Love Your Yard would like to recognize eight Community Supported Agriculture organizations (CSAs) from around California’s Bay Area. They’re known for their hard work and helping to provide their neighboring communities with healthy, self-sustaining, local foods and service.
What’s a CSA? It’s an organization (or farm) that provides you with a bounty of healthy groceries when you sign up with them. You get to decide the right amount of produce you get for your family, the type of food in the bundle and where you’ll pick it up. It’s a great convenience and also makes sure you get local, fresh food from which you can plan your own menu.
Located within the San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Sage Mountain Farm was a sure pick for us when it came to great Californian CSA. Because cross contamination from conventional farms is a concern for organic food producers, Sage Mountain has located itself away from other farms to maintain their excellent, consistent food quality. All of their produce is family grown using clean, natural well water, and the same organic guidelines apply to their steers, chickens, and pigs, which they raise for food
Sage Mountain Farm owns multiple properties, including Sage Mountain Beef, which provides green-fed pork and beef. They supply Whole Foods Market with fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken, as well as several local hotels and restaurants.
What can you expect from this CSA?
“Your box will include the freshest, seasonal produce we have. While vegetables are the bulk of what you will receive, we do have some fruits that will be included as well. During the winter you will see more greens, root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots, and onions. During the summer you will see more squash, strawberries, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, etc. As we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, your box will vary from week to week. We have many different membership options to suit every family. First you choose the size of box you would like to receive, small or large. The small box feeds a family of 2-3 and the large box feeds a family of 4-5. Then you choose the frequency you would like to receive your box, weekly or every-other-week (bi-weekly). Lastly, you choose your pick-up or delivery location. We can delivery directly to your home or office if you are located in Temecula or Hemet areas, or you can choose from one of our many pick-up areas around Riverside and San Diego Counties” (http://www.sagemountainfarm.com)
Collaboration plays a significant role when it comes to providing excellent CSA, and the Capay Valley Farm Shop knows this well. They provide the opportunity for institutions and families to buy seasonal, 100% local food directly from 40 small farms within California, and the list of available food is far too large to list. Here are the pick-up locations around the Bay Area for Capay Valley:
Pacific Ace Hardware in Esparto, Bay Grape Wine Shop in Oakland, Calafia Café in Palo Alto, Insight Coffee in Sacramento, and lastly Avedano’s Holly Park Market & Meat Wagon, Cheese Plus, Drewes Bros. Meats, Fatted Calf, and Say Cheese in San Francisco.
What are the Farmshare Choices for you?
There are currently three share sizes: The Bite, The Peck, and The Bushel.
The Bite is ideal for 1-2 people who cook at home a few times a week, and it includes a mix of five different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a paper bag.
The Peck is similar to The Bite (good for 1-2 people cooking a few times weekly), but it includes a mix of 7 different fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
The Bushel is suited more for a household of 2-4 people who cook regularly, and it includes a mix of 11 different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
In addition to Farmshares, there are also the following shares: Meatshares which encompass a monthly mix of local, pasture-raised beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and goat; Pantryshares which encompasses local jams, honey, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, nuts and herbs, and eggs.
3) Laguna Farm
Laguna Farm is located in Sebastopol, California, and it is a community shared agriculture program wherein members receive weekly or bi-weekly boxes of produce, as well as access to the Laguna Farm store and vegetable stand. They are worker-owned and operated, and Laguna prides itself on local food sustainability and serving the community. Laguna Farm also refrains from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and implements solar power, crop rotation, cover cropping, seed saving, composting, and habitat restoration. They do not use GMO seeds, and are recognized for donating top quality produce to local food banks, schools, non-profits, and families in need.
What can you expect from Laguna CSA?
They have just about everything Calafornia can offer! Not only is there a large, seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables, but additionally, they provide fresh juice, dairy, dried goods, delicious baked goods, and bulk produce for canning. Prices vary depending on pick-up or delivery options. Here are some seasonal examples from their website detailing what can be found in their CSA boxes:
Winter: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Broccoli, Parsnips, Butternut Squash, Yellow Onions, Satsuma Tangerines, Kale.
Spring: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Parsley.
Summer: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Radish, Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchini or Cucumber, Corn, Basil.
Fall: 1/2-Pound Salad Mix, Beets, Sugar Pie Pumpkin, Peppers, Apples, Green Beans, Chard.
4) Katz Farm
Katz Farm is located in the Napa and Suisun Valley region, and specializes in producing a wide variety of locally grown honey, preserves, olive oil, and artisan vinegars. Albert Katz’s enthusiasm for olive oil actually led him to be one of the founding members of the California Olive Oil Council back in 1993, and today, the mature Katz tree groves are CCOF certified organic. In 2011, he received the “Best of the Best” Gold Medal at the Yolo County Fair where there were over 140 other skilled competitors. All Katz products can be purchased directly from their website.
This 40-acre slice of paradise is located an hour south of San Francisco. Each week they harvest 8-10 items for the CSA, working hard to avoid repetition and keep things interesting. The full season is 30 weeks, from May-December, and everything from in the box is Certified Organic. You can add on treats like organic bouquets, local honey and pastured eggs. The weekly CSA newsletter is full of storage tips, recipes, and beautiful photography from the farm, and their online account management tool makes ordering and scheduling a breeze.
Full Belly Farm is home to 350-acres of certified organic farmland located in Capay Valley just north of Sacramento and the Bay area. They have implemented and used organic growing practices since 1985, and presently offer a huge diversity of seasonal year-round, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. They additionally sell organic wool yarn and sheepskins.
Fully Belly Farm boxes vary with the seasons, but as an example, their spring box could contain 1 bunch of carrots, 1 bunch of broccoli, 1 bunch of red kale, 1/2 pound of salad mix, 1 green cabbage, a pound of potatoes, 1 bunch of beets, and 1 bunch of fresh garlic.
Members located in the following areas can have their boxes delivered to them: East Bay, North Bay, San Francisco, South Bay, Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, and Esparto. One Full Belly box can feed a family consisting of 2 to 3 people.
7) Eatwell Farm
Eatwell Farm is 105 acre certified organic farm in Dixon. Nigel & Lorraine Walker and their dedicated crew, work year round to produce boxes of fresh vegetables and fruit that are delivered to members weekly/bi-weekly. To keep boxes affordable, efficient and ecological, they deliver to dropsites around the greater S.F. Bay Area, and up the I-80 corridor to Sacrametnto. Home delivery is now available in SF. What you will find in an Eatwell Farm Share is freshly picked, nutritious, produce grown on the farm, like deep red, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes, fresh-picked, unforgettable strawberries, or crispy greens. When they need to supplement, they only work with farmers with whom they have a close and personal relationship. Pastured eggs, freshly milled heirloom flours, herb salts, sugars and naturally fermented soft drinks, produced here on the farm, are also available with your share.
Who are their members and what does membership give you? Members are people who enjoy locally grown food because it is fresh, tasty and healthy. They like knowing where their food comes from and having a relationship with their farmer. Eatwell is more than just a box of great produce, our members truly have an opportunity to be a part of the farm through events, parties and workdays. Eatwell is their farm to enjoy, to meet and make new friends, to learn how their food is grown and to teach their children. Eatwell is about Community, and anyone can become a member.
Tara Firma Farms offers both a share in organic, hormone-free meat, as well as fresh, seasonal vegetables. They value and practice the natural life cycles of agriculture, clear down from the microbial life in their soil to the grasses they feed to their animals. As a result, their livestock are strong and healthy, and their crops are chemical free. In brief, they offer pasture raised pork, grass-fed beef, and pasture raised chickens, hens, and turkeys. The vegetable shares include local, organic, seasonal produce such as onions, kale, chard, collards, spinach, romaine, arugula, tomatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, celery, potatoes, squash, and more.