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The Drop On Local Produce

By Kae Denino

Published April 1, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) programs serve as a direct pipeline between local consumers and Ohio farms. For a one-time seasonal fee, local farmers will deliver you a weekly bounty of delicious organic food: veggies, herbs, mushrooms, flowers, goat cheese, artisanal breads – the sky’s the limit.

You pay at the beginning of the season, so the farmer has a wad of cash to work with, and you get a great deal because they have so much to give all season long.

Members can sign up to receive a weekly share aimed for a family of four; lots of CSA programs also offer bi-weekly shares (pickup every other week) or half-shares (a half-bag a week).

Sure, everybody loves high quality food, but these days many folks are asking if it fits in the budget. The affordability of CSA programs might really astonish you. When the full payment is broken down, the cost of each weekly delivery order hovers around $30. Thirty bucks won’t get you very far at the grocery store, especially in terms of organic produce and dairy, but CSAs provide an exceptional value and deliver fresher food, brought to you directly by the Central Ohio people growing it. Most programs start in early June and run through September.

The following list includes just a few of the good old-fashioned, grown below the Earth, organic CSA programs with pickups in Central Ohio.

Athens Hills CSA from Green Edge Gardens, Amesville

(740) 448-4021

www.greenedgegardens.com

Becky and Kip Rondy in Amesville have been farmers for years, and have a wealth of information to share, as well as organic veggies and herbs, shiitake mushrooms and microgreens. Plus they offer all kinds of options to receive goods from partnering artisans – bread from a wood-fired oven, goat and cow cheeses, and Snowville Creamery Milk.

Cost: $510 for 20 weeks ($25.50 each); $295 for 10 bi-weekly deliveries ($29.50 each)

Other pricing options are available for varying combinations of produce and artisan goods.

Pickup: Wednesday afternoons at multiple locations in Clintonville, Bexley, Gahanna, New Albany, Upper Arlington, and Dublin

Gerry Hendey, Galloway

(614) 853-0290

[email protected]

Gerry is taking over for Kevin Eigel, who’s been filling Columbus with organic goodness for years, especially his famous garlic. Gerry grew up struggling with health problems, and knows from personal experience just how much good quality vegetables can do for the body. He’s delivering weekly shipments of organic veggies and herbs, grown on the land of Just This Farm near Darby Creek.

Cost: $430 ($28.67) for 15 weeks

Pickup: Wednesday evenings at Global Gallery in Clintonville

Bergefurd’s Farm Market and Greenhouses, Wilmington

(937) 383-2133

www.bergefurdsfarmmarket.com

Fully mobilized on Twitter and You Tube, this family farm also has a blog – and they have three generations all working together on their farm producing organic vegetables and herbs.

Cost: $550 for 20 weeks ($27.50 each); $300 for 20 weekly half-shares ($15 each)

Pickup: Tuesdays and Fridays, midday at the Pearl Alley Market

Paige’s Produce, Stoutsville

(740) 477-7291

www.localharvest.org/csa/M15746

Brian Helser runs this CSA, which has more flowers, hanging baskets and annuals than you can shake a stick at, as well as veggies, gourds, and bushels of fruits.

Cost: $475 ($23.75 each) for approximately 20 weeks; $275 for weekly half-shares ($13.75 each); flower full shares $160, half-share $80.

Pickup: Upper Arlington’s market on Wednesdays, Pearl Alley Market on Fridays, Clintonville market on Saturdays

Wayward Seed, Marysville

(614) 327-0102

www.waywardseed.com

Jaime Moore and company have one of the most sophisticated setups in town with amazing heirloom veggies and fruits from two fruit farms. You can also make your mornings a little better with the addition of Café Brioso coffee and Snowville Creamery milk.

Cost: $900 for 25 weeks ($36 each)

Pickup: Clintonville and Worthington Farmers Markets

Green Seed Farm, Westerville

(740) 965-2020

www.greenseedfarm.com

The Israel family runs a farm near Westerville with 13 acres of produce, chickens, goats, bees and horses. Their CSA program includes veggies and herbs, with optional brown eggs and honey. The Green Seed is putting you to work! They’d like you to work for three hours at some point in the growing season, giving you the opportunity to get down to the earth and learn more about your food. The farm also hosts an open house in the summer.

Cost: $500 for 20 weeks ($25 each); $560 with brown eggs ($28 each)

Pickup: Several area farmers markets: Upper Arlington on Tuesday, Dublin on Wednesday, Bexley on Thursday and the Clintonville Farmers Market Saturdays (check website for forthcoming dates and times)

New Century, Circleville

(740) 420-7788

www.newcenturycsa.com

Tim and Christy Cook have veggies and fruits and options galore, and partner with other farms to offer corn and potatoes. No need to travel, as the goods are brought straight to your doorstep, and they offer referral credit and discounts for multiple and early signups.

Cost: $554.72 for 15 weeks ($39.98 each); $371.70 for weekly half-shares ($24.78 each)

Pickup: New Century will deliver right to your home, hence the slightly higher cost.