Monday, February 22, 2010

Produce All Summer Long: The CSA Debate

I've been thinking about joining a CSA for a while now. CSA being Community Supported Agriculture. I love the concept of supporting local, organic farming and at the same time saving money on groceries (the bargain hunter in me will never die).

The idea is that farmers deliver fresh produce all summer long to the people who supported them financially up front--meaning they don't have to take out loans to run their farm (Dave Ramsey would be proud....)

I've found quite a few great options with pick-up locations in the Nashville area. Based on all the pros and cons, I think I may have made my decision, but I thought I would get your opinion, my dear readers.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all CSAs in Nashville, but just includes the ones I have considered for myself.

Option #1: Delvin Farms

These guys are one of the biggest organic farms in Middle TN. I've bought from them at the Franklin Farmer's Market and really like how professional they are.

Pricing: 1/2 Bushel once a week for $700, 1/2 Bushel once every other week for $400
Pick-up Locations: There are 11 of them, but none closer than 15-20 minutes from my home

I found this farm through Google. They use sustainable agriculture methods and also offer free range chicken and beef.

Pricing: So complicated I didn't even bother to calculate what I would pay....
Pick-up Locations: Lots. But no day/time/location combos that would be super convenient

A farm in Centerville with a nice looking website (that's the designer in me coming out...)

Pricing: 1/2 Bushel each week for $800, 1 Peck each week for $450 (nope, I don't know what a peck is, but I'm guessing it's smaller than a 1/2 Bushel)
Pick-Up Locations: Only 3, the closest being at least 15-20 minutes away

This is a concept I can really get behind! The farm is basically operated on a volunteer/intern basis. They give group tours and host work days in an effort to teach people how to farm sustainably and biodynamically. Their CSA is rather small and I would have to join a waiting list. Even if I didn't join this CSA, I'm looking forward to checking out the farm and learning how to green up my thumb!

Pricing: More than 1/4 Bushel each week for $500, more than 1/2 Bushel each week for $950
Pick-up Locations: Only 3, none of which are close to me

Option #5: Eco-Gardens

I learned of this CSA from some friends of mine, the HealthyOates. This farm is located in southern Kentucky and seems to have the best prices.

Pricing: More than 3/8 bushel each week for $425, double share for $825
Pick-Up Locations: Only 2, but one is 10 minutes from my home!

This is where the Barefoot Farmer lives and works! I happened to see him on pubic television a few weeks ago (I must have been really bored....). The great thing about this CSA is that the season is longer than most other farms--it lasts through Thanksgiving into early December. Plus, the Barefoot Farmer invites CSA members who support the farm to come to picnics or use the land for camping, swimming or caving!

Pricing: 1/4 Bushel each week for $450, 1/2 Bushel each week for $750
Pick-Up Locations: Only 1. About 15 minutes from my home.

So there we have it. I'd love some input! Based on all the info, what is your vote for the best CSA for me?


  1. very cool, lori. I'll have to check out each one's site and give you my two cents.

    on a related note, i just found out that the urban/community farm that i am going to be (hopefully) helping out with this season isn't doing a CSA this year because the lot is up for sale. bummer.

  2. hey ben, what's the name of this community farm you're hoping to help out with? You prolly know we're also hoping to focus our time this spring-summer on learning how to grow food so that's why I asked. p.s. Since they're selling, maybe that's the lot we should take if they'll give it to us ;)

    I like what they do for you at Bells Bend: "When finished with our internship program, we expect you to be capable of starting your own farming operation. We can help you to do this." I want this so badly!

    But I love the idea w/ the barefoot farmer using their land for camping, swimming or caving. I'm willing to pick up food from them at the Nashville Farmer's market and visiting them every once in a while to explore their land.

    Great list, I'm glad you did this research for us Lori :) Hoping to hear from others for their input too.

  3. I did Avalon Acres for two years and I am about to start my second year of Delvin Farms if you would like info on these shoot me an email and I can give you my full opinion! (PS. My reason for switching from Avalon Acres had to due with my schedule, not quality or anything)

  4. Hello!

    I've been wanting to do this for a while out here in salem, but haven't. I'm interested to know if you joined in this year and if so how it went and what farm!

  5. oh, you know what. i just found your post about nashville urban harvest, so that answers that question.

    and by the way, this is James and Abby and Ben and Audrey's friend, Jacob. I just realized my google name says israel.

  6. Hey Jacob!! I was wondering who [israel] was :-P

    Drew and I have really enjoyed working at NUH, but we aren't able to get out there as much as we would like to :( Next year, I would love to do a CSA with the Barefoot Farmer (Long Hungry Creek Farm). I have heard their produce is the most nutrient dense in the area!


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