More than a dozen farms in the Washington area have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Customers pay an annual membership fee in advance to cover farm production costs. The farmer provides a "share" of the harvest -- a box of seasonal produce -- on a weekly basis for a predetermined number of weeks. On most farms, a full share is enough vegetables to feed a family of four (two adults, two children) or two vegetarians for one week. (Half shares are also available.)
There are variables. Some CSA farms are small family operations, while others are vegetable gardens maintained by private, nonprofit foundations. Crops vary from farm to farm. Some grow corn, some don't, for example. Most are certified organic or use organic farming methods.
Usually vegetables are picked up at the farm or, in some cases, at a delivery site convenient to the member's neighborhood. There are CSA farmers who deliver produce to homes. Prices vary. It's best to shop around for a farm that meets your needs. (We have included farms that are fully subscribed for the 2003 season for those who want to plan for 2004.)
-- Walter Nicholls
ECOSYSTEM FARM A project of the private nonprofit Accokeek Foundation in Accokeek. Shares filled for 2003 season. Contact: Shane LaBrake, 301-283-2113, Ext. 906. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EHRHARDT'S ORGANIC FARM In Knoxville; an 18- to 20-week program. A full share is $300. Pickup sites in Washington County, Frederick County and Jefferson County, W.Va. Contact: Jennifer Montgomery, 304-725-5466. E-mail: email@example.com.
FROM THE GROUND UP Operates at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Clagett Farm Center in Upper Marlboro; a 27-week program. A full share is $385 at the farm and delivered to a drop-off site in Anacostia. $425 delivered to Dupont Circle. Call 301-627-4662.
Web site: www.clagettfarm.org.
GOOD FORTUNE FARM Near Brandywine; a 27-week program. A full share is $540, pickup at farm. Limited delivery is available for $135 for the season. Contact: Michelle Klein, 301-579-2105.
E-mail: mkleinm@msn. | com.
HOUSE IN THE WOODS A privately owned, 25-acre farm near Frederick. Shares filled for the 2003 season. Contact: Ilene Freedman, 301-607-4048. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web site: www.houseinthewoods.com.
HOWARD COUNTY GROWERS LLP A cooperative of four farms in Howard County; a 16-week program. A full share is $450. Areas served include Columbia, Ellicott City, western Howard County and northern Montgomery County. Contact: Carrie Minard, 410-489-0139. E-mail: Pandaber2@yahoo.com.
JASMINE FARM In Glenwood in Howard County; a 20- to 24- week program. A full share is $545. Pickup at farm or at a delivery site in Olney. Contact: Gus or Tag Neshawat, 301-854-5162.
MOUNTAINS TO BAY Sponsored by the Maryland Certified Organic Growers Cooperative of 13 family farm partners; a 20-week program. Full share is $450. Pickup in Annapolis, Columbia and Frederick. Contact: Fay Northam, 301- 855-0137. E-mail: email@example.com.
Web site: www.organiccoop.org.
RED WIGGLER In Clarksburg in Montgomery County; shares filled for 2003 season. Call 301-916-4133. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web site: www.redwiggler.org.
SHAW FARMS Located in Columbia; a 16- or 20-week program. A full share is $400 or $500. Pickup at farm. Contact: Mike or Dave Shaw, 410-531-9577.
BLUE RIDGE CENTER A division of the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in Purcellville; a 22-week program. A full share is $325 with pickup at farm and $385 at delivery sites in Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and Shepherdstown, W.Va. Contact: Christine Qualls, 540-668-7640. E-mail: email@example.com.
BULL RUN MOUNTAIN In The Plains. Shares filled for the season. Contact: Leigh Hauter, 703-754-4005. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRESH AND LOCAL In Middleburg; a 20-week program. A full share is $425. Pickup at farm or at delivery sites in Cleveland Park, Arlington, Herndon, Reston and Shepherdstown, W.Va. Contact: Maura Balliett, 304-876-3382. E-mail: email@example.com.
Web site: www.freshandlocalcsa.com.
GREAT COUNTRY FARMS In Bluemont; a 22-week program. A full share is $679. Pickup at farm or at delivery sites in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudoun County. Contact: Kate Zurschmeide, 540-554-2073. Web site: www.greatcountryfarms.com.
OVER THE GRASS In The Plains; a 32-week program. Full share is $950. Pickup at farm. Contact: Allan Balliett, 540-253-5778. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www. overthegrassfarm.com.
PIEDMONT ORGANICS In Linden; an 18-week program. A full share is $470. Pickup at farm. Delivery sites to be announced. Contact: Deborah Jannat, 540-364-9996. E-mail: email@example.com.
Web site: www.piedmontorganics.com.
POTOMAC VEGETABLE FARM Combines the efforts of two families with farms in Vienna and Purcellville; a 16-week program. A full share is $350 with pickup at farm or $382 at delivery sites in Arlington, Falls Church, Annandale and Leesburg. Contact Hiu Newcomb, 703-759-2119.
TREE AND LEAF In Waterford; a 33-week program. A full share is $940.50. Pickup at farm or at a delivery site in Lovettsville. Call 540-270-9300.
WATERPENNY ARM In Sperryville; a 21-week program. Full share is $390 with pickup at farm; $442 at delivery sites in Arlington and Lorton. Contact: Rachel Bynum or Eric Plaksin, 540-987-8567.
Web site: www.ecofusion.com/waterpenny.