Wanted: Candid Feedback On CSAs

February 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

We are very close to publishing our 2011 CSA Guide.  In order to make our CSA Guide the best we can, we would love to have some feedback from you on your 2010 CSA.  Specifically, we’d like to know:

  • What did you think about the CSA to which you subscribed in 2010?
  • What do/did you want in a CSA?  Did that CSA meet, exceed or fail to meet those expectations? 
  • Will you join a CSA in 2011?  Which one, and why?
  • If you are changing CSA’s in 2011, why?

Please feel free to post comments below.  If you’d like to respond privately to the Beet, please do so here.  Private responses will be kept confidential.



  1. Emily says:

    We had a CSA from Harvest Moon Farms in 2010: both the summer and winter CSA. It seemed to use that HMF expanded to too many shareholders too fast: we certainly did not receive the range of crops that were promised to us, some of the vegetables were not of good quality, and we often received such a small portion of produce that there was nothing we could do with it, like a handful of ground cherries. Their winter CSA in 2010-2011 is not as good as it was in 2009-2010.

    • Wendy Aeschlimann says:

      Emily – Thanks for posting. Your feedback is appreciated.

      • Maureen Reilly says:

        I have participated in 3 other CSAs before switching to Harvest Moon and couldn’t disagree more with the above post. I thought the variety, portions, and quality of the produce was amazing. There were a few weeks with unexpected smaller shares, due to weather and natural circumstances, but I felt the staff explained the issues and then more than made up for it with later deliveries and produce. Weather/supply issues are a reality of all CSAs and I am pleased with how Harvest Moon Handled the curve balls mother nature threw them last year.

    • Nora Gainer Doherty says:

      We had a VERY positive experience with Harvest Moon this past year. I don’t think I have cooked, enjoyed and depleted my weekly share with any other CSA. Their communications and recipes made all of the difference between throwing out stuff we did not recognize and using every last bit. I believe that CSAs have personalities just like people and that HMF is the best CSA for people who have never tried a CSA or who drop them after one season because they feel like they are just wasting their weekly shares.

  2. Kathy says:

    Had my first CSA with Simply WI last summer season. I was very pleased with the variety and quality of the produce. They also offer shares in eggs, meats, cheese and pantry, which I also participated in last year. The eggs were wonderful, the meats varied and tasty, the cheese was common WI varieties but very fresh. I did not find the pantry to be of my liking. The canned goods were always too sweet and watery, but the flours and especially the beans and popcorn were great. Any problems were addressed by the nice coordinator up in WI.

  3. Joanna says:

    I subscribed to my first CSA last year and chose Iron Creek. I was a regular buyer at Green City Market and have always loved Iron Creek’s produce. In their CSA, their variety was very broad and their organic heirloom seeds appealed to my own sensibilities. I never had quality or variety issues at all. In fact, I have already sent in my check to Iron Creek for the 2011 season and am counting the days until my first box! As a current student at Kendall College, Iron Creek provided me a good steady flow of common ingredients that I used regularly and some new produce to experiment with. Plus, their farm day in the fall was a blast. I highly recommend them!

  4. Ruth says:

    We have subscribed to Angelic Organics for years. Good variety but they seemed to have smaller content in their boxes last year.

  5. Mary says:

    Although not a vegetable or meat CSA, we are again signing up with Earth First Farms. They offer an apple share with fabulous cider! Last year their crop failed, but I think they handled the situation with great professionalism by keeping us informed of the situation and ultimately refunding our full fee.

  6. Cathy says:

    •What did you think about the CSA to which you subscribed in 2010? I liked the family friendliness of the farm. Families are encouraged to bring their children, the food is fresh picked each harvest day
    •What do/did you want in a CSA? I first became interested, then involved in our local CSA because of the health of my daughter, now I’m very involved in it for the sustainability of a local food source. In addition to the health and security benefits, it also saves me money. I can’t tell you how much produce I had thrown away before becoming involved with Osceola CSA. I had been buying organic at the store and without all the preservatives and pesticides the traditional farmers use, and with the length of time from farm to table it just didn’t last. I have an appreciation for the cost of good produce since working in the garden. We have forgotten as a nation how to get good wholesome food within the confines of nature. We should continue to propagate these valuable resources (CSAs)
    Did that CSA meet, exceed or fail to meet those expectations? Absolutely, we had our first Farm to Fork event this year with a wonderful harvest meal and guest speakers. We have learned how important the health of the soil is to good plant health. That is key knowledge for the working shareholders to have.
    •Will you join a CSA in 2011? Already have joined.
    Which one, and why? We have maintained our membership with Osceola CSA because we have created a community supported agriculture in the true sense; we have become a community of folks interested in the sustainability of our county’s food sources.
    •If you are changing CSA’s in 2011, why? not applicable

    • Cathy says:

      Please edit the first comment under “Did that CSA meet…” to read:
      The Osceola CSA absolutely met my expectations. We had our first Farm to Fork event this year with a wonderful harvest meal and guest speakers. We have learned how important the health of the soil is in relationship to good plant health. There are always lessons in our garden because of the unique qualities of gardening in our Florida climate. We have 2 seasons fall and spring with our Florida winter sandwiched in the middle. The rewards found are not limited to our harvest boxes. They are also found in the friendships that have been built, the feeling of accomplishment seeing our plants come from seed to harvest, and becoming in tune with the natural world again, something that a daily desk job couldn’t give me.

  7. Whitney says:

    After being a regular shopper for two years, I finally joined Peasant’s Plot CSA last year. Julia is great, remembers everyone’s name and always has cute hand-drawn recipe cards and announcements. She treats her CSA members like family and helped me conquer my hatred of peeling tomatoes. The produce was fantastic- plenty of staples like potatoes and carrots along with fun specialty things like garlic scapes. I am so looking forward to this season!

  8. Juliette B. says:

    I subscribed to the Peasant’s Plot CSA last year and was very impressed- especially since their pricing seemed much less than other CSA’s. The quantities were perfect for my boyfriend and I. The produce was always delicious and the it was nice to see Julia each week. I wasn’t crazy about the abundance of squash last year but aside from that I have no complaints. I simply do not like summer squash, the variety & quality of the CSA was great otherwise. I plan to use Peasant’s Plot again this year and look forward to Thursday pickups @ The Hideout.

  9. Carrie Waller says:

    I joined Peasant’s Plot last year because I wanted to support healthy agriculture. The produce was great – the best arugula I’ve ever had. They grow a type of cucumber that I had never seen before and it was incredible. And tomatoes – yum! Beets – the best. Julia and Todd are both engaging personalities and committed to their work on the farm. They hold two events at the farm so the CSA members get a chance to see their work and get to know other members. Julia’s artistry adds a nice flare to the literature and signage, and she provides helpful tips for preparing some of the produce.

  10. Kristen says:

    I had a CSA share with peasant’s plot in 2010. I understand rain is unpredictable and all but I was expecting more varieties having been a Angelic Organics shareholder before. I went back to Angelic Organics in 2011 and am sharing the half share – which is new this yea – so that I can get fruit and veggies every other week. I appreciate their interest in keeping shareholders and being flexible and innovative to try out the half share since several folks (including myself, I’m guessing) provided feedback as to why their shareholders had left.

  11. Bert and Diane says:

    We subscribed to the Peasant’s Plot CSA last year–our first. We were pleasantly surprised by the quantity and variety of fresh organic produce. We even got to help out a bit with erecting a high tunnel. We are back again this year and are thrilled to be suporting local organic agriculture.

  12. Molly says:

    Peasants’ Plot is the best!! We have been CSA supporters for over 5 years and Peasants’ Plot is the clear winner of the three we have tried. They are extremely organized, are “growing smart” (i.e not too fast), and, of course, the vegetables are fab. I did not have an issue with variety as Kristen (above) did (who went back to Angelics, another CSA I have supported), but can understand that point. What I will say, however, although Angelics might have more, to me they were too big. With Tod and Julia I really feel like I am supporting a farmer. (Well, two farmers.) It is super cool to actually personally know the people that are out there growing your vegetables. There is a very direct feeling that you are helping organic farming to thrive. CSA at it’s purest. I highly recommend Peasants’ Plot!

  13. Judy Aronson says:

    I have had a CSA share with Growing Home for the last several years. I love the mix of the predictable and occasional surprise vegetable every week. Growing Home has a dual mission of providing local organic vegetables and job training for the previously unemployed. Through newsletters, farmers markets and open houses everyone involved with Growing Home can share the joy of local, delicious and healthy food. The boxes are always delivered on time and we never can wait to dig in!

  14. Zach says:

    We joined Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks in December. We love it, every other week we have two boxes that includes everything from fresh veggies to delicious bread and eggs. We wanted local and organic food that supports a local company. Fresh Picks has met everything that we’ve wanted. We are keeping with it during the summer a can’t wait for the expanded choices.

  15. Victoria says:

    We used Bob’s Fresh and Local in 2010. I usually bought my veggies and fruit from the farmer’s market in federal plaza – picking up a variety box wasabit scary… Until I opened the first box and fell immediately in love. OK, actually I was in love on the drive home as I could smell REAL vegetables and not the wax or plastic!
    The variety was wonderful, the weekly newsletters were great, and I loved figuring out how to use vegetables I wouldn’t have normally bought at the farmer’s market.
    We have already siged up for 2011 and can not wait for the bok choy early in the season!

  16. Victoria Wiedel says:

    Last year we chose Simply Wisconsin because it is a cooperative, and due to the quality and variety we received plus their excellent customer service we have already subscribed to a full share from them in 2011. We have tried three other CSA’s in the past and I like Simply Wisconsin the best. They just started a “deep winter share” which gave us a year-round opportunity to support local producers.

  17. Erica Smith says:

    We get our veggies from Scotch Hill Farm in Wisconsin and meat from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm here in IL. Both are family farms and vocal advocates for sustainable agriculture. 2011 will be our third year with Scotch Hill Farm and we have been thrilled with the quality and variety of their vegetables & herbs. They even offer an optional flower share! We are still enjoying some veggies from last summer and fall that we put away. Cedar Valley, in addition to providing great quality meat, has the BEST eggs around!

  18. Bonnie Tawse says:

    This past fall I started a 3-month “meat CSA” with C & D Farms, after purchasing Crystal’s pork weekly at the Andersonville Farmers Market. Crystal raises pigs but she’s in a co-op, so the monthly share includes pork, chicken, beef and eggs. I can’t say enough positive things about the quality of all the meats. The bacon is somewhat legendary and has earned Crystal the nickname “The Bacon Lady.” Each month the cuts are slightly different but so far there has always been bacon, ground pork, ground beef, a whole chicken cut up, a very large pork shoulder or loin roast, 2 steaks, sausages or brats and usually 3 other things (ground chicken or a ham steak or this month a giant rack of spare ribs.) At one point I asked Crystal if I could switch ground bison for the beef and she happily accommodated my request. I was so happy with my first 3 months that we just signed up for 3 more. yes, it costs more than the cheap meat you get at the store but I am so happy to be supporting her and knowing I’m feeding my family meat that was raised humanely. I believe Crystal is now offering a “pork-free” CSA for those who do not eat it.


  19. Sally says:

    We joined the Peasants Plot CSA in 2010 after having shopped with them regularly the summer before at the farmers market. All of their vegetables are exceptional in taste and freshness. My only wish was that there had been a bit more variety, less chard, yellow squash, and zucchini, and more lettuce, salad mix, and tomatoes. Sometimes it seemed like the share holders got stuck with some of the stuff that they knew wasn’t going to be a big seller at the market but this was really my only complaint. Todd and Julia are awesome! Always remember their shareholders, super friendly, and very responsive to feedback. Overall a great experience. We didn’t renew for 2011 but I will definitely be shopping with them at the market. I’d just prefer to purchase only the vegetables I want.
    We just joined a monthly meat CSA with C&D Family Farms. We have only done two months but so far it has been great. We have shopped with Crystal and C&D for several years and always enjoyed her friendliness and the awesome quality of their meat. The share has been a great opportunity for us to try some different meats we probably never would have tried otherwise. Love the smoked ham steak! The share is definitely pork heavy, which we don’t mind, but I did see that they recently also started a non-pork share that you can choose.

  20. Tom Perrin says:

    I second Bonnie’s comments on Crystal Nells and the C&D Family Farms CSA, with one addition — not only is this meat raised humanely but it tastes _way_ better than our local grocery-store meat. If I had known that there would be such a difference between the tender, flavorful pork we get from Crystal and the stuff you get in the supermarket I’d have started getting all our meat from C&D sooner. And, yes, the bacon is legendary.

  21. Oda says:

    We are first-time subscribers to a CSA (meat) and chose CDfamilyfarms. We didn’t want to support factory farms, but at the same time did not want to give up eating meat entirely. Thus, we were looking for a way to get meat from animals that at least had a decent life. Although I must admit, I cannot prove myself that this is the case with the meat we get through our CSA (=I haven’t been to the farm yet), I strongly believe that the animals there have a good life.
    The monthly portion is plenty, with different varieties of meat (plus eggs) and all the stuff we have tried so far tastes fantastic!

  22. Kate says:

    We belonged to a CSA for 4 years when we lived in NYC. We tried Angelic Organics when we moved here in 2008. It was great and the variety and amounts were good but we were really looking for a third party Certified Organic CSA. We felt pretty comfortable with AO’s farming practices but the certification was an important factor for us. We joined Harvest Moon in 2009 and have been really pleased. We like the variety and feel the full share is more than enough for our family of 4. Plus, they offer add on items like organic eggs and cheese which we love. We also really like the newsletters, lots and lots of recipes! Our pick up spot is great, too (Lush Wine store) they usually have some recommended wines for the weeks share contents (based on the recipes) that are usually in the $10 range.

  23. Frank says:

    We have been a drop-site for Angelic Organics for four years now. Overall we are very pleased with the produce we get. Lots of variety and generally blemish free. We have visited the farm in 2009 and were very pleased with what we saw.
    As noted by a previous poster, in 2010 the boxes were indeed somewhat less full. To pay for some significant investments, they raised the number of CSA subscriptions significantly. Also the return of Farmer John after being absent from the farm for a number of years led to some well-documented personnel issues and a loss of focus on farming activities. we plan to continue subscribing to AO, since being a drop-site is a great advantage.

  24. Frank says:

    We have been getting our pork and chicken almost exclusively from Crystal @ C&D Family farms for a little over 2 years now. Crystal raises her pork humanely and the pork tastes way better than pretty much anything you can get in a store. She sources the chicken from a nearby farm, with similar practices. All her meat comes frozen packed in vacumm wrapped plastic.

    We had a chance to visit Dan and Crystal’s farm in Knox, IN in May of last year, and if one thing became clear is that Dan and Crystal truly love (taking care of) animals. All animals had plenty of space to roam, yet had covered shelter available for the moments they needed it.
    I have zero qualms eating pork if the animal has been taken care of the way these pigs are.

    We do not subscribe to her CSA yet, because we are source our beef from another farmer. It is my understanding that Crystal is every flexible in delivery schedules and she can even drop them off at your home.

  25. Akeya says:

    I joined C&D family Farm CSA in January and have been very pleased. The meat is so tasty and Crystal is so great. As a new mother its great to be able to feed my son such high quality meat for such a great price. We will be continuing with C&D whan our 3 month share is up.

  26. Liz Barrett says:

    I joined Harvest Moon CSA last summer. It was my first foray into CSA-land and I LOVED IT! It was like Christmas every Wednesday! The quality was great, the variety was amazing, I got to try new things like chard, ground cherries and garlic scapes. Bob, Jenny and Tiffany are so friendly and helpful. I also loved the weekly newsletter with recipes so you know how to use what you get. I loved it so much that I signed up for the winter CSA, too, and that was terrific, also — sunchokes, tons of different kinds of dried beans, popcorn, squashes, huge sweet potatoes — kept my veggie-intake up all winter long. I’ll definitely sign up again. If you’re up for a bit of a food adventure and are open to trying new things, Harvest Moon delivers.

  27. Maureen Reilly says:

    I am not a CSA virgin and have now been part of a total of 3 different programs. While I appreciate and value the hard work of all the farmers in these programs, I cannot tell you how happy I have been with HARVEST MOON FARMS. The food is incredible and is accompanied by easy, practical recipes so not a morsel is wasted. In addition to the amazing produce and fun treats (real popcorn!) it is such a well run program. There is the personal touch and easy access to Bob, Jenny, and Tiffany but also the efficiency, professionalism, and accountability of a well managed business. As much as I want to feel part of the experience, I also want to know I am getting a great return on my investment. Harvest Moon has delivered on all fronts and I would highly recommend them.

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