Ever wished you had easy access to tons of healthy fruits, vegetables, and other farm products, without the hassle of combing through different area stores? A CSA box subscription might be just what you need! A variety of CSA box programs in the Cedar Park area can make that dream of having fresh and tasty produce on your table a reality.
Still, joining a CSA can feel a little intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. Let Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park (Lakeline Blvd.) show you some of the amazing benefits of joining a CSA — and how you can get started right here in our area.
What Is a CSA?
First things first. Before you dive into the world of CSAs, it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. CSA stands for “community supported agriculture,” and it means you’re buying a portion (known as a share) of a farmer’s harvest for a set period of time when you join. You get to support local farmers in your area, all while getting a steady supply of delicious, nutritious, farm-fresh goodness like produce, eggs, and more.
Typically, you’ll pay a fee in exchange for receiving a weekly box of fresh, seasonal items. You can also find CSA programs that let members work off their shares by working on the farm, so look into the details to find a structure that best fits with your family’s budget and needs.
So, what can you expect in your share? The exact items will depend on the specific farm, but common offerings include fruits and veggies as well as dairy and eggs. Some CSAs even offer things like baked goods, meats, honey, or flowers. What you’ll get at a given time will also depend on the season — as different items become available at your farm, you start seeing them show up in your weekly box.
How you’ll get your box depends on the CSA you join, too. You might get your box at the farm itself, at a designated pick-up spot, or even join a CSA that offers home delivery.
Benefits of Joining a CSA
The community support goes a long way for farmers in your area. You’ll enjoy a wide range of benefits when you join a CSA, too. Some advantages of joining a CSA include:
- Super fresh food: When we say fresh, we really mean it. You’ll get the freshest foods available in your local area from your CSA box.
- Long-term savings: Yes, CSAs look more expensive up-front than your typical run to the supermarket. However, you get tons of high-quality food each week (and don’t have to devote time to shopping), so CSAs translate to money saved in the long term.
- Access to new foods: With many CSA programs, you won’t know what you’re going to find in your box each week. That can feel overwhelming at first, but it also offers an amazing opportunity for creativity. Get your kiddos inspired to try out new foods with the adventure your CSA box provides. You can try out new recipes as well; if you don’t know what something is, you can often just email your farmer and they’ll be happy to give you ideas about how to use a new fruit or vegetable.
Here’s another pro-tip: CSA boxes frequently come with more food than you’ll know what to do with at first. A big weekly box can lead to waste if you’re constantly throwing out portions of what you get.
If you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep up with the quantity of food that comes in a CSA box, look into farms that offer half or smaller shares. You might also join a CSA with a friend or neighbor and split the box (and the cost), or reserve some time to freeze or can some food so you can enjoy the goodies throughout the year.
Finding a CSA in Your Local Area
Finding a CSA to join can seem like a challenge when you don’t know where to look. Fortunately, you do have a few options for your search. If you know about a local farmer, you can always reach out directly or check the farm’s website to see if they offer a CSA program. The Local Harvest website is also a great resource for finding CSAs. Just plug in your zip code and you’ll find a range of local CSA box options to check out.
To get you started, we’ve found a few amazing CSAs in the area around Cedar Park for you to explore:
- Hamilton Pool Vineyards and Farms: You can pick up your CSA box from Hamilton Pool Vineyard and Farms in a few places close to Cedar Park, making it easy to enjoy the many delicious products this farm grows. The regenerative farm and vineyard offers weekly or bi-weekly shares of seasonal hand-harvested, organically grown produce. Bonus points? Membership also gives you 15% off from winery and farm product purchases, classes, and events.
- Johnson’s Backyard Farm: This Austin-based farm features a range of convenient options, with both pick-up areas and home delivery available around Cedar Park. Johnson’s Backyard Farm’s CSA program offers an array of tasty produce, from peppers to green beans to cauliflower and more. You can also add on eggs and other grocery items to take the guesswork out of your weekly meal planning.
- Farmhouse Delivery: You can get local and organic produce boxes delivered to Cedar Park via Farmhouse Delivery. Subscribe to boxes of different sizes, picking a delivery frequency that best fits your needs. Their website also keeps an updated list of recipes to match with that week’s boxes, making it even easier to enjoy the produce you receive.
There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park (Lakeline Blvd.) just showed you some of the many great reasons to join a CSA along with some area CSAs you can explore when you’re ready to sign up. But maybe we missed a local farm you love? If you have a recommendation for another CSA program in our area, drop us a line so we can add it here.