Eating local: Bay Area CSAsSeptember 25, 2008
We split a farm share with some friends through a local farm’s CSA (community-supported agriculture) program, which means we pay the farm quarterly and each week they drop off a box full of tasty fruits and veggies for us. It’s renewal time, and we were debating whether to stick with our current farm or potentially try something new, so I did some digging on the various options. (I also keep contemplating becoming a dropoff site for a CSA—we’d have to get some neighbors on board, but many of the pickup sites near us already have waiting lists, so it’s definitely an option.) Thought I’d share the research here, though, since CSAs are a terrific way to eat fresh local produce, save money, and support the local economy all at the same time. (The starred CSAs are the ones I’ve had direct experience with; all are good, although they’re each unique.)
In the Bay Area, we’re lucky to have access to the Central Valley harvest, which means our farmers’ markets and CSA boxes are full of all sorts of wonderful produce, but you can join a farm in many other parts of the country, too. (The one I belonged to in Boston went on hiatus for the winter months, but had great summer produce.) The programs vary in cost and format, and some aren’t year-round; others offer add-on products like eggs, flowers, etc. These are all primarily fruit/vegetable programs, though. We’ll save meat and grain shares for another day!
CSAs with drop-off spots in Oakland:
- People’s Grocery (Oakland-based; also a pickup site in Berkeley)
- *Terra Firma Farm (also SF, Berkeley, Alameda, Lamorinda, Kensington, and Sacramento/Davis area)
- *Full Belly Farm (throughout North Bay, East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento/Davis area)
- *Eatwell Farm (various spots in SF, North Bay, East Bay, and Sacramento/Davis area)
- Riverdog Farm (various spots in North Bay, East Bay, and Sacramento/Davis area)
- Shooting Star CSA (Seasonal; also in Berkeley, Napa, Fairfield, and at the farm in Suisun Valley)
CSAs with drop-off spots in nearby cities:
- Live Power Community Farm (non-mechanized farm; member-distributed out of Mill Valley, SF, Berkeley, and several spots in Mendocino County)
- Happy Child CSA from Frog Hollow Farm (fruit only; SF, Berkeley, Lafayette, and various Peninsula, South Bay, and Santa Cruz spots)
- Eating with the Seasons (SF, Peninsula, South Bay)
- Two Small Farms (SF, Peninsula, South Bay)
- Canvas Ranch (Marin, Sonoma)
- Eat Outside the Box (various spots in East CoCoCo)
Not in the Bay Area?
Check this website for a farm with a CSA program near you: Local Harvest.