If you’re into fresh food from local producers, you’ve probably heard about CSAs.
The acronym stands for community supported (or shared) agriculture, where people can subscribe to get a regular delivery of fruits and veggies direct from the farm. It used to conjure images of boxes overflowing with staples like kale and turnips, with perhaps a few lucky gems thrown in. Modern CSAs are different.
Not only do offerings go way beyond the produce aisle — everything from beer to bread to flower bouquets — the subscriptions also help boost the local economy in multiple ways.
South Philly’s Fishadelphia provides a chance for high school students to learn about production, processing and distribution, and Weavers Way’s Henry Got Crops projects offers similar opportunities for young adults. Urban Tree Connection in the Haddington mentors 10 high schoolers each growing season to teach them about environmental justice. Soon-to-open Triple Bottom Brewing Company in Spring Garden will provide jobs for people who have faced barriers to employment and promises to use as many local ingredients as possible.
You can support all those impressive organizations and more by signing up for their CSAs via the links below.
Base location: 4300 Avenue of the Republic
Philly pickup spots and dates: Tuesdays 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays 10 to 1 p.m. at Carousel House Farm from June to October. Produce share runs for 22 weeks and the flower share runs for 12.
What you’re getting: A medium produce share includes five to six items (fresh fruits and vegetables) while a large produce share includes nine to 10 items. The flower share includes a weekly bouquet of flowers, individually arranged over the course of five months.
Cost: Medium produce share for $370, large produce share for $635, flower share for $140
Base location: 927 Johnston St. (Mastery Charter Thomas Campus)
Pickup and dates: Every other Thursday 4 to 6:30 p.m. on campus. Spring 2019 pickup dates are Feb. 21, March 7 and 21, April 4 and 17 (a Wednesday, to avoid spring break conflicts), May 2, 16 and 30.
What you’re getting: You can choose between a “Blue Club” (whole fish) and an “Orange Club” (fillets only) subscriptions. Each week the amount of fish sent, no matter the subscription type, depends on the cost (so, some weeks you may get a pound while others you may wind up with five pounds of fish). Per Fishadelphia’s site, customers should expect to receive fish species such as porgy/scup, dogfish, skate, flounder, black sea bass, whiting, bluefish, mackerel, squid, clams, oysters and/or whelks.
Cost: The regular eight-shipment season is for $160, but a community discount ($70 per season) is available for students enrolled at Mastery Charter Thomas or for folks who are eligible for SNAP or Medicaid.
Base location: 1618 E. Passyunk Ave.
Pickup and dates: On the 1st and 15th of each month at Green Aisle Grocery during regular hours of operation (Monday through Friday, 12 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 11 to 8 p.m., Sunday, 12 to 7 p.m.)
What you’re getting: Each share comes with local organic fruits and vegetables, one dozen pastured eggs and grass-fed yogurts. Occasionally, the shares will include an assortment of local meat, cheese, bread, coffee, chocolate, snacks and/or Green Aisle brand goodies.
Cost: $50 per share, $300 per season
Base location: 7095 Henry Ave.
Pickup and dates: 12 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays for 24 weeks starting at the end of May at Henry Got Crops Farm Market (across the street from Walter B. Saul High School).
What you’re getting: This CSA is strictly veggies. A small share generally consists of five to six units of vegetables (for reference, one unit would equal a head of lettuce). A large share consists of the same vegetables but it is twice as large (10 to 12 units).
Cost: $465 for a small share, $850 for a large share
Base location: 1313 N. Howard St.
Pickup and dates: Grain shares can be picked up on a select Sunday or Monday around the middle of each month at participating locations. Hands-on classes are held on Thursdays after grain share pickups. For more specifics, stay up to date with “Loaf Letters.”
What you’re getting: Customers can choose one of three components to this grain share or a combination:
- Fresh: includes a variety of Lost Bread Co. loaves and pastries, pastas and a basket brimming with wild grain-centric creations, such as toasted oat pannacotta, smoked malt gnocchi or fresh masa.
- Pantry: includes whole, cracked or flaked grains, flours and mixes, shelf-stable baked treats, as well as other surprises like specialty mustard.
- Hands-on: like-minded subscribers and food lovers meet monthly at a snack-filled workshop led by Lost Bread bakers and/or guest experts, who will teach new ways to cook with the featured monthly grain at home.
All shares include a “Grain Zine,” which features in-depth information and historical context on that month’s grain. February’s grain? Buckwheat.
Cost: Each component of the share (fresh, pantry and hands-on) is $50. If customers opt in for all three, Lost Bread offers a $120 special which includes being able to invite a plus one to monthly workshops.
Base location: Ardleigh St.
Pickup and dates: Members will pick up either their bouquets, buckets or one-time shares at Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill or at Palmer Distilling Co. in Manayunk each Tuesday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The CSA typically runs from May to September.
What you’re getting: Bouquet and bucket shares include premium, organic and locally-grown flowers (buckets will contain six quarts of those flowers). The one-time plant share includes 30 plants, comprised of a mix of annual varieties and perennial and biennial varieties, to fill your own cutting garden at home — think of this one as a DIY CSA. The plants will come in a deep cell tray that ensures a large and healthy root ball.
Cost: 4-week bouquet subscription for $135, 4-week bucket subscription for $190, Spring, one-time plant share for $90
Base location: 2901 W. Hunting Park Ave.
Pickup and dates: Shares at Philly Foodworks can be picked up at no cost or delivered right to your door for a $5 fee (if you live in the Greater Philadelphia area ‘burbs, that fee goes up to $7.50). There are over 60 pickup locations in the city — there’s a map on the site — and shares can be picked up, generally, from 4 to 8 p.m. at each participating location.
What you’re getting: The small weekly farmers share includes seven to nine items and is recommended for one to two people, whereas the large weekly farmers share includes 10 to 12 items for two to four people. The chef’s share is made up of eight to 10 items and includes one non-produce item and a recipe. The local share is made up of seven to nine items. Each of the four shares (small and large weekly farmer’s, one-size chef’s and one-size local) is fully customizable. Each customer can choose weekly add-ons, with subscriptions to poultry, yogurt, beef, egg, cheese, soup, coffee, fruit, bacon, seafood and mushroom supplies.
Cost: Small weekly farmers share for $35, large weekly farmers share for $45, One-size chef’s share for $45, One-size local share for $35
Base location: 16 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore
Pickup and dates: Monday nights at Tired Hands BrewCafé and General Store on Ardmore Avenue from 6 to 9 p.m. for ten weeks from June to August.
What you’re getting: Each weekly Tired Hands share will include a 4-pack of beer, an aged local cheese, a fresh local cheese, a share of veggies from Landenberg’s Happy Cat Farm and a supply of fruits from Aspers’ Three Springs Farm. Other items you’ll receive include radishes, peppers, Italian heirloom onions, pasta sauce, tomato jam, heirloom corn flour, white cucumbers from India, squash, Mexican sour gherkins, flowers, potatoes and herbal teas.
Base location: 915 Spring Garden St.
Pickup and dates: Monthly pickups start on opening day, tentatively spring/summer 2019. Follow Triple Bottom’s social platforms for more updates.
What you’re getting: Members get a hand-picked selection of Triple Bottom’s latest beers each month, a t-shirt, a pint glass and discounts on draft pours and Triple Bottom merchandise.
Cost: 6-month membership for $175, 1-year membership for $325
Base location: 4159 W. Girard Ave.
Pickup and dates: UTC’s food share runs from June to October, where customers can pick up their bags of weekly bags of produce at Neighborhood Food Farms (608 N 53rd St.) and/or farm stands in West Philly.
What you’re getting: Each share will include five to seven sustainably-grown items comprised of seasonal produce and a mix of herbs.
Cost: Prices will be announced closer to the start of the weekly CSA subscription. Check back on UTC’s site for more details.