My personal experience with a local farmer is purchasing cheese, cream, eggs and yogurt directly from the farmer. I would call in each week by Tuesday and met the Farmer on Thursday for the pick-up. My husband still gets a kick out of the back alley drop points! I loved the freshness, quality and price of the food, but eventually ran into the convenience issue and fell out of the practice of meeting him each week. Now that I am looking at the CSA options, I realize how convenient I had it. Because the farmer also sold to the local specialty markets, he actually met me in Dallas at a very convenient location. It seems that most CSA’s require a trip that is significantly further. Which leads me to start by recommending you take advantage of the resources on Local Harvest to understand more about CSA’s and determine if it is a fit for you.
The best resource on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is the Local Harvest website (http://www.localharvest.org/csa/) as they “maintain a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources.” They also do a great job at helping the consumer self-discover if a CSA is right for them and provide questions to ask the farmer up-front to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment. Give yourself the best chance for success with a CSA by answering the questions in their “Know Thyself” guide. (http://www.localharvest.org/newsletter/20100223/choosing-a-csa.html)
Here are three CSA’s that are located near the north Dallas area. I was pleased to find that there were many other options and several that were sold out on their CSA subscriptions not included here. It is also worth noting that there are four Whole Foods Markets within ten miles of this area and I find that they do an excellent job of representing seasonal, local produce.
Eden’s Organic Farm
4710 Pioneer Road, Balch Springs TX – 214-348-EDEN (3336)
This farm is likely the closest to the downtown Dallas area. It is run by Marie Tedei who describes herself as an organic horticulturist who moved from Lake Highlands to a farm in Balch Springs in 2008. She views her farm as a calling to bring healthy, organic food farmed in a sustainable way to the southeast corner of Dallas. She joins with other farmers as far away as Tyler to host an open farm day every 2-3 months that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. You can also order dairy and meats from farmers who attend on those days. In addition to the CSA, you can purchase surplus from Eden’s and other farmers on the 1st and 3rd Saturday at the farm from 8:00am-Noon.
Subscriptions to the 42 week CSA co-op are $1200, payable in three installments. You pick up primarily at the farm late mornings on Saturday’s, but she also wants to organize a drop off on Saturday in the Lake Highland’s area if there is enough interest.
Oak Ridge Valley Farm Organics
540 FM 773, Grand Saline, TX 75140 – 903-962-4452
Eugene Holmes farms 5 acres on a 22 acre certified organic farm 80 miles east of Dallas, with two of those acres being occupied with organic blueberries. He has owned the farm since 2002 with a vision of providing organic produce to the east Texas area. The stated goal is to fill a 48 quart cooler with produce and fruit each week for the CSA members. Oak Ridge has marketed their product mainly through the Coppell and McKinney farmers markets that last few years and is converting to a CSA in 2010. The drop off points are on Saturdays in Coppell, Plano and East Dallas at Skillman.
Subscriptions to the 40 week CSA that runs from March thru November is $1,080. You can also get free range, certified organic eggs – 2 Dozen per week @ $270 (1 dozen, $150) for the 40 weeks.
Squeezepenny Sustainable Farm
3723 County Road 412, McKinney, TX 75071 – (972) 838-3869
The Braley’s are small, local farmers with a 2 acre farm in Collin County who have a vision for supporting local small farmers through marketing their produce via CSA’s. They have a history as a farming family and so this is personally important to them. They are active in the local political process to support small farmers and a clean, safe local food supply and well as a safe sustainable environment.
The shares are for 1-2 people every two weeks, with double shares available. A single share is $120 for 12 weeks (six pick-ups). Drop off points are located in Allen, Fairview, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Melissa, Murphy, Plano and the farm. Contact them for specifics on day and time.