CSAs in the Cities

CSAs+in+the+Cities

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If you’re sticking around the Twin Cities over the summer, we know what you’re thinking—how can I further my environmental stewardship by reducing the industrial commodity chain of food, support the local economy and avoid ingesting scientifically dubious, agriculturally suspect GMOs?

Or maybe—how can I get my hands on massive amounts of kale?

Either way, you may consider CSAs, or Community-Supported Agriculture.

Here’s how it works: You sign up through a program set up by one of the farms in the Twin Cities region (many are in Wisconsin). You pay a fee, generally for either a full or half share, which equates to a box of produce of a specified quantity, either every week or every other week.

You’ll pick up the box at the farm or at a designated drop-off site. In the box you’ll find whatever the farm has harvested in a particular week. Usually you’ll have no idea what’s in the box until you get it. The only real predictor is a sense of what’s in season in Minnesota during the different summer months, which is why we’ve provided this handy calendar to the right.
Generally, CSAs load you up with a box full of vegetables. Sometimes, depending on the farm and time of season, there might be fruit or other farm-fresh goods included. But if you’re looking for a more consistent supply of other products, some CSAs offer specialized programs like egg shares. Some also offer programs that extend into the fall and winter seasons.

Below we’ve compiled a table of CSAs in the area and included their locations (both farm location and nearby drop-off sites, if applicable), pricing and bonus offerings. The list of CSAs comes from Edible Twin Cities, but the accompanying information was researched independently.

Although pricing for CSAs seems pretty steep on a college budget, some programs have systems for paying in installments. Half shares are also more affordable and provide a more manageable bundle of produce.

Full shares tend to leave you with a seemingly-insurmountable pile of greens, but it’s important to remember that greens often cook down to a fraction of their initial volume. Plus, in a house full of hungry college students, you probably won’t have trouble finishing them each week.

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