Join a CSA, Get Farm-Fresh Local Veggies Every Week
Local First Arizona's current Buy Local Week promo got us thinking more about keeping our hard-earned dollars and cents in the local economy. Farmers markets are great, but they don't stock all the sundries most folks need -- so that means at least two grocery shopping trips every week. Ugh.
That's where CSAs come in handy. If you're never heard of them, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, a local farmer offers "shares" of their crop.
Where to find CSAs, after the jump.
Most locals have heard of Seacat Gardens or Maya's Farm by now, but there are actually a plethora of other small working farms around town, some of which offer CSAs. Here's a short list of some of the most popular local CSAs to get you started. Happy produce hunting!
- Desert Roots Farm in Queen Creek offers naturally grown vegetables and herbs. You can buy into any 12-week season for $276 (or $216 for a half-share, which just means a smaller box of veggies). Summer seasons are shorter and cost less. Desert Roots also has a meat, dairy and egg co-op for a separate fee, which knocks a few more items off any omnivore's grocery list.
- If you don't want to buy into a CSA for a whole season, there's always Green Bee Produce. For less than twenty bucks, you can get a "Bee Box" of fresh berries, fruits, greens and root veggies to feed a family of 4. Payment is weekly, so you can buy in only on the weeks you need fresh produce. Pickup locations are available throughout Phoenix and the East Valley.
- Tempe CSA offers products from Crooked Sky Farms. Pricing ranges from $216 to $300 per 12-week season, depending on when you sign up (early birds get the worm here). Refer a friend and get a week free. You can also buy into the Tempe CSA on a trial basis at $25 per week. In addition to produce, Tempe CSA stocks goat cheese, breads, coffee and other items from local companies.
- While not technically a CSA, you can lease an organically grown peach tree at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek for $195 per year and you'll get all the fruit your tree produces. You pick it, or they'll do it for $75 extra. The farm also offers by-the-pound U-Pick produce seasonally.