In my attempt to purchase organic produce whenever possible, I often come up against two things: produce flown in from Mexico (not exactly environmentally sensitive) or prices that necessitate re-mortgaging the condo to afford it (not tempting). Finding a good-quality, consistent source of organic produce can be a challenge.
I was very interested, therefore, to learn of a new-to-me concept in produce: Community Supported Agriculture. Instead of a small farm only selling their harvest through farmers markets or retail outlets, they divide the harvest into manageable parcels (for example, 60 shares) and pre-sell the parcels to the local community. Harvest shares are often delivered to a pick-up point each week.
Many of these farms are family-owned and several are certified organic. Harvests usually begin in May, run through October (18-20 weeks), and shares are approximately $500-600 for the entire season. Some farms even offer egg shares, as well, for an additional fee.
So, if this concept is as attractive to you as I found it, take a look at the following farms and see if CSA is for you:
Nathan Creek Organic Farm is in Langley and offers many drop off locations throughout Metro Vancouver. The farm expanded last year and now offers 100 shares.
Klippers Organics Farm is in the Okanagan but offers four pick up locations around Vancouver. This is the farm’s first year with a CSA program.
UBC Farm also offers organic produce and is entering its fifth season. Pick up is at the farm.
CSAs are great! Unfortunately most of them have sold all of their “shares” by the end of March, as they depend on the money to get started for the season… the “seed money”, literally. My partner and I just bought a share with Klippers but were torn between that one and City Farm Boy (drawn to the extremely local aspect and urban gardening idea). All are almost identical in price, but Klippers offered the opportunity to add free range, cage-free, organic eggs for about $5 per dozen as well as meats and other food items like apple juice, canned tomatoes, jams, etc. from time to time. That was a nice option to have available. They’ve actually been around fora while… 8 years I think. I’ll have to post another comment at the end of the summer to let everyone know how it went.
I’d love to know how it goes for you. My own personal worry with committing to one is having 10lbs of tomatoes every week for a month or two! I’d have to learn to can, I think…