on their way out.

But Greensgrow has a meat, vegetarian or vegan option and they include yogurt, eggs or milk.

Someone needs to buy BOTH and report back their conclusion in the Fall. : )

Actually I'm leaving this up to CrustyZombie.

there is no meat option for the summer CSA, but i believe the winter has one. we have done the greensgrow summer CSA for the past two years. the first year, it was amazing, although we found it difficult some weeks to finish our full share. this year, we split a full share with a friend, and we didn't seem to get enough that way. i actually think that this year there were fewer options and less produce in general. it's still a better deal than buying produce every week in a grocery store because, of course, it's local, and it was a little bit cheaper. we're still undecided if we'll do it next year, but i think we probably will.

“Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.” – David Foster Wallace

codergrrl's picture

I'm stilling eating string beans and sweet potatoes from Farm to Families, and I haven't picked up since before Christmas. I blanch and freeze alot of it, and then take a break until that gets finished.

"Je Suis Prest"

AHB's picture

The Farm to Families box contents are 100% local during the primary PA growing season. This time of year, the majority is local. Some of the a la carte items are local, particularly the eggs. There is sometimes a local ground turkey option and they are exploring other local meat options. There are 5 additional pick up sites besides the NKCDC garden center. If you look on Farm to Families' Facebook page, all the sites are listed.

ThatGirl's picture

I will choose local over organic any day. A lot of farmers are not certified organic because of the cost's and redtape involved I would imagine, but you can inquire about their pesticide usage all the same.

I did Lancaster Farm Fresh a few years ago, but I didn't like it. They didn't rotate their heirloom choices through the locations, and one time, they actually left our potatoes in a hot warehouse where they all were destroyed and turned to mush.

Ugh.

key2ursoul's picture

ThatGirlWithTheFunkyGlasses wrote:
I will choose local over organic any day. A lot of farmers are not certified organic because of the cost's and redtape involved I would imagine, but you can inquire about their pesticide usage all the same.
.

How would you inquire about it? I really really struggle with the organic v. local but not organic debate. In the end, I end up doing a little bit of both, and REALLY washing/scrubbing my non-organic stuff.

ThatGirl's picture

key2ursoul wrote:
ThatGirlWithTheFunkyGlasses wrote:
I will choose local over organic any day. A lot of farmers are not certified organic because of the cost's and redtape involved I would imagine, but you can inquire about their pesticide usage all the same.
.

How would you inquire about it? I really really struggle with the organic v. local but not organic debate. In the end, I end up doing a little bit of both, and REALLY washing/scrubbing my non-organic stuff.

I just ask them. I mean, you need to trust they are not lying to you I guess, but I'd like to think they are being honest.

Ugh.

probablykate's picture

meredith wrote:

there is no meat option for the summer CSA, but i believe the winter has one. we have done the greensgrow summer CSA for the past two years. the first year, it was amazing, although we found it difficult some weeks to finish our full share. this year, we split a full share with a friend, and we didn't seem to get enough that way. i actually think that this year there were fewer options and less produce in general. it's still a better deal than buying produce every week in a grocery store because, of course, it's local, and it was a little bit cheaper. we're still undecided if we'll do it next year, but i think we probably will.

I've been doing the Greensgrow summer CSA for a few years now, and I agree, I was a bit disappointed this year. I'm doing the winter CSA now for the first time but we've only had a few pickups so far and I'm still undecided on whether I like it or not. I'm a big fan of Greensgrow but I am beginning to wonder whether I should try a different CSA this summer. They just recently sent out a feedback survey so I am going to make sure to fill it out honestly. I'd like to give them a chance to correct course if a lot of folks were disappointed.

sara's picture

probablykate wrote:
meredith wrote:

there is no meat option for the summer CSA, but i believe the winter has one. we have done the greensgrow summer CSA for the past two years. the first year, it was amazing, although we found it difficult some weeks to finish our full share. this year, we split a full share with a friend, and we didn't seem to get enough that way. i actually think that this year there were fewer options and less produce in general. it's still a better deal than buying produce every week in a grocery store because, of course, it's local, and it was a little bit cheaper. we're still undecided if we'll do it next year, but i think we probably will.

I've been doing the Greensgrow summer CSA for a few years now, and I agree, I was a bit disappointed this year. I'm doing the winter CSA now for the first time but we've only had a few pickups so far and I'm still undecided on whether I like it or not. I'm a big fan of Greensgrow but I am beginning to wonder whether I should try a different CSA this summer. They just recently sent out a feedback survey so I am going to make sure to fill it out honestly. I'd like to give them a chance to correct course if a lot of folks were disappointed.

I was also very disappointed with the CSA this past summer. I think this was my third year, and I loved it so much the first two. I am kind of glad to hear that it wasn't just me. I belonged to the winter one in the previous years and did not join this winter because of the summer experience.

meredith's picture

sara wrote:
probablykate wrote:
meredith wrote:

there is no meat option for the summer CSA, but i believe the winter has one. we have done the greensgrow summer CSA for the past two years. the first year, it was amazing, although we found it difficult some weeks to finish our full share. this year, we split a full share with a friend, and we didn't seem to get enough that way. i actually think that this year there were fewer options and less produce in general. it's still a better deal than buying produce every week in a grocery store because, of course, it's local, and it was a little bit cheaper. we're still undecided if we'll do it next year, but i think we probably will.

I've been doing the Greensgrow summer CSA for a few years now, and I agree, I was a bit disappointed this year. I'm doing the winter CSA now for the first time but we've only had a few pickups so far and I'm still undecided on whether I like it or not. I'm a big fan of Greensgrow but I am beginning to wonder whether I should try a different CSA this summer. They just recently sent out a feedback survey so I am going to make sure to fill it out honestly. I'd like to give them a chance to correct course if a lot of folks were disappointed.

I was also very disappointed with the CSA this past summer. I think this was my third year, and I loved it so much the first two. I am kind of glad to hear that it wasn't just me. I belonged to the winter one in the previous years and did not join this winter because of the summer experience.

i filled out the survey and was very honest. i included comments as well to elaborate on what areas i wasn't happy about. i was really happy with last year's, but this year's paled in comparison. i'm also considering trying a new one next year, but it would be a shame, since i really like greensgrow and it's so close to my house. we'll see what happens. we're still undecided.

“Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.” – David Foster Wallace

Lauraska's picture

We belonged to the summer CSA at Saul High School two summers ago. It was cool, but we found it annoying to drive all the way over there each week, plus the quality of the produce was not always spectacular and we often had to go out into the fields to pick our own for certain items. It was fun at first, but got old pretty fast...especially when the bugs were out and about in full force.

After a switch to Greensgrow this past summer, we were MUCH happier. I love that the share comes with milk and eggs. This is our second round of the winter CSA and we dig that it comes with meat. I do wish that GG would do an optional meat share with its summer CSA, or at least a meat buying program, but I think I was told that they didn't really have the storage space for that kind of thing. Maybe if enough of us fill out that survey and ask for it, they'll do it!

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key2ursoul's picture

CrustyZombie wrote:

So, what/where is Walking Fish CSA?

zimmiezelda's picture

Walkin Fish Theater is at 2509 Frankford, two doors down from NKCDC and right across from Father and Sons Pizza (barf).

Gold is the new silver. Must I tell you everything?

lighterthief's picture

It seems to me that alot of what is in the CSA at greensgrow is also available at their farm-stand. Great products but too much commitment and too little control for me. Also it's sort pricey. I do F2F quality and organic cred is not as high but I have been happy with the value of my boxes and like the optional add ons of meat, eggs and now cheese. KCFC has been working out establishing it's buyers club which is really the answer for me great products and freedom to choose I have been happy with that so far.

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

Jordan's picture

I am totally going to do that farm to family thing.

A. Jordan Rushie
Fishtown Neighbors Association - Vice President
2424 East York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125 215.385.LAW1 (5291)
Blog: www.phillylawblog.com
Website: www.fishtownlaw.com

Jeff's picture

My wife and I got the CSA from RedEarthFarm this year and I am not sure if I would get it (or any CSA) again. CSAs are only as good as the weather permits and this year sucked. Although RedEarthFarm did a great job of continuing to provide a decent share throughout the poor growing season, I would have been just as well off going to Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market. I figure, both the price of vegetables and the CSA share quantity fluctuate with the season's crop yield, so I might as well go to the market and choose exactly the vegetables that I want (especially since we were given rotten onions on more than one occasion). Also, the CSAs breakdown to at least $20/week (Greensgrow being one of the more expensive, albeit more diverse, CSA programs).

dan

For us one of the best things about the CSAs is that they give you so many vegetables. If you don't like to throw food out, it forces you to get those daily servings - which is also good for weight loss.

However, I do wish F2F gave less potatoes and something else instead - but that's a small thing.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

c12arts's picture

For those of you who get farm to families what was in the share this week? I signed up but haven't picked up. Can can someone let me know? I belonged to the CSA that was available at Walking Fish and sadly a lot of it went to waste. I've discovered green lemonade and a juicer since then so what ever greens I don't eat or cook I'll drink.

lighterthief's picture

pears, apples, oranges, string beans, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, kiwi, carrots, celery - added talapia (next week cheese because you have to order that 2 weeks in advance, think I made out ok look forward to summer when they can source more easily but still the value is good quality looks OK and it definitely encourages more balanced meals. Not for the diehard locavore though

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

steveeboy's picture

been a GG CSA member for several years and have always been satisfied, however, I don't think there is any way a couple can use all the food of a full share, I would definitely go with a half share and the meat option--when they had one--never seemed as a good a deal as the full veggie option.

FT's picture

The 19125 area code probably has the most CSA organization in this city, if not this side of the Mississippi. Why is that? It just doesn't make sense to spread ourselves so thin. I understand every organization have their own agendas but come on... it's almost borderline turf war. Would it not make more sense to have one large 19125 CSA org to not only grow the community as a whole but to provide better products, etc because the membership is their to support it??? Can someone clarify? It just seem silly, selfish, and a waste of an opportunity to not let a single CSA be a bigger thing in the 19125 area code.

For a better tomorrow.

dan

I know in the past that several CSAs have said they have a limited number of spots open, and that sometimes the CSAs would "fill up" and not accept any more members. That makes having multiple CSAs seem quite logical to me.

Plus, we already see that they serve at least two different constituencies - one being "it must be local and it must be organic" and another being "we can be flexible on those things if it means lower prices and/or wider variety".

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody