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picking a CSA

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Feb. 11th, 2009 | 08:23 pm
posted by: crazypumpkin in csashares_wi

I've gone through the big list of CSAs and whittled it down to a few that I think could work for me. But I'm having a hard time deciding and could really use some input. I thought I'd start here before trying the bigger madisonwi.

Some background: I'm not afraid to cook, but I am (currently) only one person and I've not done a CSA before. Probably a half share would be best for me based on this. The 3 at the top of my list are bolded.

EDIT: I've decided to go with Harmony Valley because they have the long growing season, pick up locations all over the place, and perhaps most important to me, pick up TIMES that work with my schedule (the big thing that I didn't like about Vermont Valley). Yay and thanks for everyone's help!

This is my short list,

Driftless Organics
June 12 - Oct 15, 19 weeks
EOW $325

Harmony Valley Farm
May - Dec
17 boxes $545
I like how long their season is, but the cost up front makes me a bit nervous. I've also heard a lot of good things about this one.

Keewaydin Farms
20 weeks, beg Jun - mid Oct
EOW $260

Primrose Community Farm
20 weeks, Jun- Oct
10 boxes $305

Ridgeland Harvest
early Jun - mid Nov
22-24 weeks
EOW $400

Two Onion Farm
20 wks, 6/15 - 11/1
weekly small $475
biweekly small $280
I really like the idea of a weekly smaller box. And this is the one I'm leaning towards the most.

Vermont Valley Community Farm
6/11-10/22, 20 weeks
EOW $345
I've also heard very good things about this one.

Young Earth Farm
EOW $300

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Comments {7}

TFU / Yet Another Confectionary Existentialist

Harmony Valley

from: taeli
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)

I have a half share (a box every other week) and if you like to cook, you'll have a lot to choose from. There's a great deal of variety in the boxes and if you don't like something the pick up sites have a swap box so that others who do like it can take extra (or if you like something in the box you can take it). Also, they give you things you may not have tried before, like burdock root, celeriac and black radishes for example. But they also have a nice weekly newsletter from the farm which often includes cooking ideas and recipes for things in the box and the website contains past newsletters which you can access for more information.

The two years I've had them, they also included a bunch of herbs starters you can grow for yourself, which is great if you've got a green thumb.

The price is a big chunk of change, but there are alternative payment options if you don't have all the money up front. There is an option to do two larger payments by specific dates or you can have a smaller payment debited monthly from a bank account for the entire year.

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maggie o

Re: Harmony Valley

from: porcupinetie
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)

Ditto on Harmony Valley, except I've only been with them for one year.

I also liked the long growing season and interesting variety of produce, including raspberries and strawberries.

The weekly small box is a great idea, and we considered Two Onion Farms (one of the few, or maybe only local farms with that option) but the pickup times didn't work for us. Sometimes, during the summer, it's hard to get through all the lush greens that come in a large box before the wilting process begins.

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Re: Harmony Valley

from: aetrix9
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)

My husband and I use our tax return each March to pay for our CSA share. Plus, a number of insurance companies give $100 rebates on CSA share prices. MaCSAc has the details: http://www.macsac.org/rebates.html

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(no subject)

from: janusnori
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)

I just have to say it's like we're on the same wavelength. I was just about to post a very similar entry because I was looking at csa farm websites today. I'm really looking forward to any responses on this entry.

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(no subject)

from: crazypumpkin
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)

If you look through madisonwi you should be able to find at least 2 recent entries about CSAs (including one from me) that you might find helpful. They are what led me to this point.

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(no subject)

from: janusnori
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)

Indeed! I'd built a very similar list based off those entries. Thanks for the link though!

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Vermont Valley!

from: aetrix9
date: Feb. 12th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)

I love Vermont Valley for a number of reasons:
1. Weekly newsletters and box inserts keep you up to date on the Farm's progress and how to eat your veggies.
2. VV has huge diversity of land and crop which has helped them weather the past two bad seasons. We still ate good even when some other CSAs were drowning.
3. The farm hosts Farm Festivals where you can visit the farm and get to know your CSA "family." They host a pea pick, corn boil with potluck, pesto-making day, You-pick tomatoes, and Pumpkin Pick with hayride.
4. VV has a HUGE network of share pickup points. See the website for locations. http://www.vermontvalley.com
5. VV is instrumental in local food politics and Barb and Dave are very involved in promoting CSAs.
6. The veggies taste SO GOOD! And, if there's something you don't like *cough*Eggplant*cough* then you can leave it at your share pickup point and somebody else is sure to eat it.
7. Also at Vermont Valley pickup points, you can pickup shares of fruit, cheese and eggs, to round out your local eating.

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