As anyone who follows this blog knows, Holly and I are big supporters of buying fresh and local foods. We had a great experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) when we first moved here but ultimately decided to not continue with it because we have two great year round farmers markets in walking distance.
We have a policy for this blog of not writing posts about anything we don’t have firsthand experience with. We suspected that as we gained some popularity, we might be contacted by businesses wanting us to post about them, but we want to keep our posts about things we authentically endorse.
That said, I was recently contacted by someone from a new CSA who asked us to help get the word out. Realizing that helping a CSA is different than shilling for a business, we wanted to find a way to help while keeping within the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish with this blog.
Because we are big supporters of buying fresh and local, we decided to give a shout out to the CSAs that are based within Philadelphia’s city limits:
If there are others that I missed, please let me know.
Farm to Philly has a bigger list that includes CSAs both inside and outside city limits. Also check out Slow Food Philadelphia’s Snail of Approval that recognizes local businesses for the quality, authenticity and sustainability of their food supply.
Farmers Market Take
Check out your options for getting local food because buying local has many benefits.
When we first moved to Philadelphia, we were excited about signing up for a CSA. Tom hadn’t really had the opportunity in Vegas, and I was spoiled with my Beachgreens shipment in Long Beach. By the time we moved in October, it was too late for a Fall CSA, but we found a post detailing the Winter CSA options. Our criteria included:
- convenient pickup site and time (had to be close to home or work, and preferably available after 5pm)
- availability of a half share
- “surprise” box (we didn’t want to order specific items)
- bonus points: egg share
Those criteria actually ruled out all but two CSAs, so the choice was simple. We ended up going with an every-other-week half share from Crawford Organics, with an egg share. The pickup site was in between home and work and was available on Tuesdays from 2-8pm, which was very convenient. After the Winter share was over, we renewed for a Spring/Summer share, although sadly the egg share was no longer available when we renewed.
First off, we loved the eggs. They had gorgeous orange yolks and were simply delicious and perfect in every way.
Other highlights included:
- popcorn – we probably never would have bought popcorn, but getting it in our CSA got us really into making our own popcorn at home.
- winter salad mix
- spinach and kale
- sweet corn
Unfortunately, even with a half share, there were some things that we just accumulated too much of and could never use up, and some things we just didn’t care for:
- potatoes and sweet potatoes – the quality was great but the quantity was way too much for the two of us.
- turnips – we really did try, but never really became fans.
- lettuce – the quality was very good, but we just don’t like plain lettuce that much in our salads; we prefer spinach, arugula, or mixed greens.
- radishes – we actually used these quite a bit with our winter salads, but a little goes a long way, and the quantity was way too much.
As we approach Fall, we decided not to continue with the CSA for another season. We realized that part of what had driven our decision in the first place was based on our previous lifestyles living in other cities, where farmers’ markets were harder to get to. In Philly, we live near two year-round farmers’ markets that more than meet all of our needs, not to mention that we can get good local produce at several nearby stores.
It’s really great to live in a fantastic food city like Philadelphia where we have so many options for eating fresh and local food!
We get excited every other Tuesday when it’s time to pick up our CSA from Crawford Organics at Pure Fare. I had a CSA-like delivery service (Beachgreens) when I lived in Long Beach, California, so I wanted something similar in Philly. When we moved to our apartment in October, there weren’t too many Winter CSAs to choose from, but we had a few criteria: a convenient pickup day and time (close to home or work), the option of a half share and/or every-other-week schedule (so we don’t end up with more food than we can use), a “random” selection of vegetables (we don’t want to order specific items, we want to be surprised), and the availability of an egg share. So far we’ve been really happy with our choice.
This week’s share included scallions, cilantro, winter salad mix, carrots, potatoes, spinach, and radishes:
The eggs may be our favorite part of the CSA. They have fabulous orange yolks:
We pick up our CSA on the way home from work, and since we had had a big lunch at White Dog Cafe, we weren’t actually too hungry for dinner. We used some of the winter salad mix, carrots, and radishes to make a simple salad:
Just in case that wasn’t filling enough, we supplemented our salad with a cheese plate. These cheeses all come from Mt. Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, Washington; they were a Christmas gift from my brother Erik, who lives in Seattle. The wildflower honey is also from Erik and comes from BEE-IEIO honey farm in Chimacum, Washington. The crackers are from DiBruno Brothers.
Another night of simple goodness!