Looking to connect with local farms? Eat more sustainably? Or just access some really fresh produce, meat and fish?
One way to do all three is to subscribe to a CSA. A CSA subscription, short for “community supported agriculture,” works like this: People opt to buy a farm’s harvest in advance, committing to pay up front or in installments throughout the season. In return, the subscribers receive a selection of the harvest at an agreed-upon interval.
Here are five local farms and one fisherman offering community-supported agriculture, meat and fish subscription opportunities. Most start their distribution seasons this time of year and run through the fall, with options to pick up boxes of various sizes weekly or twice a month.
Greenhearts Family Farm, Half Moon Bay
This farm offers fruit, vegetable and egg CSA subscriptions weekly or every other week. The boxes are $39-$41 per week depending on how many boxes you commit to purchasing; there is a slight discount for buying boxes up front for the 34-week season. Summer boxes typically include produce items like nectarines, plums, pluots, peaches, strawberries, melons, corn, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini and more.
Brisa Ranch, Pescadero
Pickups in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Pacifica, La Honda and Pescadero
Brisa Ranch in Pescadero grows about 45 different crops, and its CSA program offers weekly produce boxes on Thursdays in two sizes: medium (feeds one to three people) and large (feeds three to five). What’s offered depends on what’s in season, but could include produce items like strawberries, cucumber, tomatoes and kale, particularly specialty and heirloom crop varieties that can be hard to find in grocery stores, according to one of the ranch’s three founders, Cole Mazariegos-Anastassiou. The ranch was founded in January 2018 by three friends who started working at Pie Ranch in 2015 and 2016, according to its website.
“Many members – and especially their kids – tell us they discover one of their new favorite fruits or veggies through our CSA program,” Mazariegos-Anastassiou said in an email.
The program runs for 24 weeks, from June 22 through Nov. 30. Pay up front or monthly at $34 per week for the medium and $41 for the large boxes. People with CalFresh/EBT benefits can access the boxes for a discounted rate.
Steadfast Herbs, Pescadero
Pickups in Half Moon Bay or Pescadero, mail deliveries.
This CSA program from Steadfast Herbs, a queer-owned herb farm at Root Down Farm in Pescadero, offers herbal medicines, including tinctures, teas and salves, as well as information about them, on a quarterly basis. Herbs are grown in Pescadero and are available for pickup in Pescadero at Root Down Farm and in Half Moon Bay; orders can also be shipped. Among the summer herbs expected to be harvested are sage, catnip, marshmallow, oats, rue, motherwort and more. The program is $55 per quarter for a year, available before each solstice or equinox for pickup.
Fifth Crow Farm, Pescadero
Pickups in Belmont, Cupertino, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Loma Mar, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Mateo and Sunnyvale.
Sign-ups are now open for the CSA season offered by Fifth Crow Farm, an organic farm in Pescadero. People can also qualify for reduced cost shares. Produce is certified organic, flowers are certified bee-friendly and poultry is animal welfare-approved. Weekly boxes include eight to 10 items based on participants’ preferences and are available for $30 per week, and before the box is delivered, people receive a list of what will be included and have the option to swap items out.
The farm also offers a range of add-on subscriptions for flowers, beans and preserves. Discounted flower bouquets are offered for a subscription price of $17 per week; otherwise each bouquet retails at $20 or $25 and up at local grocery stores. The Bean Club subscription, which is $6.50 every other week, offers customers 14 pounds of different varieties of beans over the course of the season.
There’s also a Farm Preserves program for $9 per week, which offers customers access to jams, canned apple cider, sauerkraut, pickles, salsa and more.
Sea Forager, Moss Beach
Pickups in Menlo Park, Brisbane, Burlingame, Los Altos, Moss Beach, Mountain View, Redwood City, Palo Alto, San Bruno, San Mateo, Stanford, Sunnyvale, and Pacifica. Deliveries are available for San Francisco homes or offices.
Sign up for a seafood subscription from Sea Forager, which offers a community-supported fisheries program for seasonal, fresh, locally and sustainably sourced and packaged seafood. Subscriptions come in two types: “Neptune’s Delight,” which includes fillets, shellfish or small whole fish or “The Slab,” which is fish fillets only. Both are $30 for roughly two dinners and $58 for four. Run by Kirk Lombard, Sea Forager shares details of where the fish came from, how long it lived, the gear used to catch it and what the ocean conditions were like when it was caught, along with recipe suggestions. Some of the seafood on offer includes California halibut, Chinook king salmon, rockfish, anchovies, coho salmon, tuna, mussels, oysters, clams, rainbow trout and sea bass.
Markegard Family Grass-Fed, Half Moon Bay
Pickups in Half Moon Bay, La Honda, Woodside, Pacifica and Pescadero. Home deliveries in San Mateo County are offered on orders of $250 or more.
The meat CSA offered by Markegard Family Grass-Fed includes grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, lamb, chicken and pork. Access to limited cuts and seasonal member-only sales is available for $120 annually for the first year, then $100 per year for subsequent years. Markegard participates in the Fifth Crow Farm CSA program between May and November.