Where to Sign Up for a CSA

Filled crates await 2008 subscribers at Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna.
Filled crates await 2008 subscribers at Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last summer's bounty is a distant memory, and that means it's already time to start thinking about the 2009 farming season, particularly if you're interested in signing up for a community-supported agriculture program.

Under the CSA concept, customers pay an upfront membership fee to cover farm production costs. The farmer provides a share of the harvest: a weekly box of seasonal produce for a set number of weeks. On most farms, a full share consists of enough vegetables to feed a family of four (two adults, two children) or two vegetarians for one week. For smaller households, including singles, half-shares sometimes are available.

There are variables. Crops, prices and the lengths of the season vary from farm to farm. Most farmers, but not all, sell organic produce or use organic farming methods. Vegetables, fruit and sometimes more (eggs, flowers or other items) are picked up at the farm or at a delivery site. Some farms make home deliveries, often to a wide area beyond their home location.

Newbies, be aware that the CSA lifestyle is a commitment: You should cook regularly, eat a lot of vegetables and be able to roll with the sometimes-unpredictable nature of the system.

If you're interested, don't hesitate. Shares sell out fast.

As of press time, these farms still had shares for sale. Unless otherwise noted, the share is made up solely of seasonal vegetables and fruits. For more information, go to http://www.localharvest.org.

MARYLAND

Blades Orchard
Federalsburg
Lynda Blades, 410-754-8857
$400 full share, $200 half-share; 20 weeks
Pickup at Denton Farmers Market, Cambridge Farmers Market or at the farm.

Blue Mountain Farm
Frederick
Anne Garnett, 240-285-6517
http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M24436
$150; 3 months
Pickup at the farm

Blueberry Hill Farm
Clear Spring
Michael James, 301-842-1191
http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M164
$415; 15 weeks (June 15-Sept. 21)
Pickup in Shepherdstown or at the farm

Brad's Produce
Churchville
Brad Milton, 410-734-4769
http://www.bradsproduce.com
$450, 25 weeks; $250, 12 weeks (every other week)
Pickup at the farm

Breezy Willow Farm
West Friendship
R.J. Caulder, 410-442-1807
http://www.breezywillowfarm.com
$136 a month (June through mid-November); bread, eggs and honey included on a rotating basis
Pickup at the farm

Calvert Farm
Rising Sun
Pam Stegall Roberts and Paul Roberts, 410-658-3914
http://www.calvertfarm.com
$450 full share, 20 weeks; 8-week fall extension available
Pickup in Annapolis, Beltsville, Bowie, Greenbelt or at the farm


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