It may seem odd, when the air is frigid and the daylight precious, to start making plans for the summer months. But this is exactly what you should be doing. In case you missed , here's why you should join a CSA:
- Enjoy fresh, delicious, local food all season long
- Support local farms even in hard times
- Experiment with a wider variety of produce
Options abound, but here are a few of the best from areas served by Patch:
One Straw Farm (White Hall)
- Contact: Joan Norman, 410-343-1828
- Pickup: Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at roughly 40 pickup sites in the tri-county area (click here for last year's map.)
- Terms: 24 weeks for $270 (half share at farmers' markets only) or $520 (full share) of produce, beginning June 3; price increases after March 17.
- Extras: Follow along with Joan on her blog; also check out from December 2010 for a more personal look at the Norman family business.
Zahradka Farms (Baltimore)
- Contact: Libby, 410-813-1590
- Pickup: A variety of options in Baltimore county, including home delivery
- Terms: 26 weeks for $350 (small) or $650 (medium) or $950 (large) of produce
- Extras: Bread, eggs, meat and “specialty items” such as jam, soup and cheese are all available as add-ons, either every week or every other week. They also have a winter CSA that runs through April; it started in December, but they'll be glad to prorate your share for the remaining weeks of the current season.
Lehigh View Farm (Union Bridge)
- Contact: Jenn, 410-775-7058
- Pickup: two farmers' markets in Westminster, plus additional options in Catonsville and Washington, DC.
- Terms: 18 weeks for $300 (half share) or $495 (full share) of produce
- Extras: Add-on shares of eggs, cheese and / or beef are available; the farm is also pioneering an 8-week summer "bonus share" for families who can't commit to the entire growing season.
Deep Run Farms (Hampstead)
- Contact: Greg Horner, 410-340-6231
- Pickup: At the farm, a local church or the Maryland State Fairgrounds
- Terms: 20 weeks for $225 (half share) or $450 (full share) of produce
- Extras: Follow Greg on his farm blog, where you'll get the latest updates on produce and publicity.
Gorman Produce Farm (Laurel)
- Contact: 301-908-8063
- Pickup: At the farm, 3 days per week
- Terms: $450 half share, $620 full share of produce, pickup is 3-4 days per week with schedule TBD
- Extras: A feature-rich website includes recipes and a crop list by month, so you can have some idea of what to expect in your box.
Roundabout Hills (Glenwood)
- Contact: Fiona Wilcox, 301-768-4702
- Pickup: At the farm, Sunday afternoons from 2-3 PM
- Terms: 24 weeks for $728 (half share) or $888 (full share) of produce; begins in May
- Extras: An add-on egg option is available; the farm also partners with other local growers to allow for "space-hogging" crops that their small fields can't accommodate.
Sandy Spring (Silver Spring)
- Contact: Erin Johnson, 301-438-3927
- Pickup: several dozen options in Montgomery and Howard counties; full list here.
- Terms: 25 weeks for $768 buys a full share of vegetables, beginning May 7.
- Extras: Add-ons of fruit, flowers and herbs are available, all sourced from local farms and delivered along with your CSA vegetables. Prices and delivery schedule varies.
Real Food Farm: If you work in the city, it might be feasible to join the CSA of the Civic Works program, which farms on 6 acres of Clifton Park in northeast Baltimore. Their inaugural season last year was a tremendous success, and they're looking to expand. Your membership will support a diverse group of students, nonprofits and other partners who are looking to bring fresh produce into the "food desert" of Baltimore City. For more information, contact Zach Chissell at 410-366-8533.
If you'd like more options, try the following sources for CSA information:
Maryland's Best: Department of Agriculture site with extensive listing of farms, CSAs and local products.
Maryland Agriculture: University of Maryland site with links to local CSA options by county.