5 Ways To Get Farm Fresh Food Delivered
By Laura Sears
metrocurean contributor, lb's good spoon
You don't have to travel miles into the country to get fresh picked beets, strawberries and chard this summer. Not too far outside the concrete and traffic, there are rolling hills with a lush abundance of vegetables and fruits grown just for you.
Below are just five of the many options you have in choosing a farm where you'd like your fruit and vegetables to come from this spring and summer. There are various offerings based on your needs and the size of your household. CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" with the idea that your membership helps sustain the farm throughout the year.
To find other farm CSAs, Local Harvest offers a great website with maps and information on farms and programs in the area.
Make sure you sign up soon for the CSA that works best for you — the first week of delivery is right around the corner for many of them in May.
1. Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm
This farm offers an excellent variety of vegetables from June to October with shares ranging in size to accommodate households of one, two or four for respectively $440, $587, and $1,175. Your share can be picked up weekly at various locations from Falls Church to Dupont, Cleveland Park and Alexandria. For an additional $60 you can add eggs to your share, and for $98 you can receive seasonal fruit that they pick up from other Virginia farms. The farm's produce is free of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
2. Graceland Farm
Graceland offers both a summer and fall CSA schedule running from May to September and October through March. In your weekly vegetable share you may also receive berries, honey or fruit from neighboring farms. The summer share is $400; the fall share only $100. This CSA prides itself on organic and sustainable farming methods and delivery to neighborhoods in the Northern Virginia area from Arlington to South Riding. Contact them via their website for the location nearest you.
3. Dragonfly Farms
Offering a variety of options, this farm may suite you if you want to add meats, bread, eggs, wine-vinegar and cheese to your delivery. The spring and summer share runs from May to November and starts at $695 for fruits and vegetables. To add premium items the total comes to $1,595 or you can opt for semi-premium at an additional $295. You can pick up your share at several locations in DC and the metro area during the week or primarily on Saturdays at farmers markets and grocery stores.
4. Virginia Organic Cooperative
This farm is not only certified organic but also offers free home delivery across Northern Virginia. Their full share is intended to feed a family of four, while half a share is great for a couple. Production is increasing on the farm and soon they'll be able to offer fruit, meats and dairy. For now, 20 weeks of farm fresh eggs can be added to your share for $135 or $75.50 for a half-share. From June until August a full share is $642.50 with half being $410. If you'd like the share to last from June until October, the price is $1,285 for a full and $820 for half.
5. Great Country Farms
This farm in Bluemont, Va., offers more than a CSA program. There are events at the farm year round that CSA members can take advantage of as well. Deliveries for your fruit and vegetable share are dropped at your home on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the DC metro area. There is also a group drop-off location in Crystal City and Centreville for those who have half shares. If you'd like you can save some money and go to the farm each week for the pickup as well. There are weekly bonus U-Pick items where you'll get the first pick. Bring your kids and gather the produce thanks to a hayride that will take you around the farm. Payment plans are offered and the shares range in price from $462 to $1,052 depending on the option that fits you best. If you are a returning member you'll get an additional discount as well.
Laura Sears is a personal chef, cooking instructor and food writer following her love of cooking and writing after a career in various business jobs. Born and raised in Ohio, she is both molded by those roots and the ones she grew as an early adult in Santa Barbara, Calif. Her love for local, seasonal food blossomed there as did her desire to garden each opportunity she got.
Living in DC has been a recent change though she is encouraged by the number of farmers markets and local suppliers of meat and dairy. You can follow her on her personal blog LB's Good Spoon that was created in 2008 after several friends kept asking her what she had cooked up recently!