Appetizers

Looking for a good CSA produce box? Here are some options

From left, Cheryl Whitfield, Dru Rivers, co-owner of Full Belly Farm, and Manuel Osorio, pack boxes of organic produce for the afternoon's deliveries on Thursday, June 14, 2007. Sacramento Bee/ Kevin German
From left, Cheryl Whitfield, Dru Rivers, co-owner of Full Belly Farm, and Manuel Osorio, pack boxes of organic produce for the afternoon's deliveries on Thursday, June 14, 2007. Sacramento Bee/ Kevin German Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

I was skimming through my Facebook timeline this morning when I noticed friend Rick Houston’s query: “I want to sign up for a CSA. Favorites?”

If you’re new to this, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. And the boxes are loaded with very fresh, local and seasonal produce. They’re usually delivered on a weekly basis. But there are plenty of options.

Whatever you think about Facebook, it’s at its best when you use it to solicit ideas. Lots of well-informed people weighed in on Houston’s question. There were so many good options that I thought I’d share them.

As one FB friend noted, keeping up with the food – and finding ideas for how to cook it – can be daunting. Being meticulous about meal planning is one way to deal. Having a really good juicer is another (whatever you don’t cook, you can juice). If you’re really into fresh and local, you’re probably already hitting your farmers markets. But this is a great supplement and convenience. Generally, it is safe to assume CSA boxes will be fresh, local and organic, though you should scrutinize carefully before making your choice.

Here are some options:

Fully Belly Farm: A weekly box of fruits and vegetables ample enough to feed a family of two to three people, according to the farm’s website. Neighborhood delivery sites make pick-up convenient. Four weeks for $72.

Del Rio Botanicals: This prestigious farm in West Sacramento is highly regarded for its seed inventory, quality produce and esoteric selections. The boxes, with fruits and vegetables picked the morning of delivery, is $20 per week, paid quarterly.

Terra Firma Farm: There are small ($16), medium ($27) and large ($36) boxes available. The farm requires a minimum patment of $150 to start a subscription. The website is very helpful, with information on the fruits and vegetables available by season, along with plenty of vegetables. Bonus points for cute pics of the farm’s bulldogs on the website.

Farm Fresh To You: The two appeals here are delivery to your doorstep and customizable options. Options include fruits and vegetables, produce that requires not cooking, fruits only and vegetables only. From $26 to $58, depending on the size and ingredients selected.

Good Hummus: There are box options for vegetables ($210), fruit ($185), flowers ($90), and bread ($40), calculated for 12 weeks.

Say Hay Farms: This Yolo County farm is known for its excellent eggs. Subscriptions start at $16 a week for four weeks. Various options, including weekly or bi-weekly delivery. Subscription includes an invite to the farm’s annual dinner.

Prather Ranch: “Get the best meat on Earth for an unbeatable price,”states the farm’s website. Monthly orders and no commitment. Boxes include select cuts of the ranch’s high-quality beef and pork. $129 for 10 pounds or $229 for 20 pounds.

There are many more CSA options out there, but these are certainly good choices. As for Houston, he’s sifting through all of the information and has yet to make his final selection.

Why is he opting for a CSA box when this midtown resident is so close to farmers markets?

“I love a challenge that requires my creativity. And I love surprises,” Houston wrote on Facebook.

Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob.

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