If you have a garden, then you already know: Spring has sprung, and all over the Valley, there's fresh kale, chard, broccoli, and citrus ripe for the picking. That also means it's time to sign up for the upcoming CSA season — to make sure you don't miss out on any of that awesome local produce.
For those who aren't familiar, CSA stands for community supported agriculture, which is a way for consumers to buy produce directly from farmers. For most CSAs, you purchase a "share," or a weekly allotment of produce, from a farmer for a set number of weeks. Some require you to pay ahead of time; some don't. And the selection of vegetables, herbs, fruit, and other local products usually varies from week to week.
So now that you know what we're getting into, here are five metro Phoenix community supported agriculture programs you can sign up for right now.
Steadfast Farm at Agritopia's Spring/Summer 2016 CSA kicks off on Saturday, February 20 — so if you want in, you'd better act fast. The 11-acre USDA-certified organic farm is in Gilbert, but it offers 11 pickup options on Saturdays and Wednesdays around the Valley. During the spring months, CSA members can look forward to produce including broccoli, arugula, lettuce, kale, garlic, and tomatoes — as well as apricots, apples, artichokes, and peaches, which should become available in May and June. The farm's 16-week CSA costs $400 for a weekly pickup or $240 for biweekly pickup with the option to add either chicken or duck eggs to your share. Payment can be made in full or in two halves. To sign up, visit the Steadfast Farm website.
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Located at The Farm at South Mountain, Maya's Farm offers a 12-week winter CSA starting on Saturday, February 20, and ending on Saturday, May 14. Pickups are available on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at locations throughout metro Phoenix, including at Maya’s Farm on Saturday mornings, 24 Carrots in Tempe on Wednesday mornings, and Phoenix Public Market on Wednesday evenings. Shares include a selection of vegetables, herbs, eggs, and flowers and cost $300 for the entire season. To sign up, fill out an application and mail it to the farm along with payment. For more information, call 480-236-7097 or visit the Maya's Farm website. Warning: Maya's Farm CSA tends to sell out, so if you want a spot, we recommend jumping on it.
Crooked Sky Farms
There's no need to rush to sign up for the Crooked Sky CSA, which offers more than a dozen pickup options around the Valley (and one in Flagstaff), as well as the option to sign up online. Convenient, right? A Classic Box includes eight portions of vegetables and fruits, but you can also opt for a Family Box (sized for a family of four) or a Mini Box designed for a single portion or a couple. You have the option to pay ahead for either six or 12 distributions, but if you're a commitment-phobe, you can sign up to pay week to week. To sign up or for more information, visit the Crooked Sky Farms website.
Blue Sky Organic Farms
Blue Sky also wins points for ease of signing up and flexibility. This CSA offers three sizes of shares: small for $16.50 (1 person), regular for $21 (two people), or large for $32 (four people). Customers can pick up at the farm (located in Litchfield Park), but there also are dozens of other pickup spots to choose from, including picking up at a handful of Whole Foods stores around the Valley. You'll have the option to purchase plenty of add-ons, including Noble Bread, eggs, and chicken, and you can pay for 33 or 16 distributions at a time. For more information or to sign up, visit the Blue Sky Organic Farms website.
The Beneficial Beans Urban Garden, located at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, produces 3,000 pounds of produce a year and provides internships for adults with autism. The garden's produce is then dispersed through a seasonal CSA, and spring is just around the corner. The 10-week season starts Wednesday, March 16, and ends Wednesday, May 18. Baskets cost $20 a week and payment must be made in full in advance. Cash, check, and credit cards are accepted. Pick up will be at the garden, which is located at 2225 North 16th Street, on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. You can sign up for the upcoming season online and visit the SARRC website for more information.