5 fresh farm boxes for Silicon Valley foodies
For the Peninsula, CSA’s worth committing to….
Gone are the days when people signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box out of grim determination to do what was right, suffering through too many of the wrong kinds of vegetables or just too many vegetables, period. Farms today are wising up and offering biweekly boxes with high-quality extras like pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, and other nifty items. We did a little research on your behalf about CSAs that deliver to the Peninsula.
Blue House Farm This might be the ultimate Peninsula CSA. The organic Pescadero farm has 28 CSA pickup points in San Mateo County and northern Santa Clara County. And in case you’re a total commitmentphobe, they offer a 4-box trial that can be spread out over a month or over two months. Join anytime.
Killer app: The 4-box trial. Year-round delivery. A general spirit of flexibility.
Bottom line: $24/box for all subscriptions
Pie Ranch The organic farming education nonprofit (which grows wheat!) has a Fall Homeslice Box subscription that started on Sept. 6 and runs through Nov. 22. But it’s possible to still jump in on a prorated basis; call to verify. Closest Peninsula location is La Honda Country Store; most pickup locations are Coastside.
Killer app: Being involved with an awesome organization that holds regular barn dances (you don’t have to be a CSA member to go to those).
Bottom line: $28–34/box; $20 if you qualify by income. EBT accepted.
Ananda Valley Farm For some people, providing excellent food-using methods that tread lightly on the earth is part of a spiritual calling. Such is the case with the staff and apprentices at this farm, which is part of a spiritual tradition involving meditation and yoga. Farming manager Eric Munro refers to Ananda as “beyond organic,” practicing minimum till and compost addition to increase soil vitality, and even eschewing organic pesticides. “If you visit some large organic farms, you won’t find any worms in the soil. Ours has many,” Munro states. Ananda Valley Farm’s CSA has pickup sites in Palo Alto and Mountain View and, like Blue House, offers a 4-week trial option.
Killer app: Occasional inclusion of wild harvested items like Indian spinach and wild amaranth. Unsold produce donated to nonprofits.
Bottom line: $35/week
Hidden Villa The only truly local Peninsula CSA, as crops are actually grown in the Los Altos Hills, on the western side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hidden Villa has three pickup locations on the Peninsula, offering veggies and flowers only. You can sign up anytime; CSA runs through Thanksgiving. Leftover produce—along with eggs and meat from the farm—is sold at the Los Altos Farmers Market on Thursdays (May 1-Sept. 30).
Killer app: Extremely local. Also, this is a great nonprofit that strives to connect suburbanites with the sources of their food: a most worthy cause, dude.
Fifth Crow Farm We think this Pescadero farm is so great we wrote a whole article about it. Their regular CSA includes a pound of dried heirloom beans per month. Fifth Crow Farm delivers to central locations all over the Peninsula and includes options for add-ons from neighboring farms including eggs, pastured meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken) and herbal medicines (!). You can also get honey.
Killer app: The protein and other add-ons you can have included in your box while knowing it is of the highest quality and – in the case of the animal products – raised in humane conditions.
Bottom line: $26/week for veggies; add-ons extra.