What exactly is a CSA? The acronym stands for "community supported agriculture," and it's a membership program offered by local farms or family businesses that includes a weekly share of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and sometimes even meat and eggs. Most are available for pickup, but several even deliver right to your front door. Our area is home to a handful of CSAs, plus other produce delivery and membership businesses. Here are five of our favorites.
The story of Aloe Organics goes deeper than just growing certified organic vegetables on a family farm in Arcadia. This business was started because Allison “Aloe” Hall Nelson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and then lost her battle with cancer at the age of 30. Her wish was to start a certified organic farm and donate produce to families of children with cancer; Aloe Organics now supports families through the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. Sarasota residents can sign up for the CSA program by emailing Jessica Namik, farm manager, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org; you can also find their products at farmers markets in Sarasota, Tampa and Punta Gorda.
Green Door delivers fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and leafy greens that are non-GMO and gluten-free. Members can choose between a regular basket that has a variety of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens or a low-glycemic basket that doesn’t include high-starch or high-glycemic produce. The frequency is once or twice a month, and there are three sizes to choose from: A small bag serves one or two people for a week; a large bag is for families or those who eat a large number of vegetables; and the jumbo basket is for vegetarians, vegans or large families. Each option includes a mix of fresh fruit, vegetables and leafy herbs like garlic, ginger and parsley. You can pick up at locations in Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice on Fridays between 1 and 5:30 p.m.Sign up for your box here or call (941) 266-8171 or email email@example.com for details.
White Picket Produce was started by Sharyn Vross, who has a passion for cooking and educating the public about where their food comes from and how to eat sustainably. White Picket's membership deliver right to your front door, and you can choose a type of box, set your own schedule and even make substitutions to customize your own orders. A sample lineup includes limes, avocados, collard greens, green onions, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, Roma tomatoes and apples. Sign up for your box here or call (941) 888-4834 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Geraldson Community Farm, located in Bradenton, is a 20-acre certified organic farm that aims to be stepping stone for local collaborations and an educational hub for the community. From November through May, members can choose between a half-membership of 10 distributions every other week or a full membership of 20 weekly distributions. A sample lineup includes lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, spinach, arugula and more. You can find more information, as well as the locations for the CSA box pickup, here.
Worden Farm has membership boxes that run from December to April. You sign up for a membership depending on which program suits you the best, and Worden Farm provides a credit to choose from different types of produce, such as salad greens, cooking greens, root crops (think beets and turnips), fruiting vegetables and herbs. Worden also grows lettuce, bunch of kale, carrots, scallions, tomatoes, green beans, basil and more. More information here.