I can’t wait for my CSA to start in another month or so.  Tomatoes, peppers, salads, greens, beans, herbs, fresh eggs, and many more, are foods that taste SO much better when they’re coming from a small local farm. CSAs are one of the most convenient ways to buy, and there just happens to be a fantastic variety of CSA options in NEO. 

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it refers to programs that bring fresh, locally-produced farm goods straight to you, the consumer.  Local Harvest  has a great overview of the history behind CSAs and the reasons for their existence, but here’s a quick summary:

“Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

The same Local Harvest website also has a search function, so you can put in your zip code and find a CSA near you.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Blue Pike Farm – the best urban farm in town, right on E 72nd by the lake.  Farmer Carl uses sustainable and organic farming methods .  He’ll happily show you around the farm and bend your ear on anything that interests you.  He’s also having an open house this Saturday the 15th – shoot me an email if you want details.

City Fresh – a CSA with a conscience, City Fresh not only brings fresh produce to you, but also has the added mission of getting fruits and vegetables into economically disadvantaged neighborhoods who so desperately need more nutritious options.   City Fresh has a huge number of pick-up locations and is incredibly affordable. 

Fresh Fork –  want to eat food from the same ingredients as many of Cleveland’s best restaurants?  Fresh Fork began as a distribution company, bringing the likes of Michael Symon (Lola) and Doug Katz (Fire) as well as many others the best local ingredients.  Now they’ll do the same for you with their CSA.  Six pick-up locations make it easy to participate.

Farm fresh produce not only tastes better, but it’s actually better for you because nutrient levels are highest just after picking.  Such a win-win situation!   The local food movement in NEO  is really growing and there are more CSA options than ever, so have fun enjoying the perks!