KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Community Supported Agriculture
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Martha, Martha, Martha!
The Kegerator
Haricots Écossés aka Cranberry Beans
Rib Tickler
Take 5 with Jeff Smock
Mirabelle de Metz
Parkhouse Eatery
Blog Day 2005
Marin Sun Farms
The Picasso of Pastry
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Community Supported Agriculture

What are you investing in this week? Berkshire Hathaway? Google? Pfizer? How about investing in one of your local farms? Through a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, program you can do just that. When you join a CSA program, you purchase a share of the farm's crop and are in exchange provided with part of the crop each week. By joining a CSA program, you invest in a farm and, along with other members, provide a steady stream of cash to a farm when it is needed most. Most CSA programs provide a discount if you pre-pay for your share on a quarterly or yearly basis because a pre-payment allows the farm to use the cash in the springtime when money is needed for farm equipment or investment in the farm.

A farm with a CSA program is a farm of a different color. Instead of following the nationwide trend of growing one or two crops per farm, the farm grows a multitude of different crops with the goal of providing variety to the CSA members. A polycultural farm, or farm that grows many crops, has many advantages:

• It has built-in pest and disease control. If a bug has to work too hard to find it's favorite tomatoes for instance, it will leave the polycultural farm and go find a farm that has an entire field of only tomatoes,

• It insures itself. There are so many crops on a polycultural farm that if one crop fails, there is another type of crop to take its place, and

• It's diversity means that it is constantly changing and trying new products.

Most CSA programs deliver goods weekly to a spot near your home - it could be a school, someone's house, or a business. You agree to pick up your produce box each week during a pre-set window of time. You are usually asked to pay for the program at least monthly, or sometimes quarterly. CSA programs vary in price and in variety of fruits and vegetables that they provide. By participating in a CSA, you will receive a newsletter with each delivery, and often will be invited to farm events throughout the year.

With most CSA programs, you don't have a say in what you get. Each week, you receive fresh and in-season fruits and vegetables. While purchasing products from a farm at a farmer's market is a good way to get to know a farm, don't make the mistake of thinking that what you see at a farm stand is the only product provided to a CSA member. Many farmers grow a product for the CSA program but for many reasons don't bring it to market.

We in the Bay Area are fortunate to be able to choose from many local CSA programs:

Capay Organic Farm (Yolo County)

Capay Organic Farm features home and office deliveries throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento. Their CSA program, called "Farm Fresh to You," allows you to choose a regular box, a small box, or a mostly fruit box. You can also choose a "snack pack" delivery which is suitable for offices, and can be set on any schedule. With Farm Fresh to You, you can have some say in what is in your box by letting the farm know if there is a fruit or vegetable that you will never use, and a substitution will be made. This substitution policy is unique to Farm Fresh to You.

Cost: $21.50 - $29/week. Delivery cost is included.

This week's box includes: Mixed Cherry Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes, French Fingerling Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Bartlett Pears, Gala Apples, Yellow and Red Onions, and Melon.

Eatwell Farm (Yolo County)

Eatwell Farm is a year-round CSA program with 11 pickup sites in San Francisco and 12 pickup sites in the East Bay, Davis, and Marin County. With Eatwell's CSA program, you can pick up a box every other week instead of weekly if you eat fewer veggies. Eatwell has recently started selling eggs which are from their farm and can be included in your box. Cost is $5.50/dozen or $3/half-dozen.

Cost: $21/box. Rates shown are based on a four-box subscription. Cost is reduced if you pay on a quarterly or yearly basis.

This week's box includes: Watermelon or Ambrosia Melon, Green Beans, Grapes, Green Peppers, Mixed Plums, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Thyme, and Asian Pears.

Full Belly Farm (Yolo County)

Full Belly has 22 pickup sites in East Bay, Marin, South Bay, and Sacramento. They don't have any pickup sites in San Francisco. Home delivery is available for select East Bay locations for an additional $5/week. Full Belly Farm is a polycultural farm in every sense of the word. In addition to fruits and vegetables, they provide products such as whole wheat flour, lamb, and yarn for an additional price.

Cost: $15/box. Price is reduced if you pay on a quarterly or yearly basis.

This week's box includes: Corn, Eggplant, Grapes, Onions, Cantaloupe Melon, "Surprise" Melon, Summer Squash, and Tomatoes.

Two Small Farms/Mariquita Farm (Watsonville)

Mariquita Farm and High Ground Organics join to provide a CSA box from Two Small Farms. They have 5 pickup sites in San Francisco, and 51 pickup sites in the South Bay, Peninsula and Santa Cruz. Two Small Farm's CSA runs from March through November. They provide mainly vegetables with a small amount of fruit. You can have flowers delivered with your veggie box for an additional $6/week.

Cost: $20/box

This week's box includes: Strawberries, Tomatoes, Swiss Chard, Cauliflower, Carrots, Basil, Artichokes, and Eggplant.

Riverdog Farm (Yolo County)

Riverdog Farm has 20 pickup sites in East Bay, Davis, and Napa. They don't have any pickup sites in San Francisco. Their boxes include fruits and vegetables. To preview this farm's offerings, you can visit them at the Berkeley Farmer's Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Cost: $16/week

This week's box includes: Mixed Tomatoes, Yellow Baby Watermelon, Charentais Melon, Orange Honeydew, Globe Eggplant, Armenian Cucumber, and Red Onions.

Terra Firma Farm (Yolo County)

Terra Firma Farm has 16 pickup sites in San Francisco and 15 pickup sites in the East Bay or Sacramento area. Their delivery features fruit and vegetables with the option to choose your box size -- small, medium and large.

Cost: $13 - $29/week. Startup cost involves a $35 deposit, refundable upon timely notification of discontinuation. Rates shown are based on monthly subscribership. Cost is reduced if you pay on a quarterly or yearly basis.

This week's (large) box includes: Tomatoes, Fingerling potatoes, Asian pears, Gypsy peppers, Orange honeydew, Garlic, Summer Squash, Apples, Valencias, Red watermelon, and Onions.


Anonymous Tana said...

As this is a topic near and dear to my heart, please let me recommend going to LocalHarvest.org, which allows you to enter your zip code to find CSAs (and farms, and restaurants who support farms) and all other manner of sustainable food resources. Beyond presenting individual member listings (with links to their personal websites), you find yourself looking at a map with little triangles on it. The triangles represent farms.

Maps are very evocative to me: zooming and moving around the area is a form of mini-travel that I enjoy. (I'm a map geek!)

There are many readers of this web site who are far flung from San Francisco, and they will find it useful to find their own local CSAs and perhaps even visit these farms and meet the people who are doing such amazing work.

Thanks, Jen, as ever, for bringing farms into the spotlight.

9/14/2005 9:39 AM

Anonymous Luisa said...

What a coincidence! I just wrote about my beloved CSA on my blog today. Anyway, I can't say enough good things about CSAs in general, thanks for spreading the word!

9/14/2005 10:12 AM

Blogger cookiecrumb said...

And there's no reason to chicken out if you don't think you will eat all the produce each week. Just team up with another family, split the cost, and share the bounty.
My brother subscribes to Two Small Farms CSA, and they have the best newsletter (which you can receive even if you're not a member).

9/14/2005 10:41 AM

Blogger Jennifer Maiser said...

Tana - thanks for pointing out Local Harvest. I have to admit that I have never had much luck with it, but I can see that it may be useful to get someone started.

Luisa - your CSA looks great. Love that they have a sliding scale.

Cookiecrumb - thanks for mentioning that you could split your share. Likewise, with boxes that are too small, you could double your share. Mariquita used to have a "small" box and a "large" box but when they realized that most orders were for a small, they went to one size with the idea that people who wanted a large box could purchase a double share.

9/14/2005 11:42 AM

Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

I love that this post is so to-the-point and informative. Someone gave me the use of their box last week and it was such an interesting turn in how I cooked that week.

Thank you for providing clear cut information. It's great to see it comparitively.

9/25/2005 1:33 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.