Five Favorite CSAs in Metro Phoenix

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If your resolution to eat healthier this year came early, or if you're interested in supporting local farms, now is the time to join a CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture gives you a convenient, direct way to get food from farms, typically in the form of weekly "shares." It allows you to enjoy seasonal foods and enjoy a sense of community. Here's a mini list of some of the options in town.

Maya's Farm Maya's Farm runs 3 CSAs per year, corresponding with the best growing seasons, skipping the second half of summer when things get pretty hot outside. If you're interested in joining, now is the time to commit. The next season starts January 12 and your agreement and share payment must be received two weeks prior to the season start. What to expect in early 2013? Turnips and greens, peppers, winter squash, onions, herbs, radishes, chards, collards, okra and other delights. Maya also includes both flowers and eggs at season in her CSA whenever she can. Payment is taken either via check, money order or on PayPal. Baskets can be picked up at many places including The Café at MIM, Urban Yoga and Tarbell's. You can also pay at Phoenix Public Market. The cost is $300 for 12 weeks and you can fill out their membership form on their website.

See also: - Turn-Key CSA Produce Farm in Queen Creek for Sale - Shop Local This Holiday Season at the Phoestivus Evening Market Dec. 5 and 12

Superstition Farm This special dairy CSA in concert with Mooster's Moo-tique and Udder Delights, offers butter, cheese, milk, ice cream and a 'mystery' item made by a local food artisan. Don't worry if you're picky, you can choose from whole, 2% and skim milk. The price is only $30 per pick up (on the second and forth Saturdays of the month) Membership also allows for other bonuses on the farm. You can pay bi-weekly for $30 each pick up (must pay a one time $25 membership fee) or pay for 6 pick ups up front for a total of $150 (no membership fee). Visit their website for details.

Chow Locally Chow Locally is a sort of hybrid CSA experience. They source weekly shares from several local farms (like Maya's Farm, Crooked Sky Farms and Agritopia according to their website) Pickup locations are in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler. They also provide you with recipes, nutrition info, and online cooking videos!

Your credit or debit card will be automatically debited each week you get a share. And you can use your account tools to fully customize your experience, from adding other items (like meat, eggs, honey, or brownies), to placing temporary holds on your share if you're out of town, it's a great way to see if a CSA is for you. The "Chow Share" is $21.99 per week as a subscription. If you don't want a subscription, but you do want to purchase a share here and there, they will be available soon for single-week purchases for $26.99. When you first sign up there will be a $19.99 box deposit for the reusable/returnable hand-crafted Chow Locally wooden crate. You can sign up on the Chow Locally website.

Love Grows Farm Love Grows Farms is an organic farm located in the historic agricultural district of Lehi in Mesa. They have an open, rolling membership and each week members get 8 different types of seasonal organic produce. Along with their bounty of vegetables, customers receive a newsletter, "Notes from the Farm" which includes news and nutritional information, as well as unique recipes for that week's produce. All produce is grown in accordance with organic and naturally grown farming principals, and the farm in the process of attaining its "Naturally Grown" certification. Love Grows Farm offers very affordable options at $25 per week and offer month to month membership or a minimum 10 week commitment. VIsit their website to sign up and see pick up locations.

Crooked Sky Farms This farm is Certified Naturally Grown, meaning that there is no use of synthetic chemical insecticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers on the crops. Each week you would bring your own bag/box/cooler and pick up 8 portions of vegetables and fruits--and sometimes beans or wheat berries or flowers. They have pick up locations in Phoenix and Tempe and at farmer's markets like the North Central Farmers' Markets on Saturday mornings. Shares are appropriate for a small family and are approximately $20/week for 3 months prepaid. Visit their webpage for details on how to contact a coordinator to join this CSA or begin a trial.

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