Maybe you only shop at the grocery store for your produce, dairy products, and other food items. Maybe you dabble in shopping at the local farmers markets, too. But did you know there is another option for buying fresh, local produce that also supports a local business? It’s called Community Supported Agriculture, and at Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove, we’ve put together this guide on CSA boxes so you can make an educated decision about your family’s shopping and eating habits. Here’s everything you need to know about CSA boxes in the Maple Grove, Minnesota, area.

What Is a CSA?

Image via Flickr by leyink Licensed CC BY 2.0

Community Supported Agriculture, better known by its acronym CSA, is a program in which local farmers and growers partner with consumers to fund their farm’s operation. In exchange, the consumers receive a portion (often referred to as a “share”) of the harvest. As a buyer, you pay a subscription fee to the farm, which gets you a box of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other products on a preset schedule.

Each farm can run its CSA box program however they want, but some of the most common elements are:

  • Buyers get one box per season, per month, or per week, based on the subscription model.
  • Boxes typically include a random selection of fresh, seasonal produce, though some farms may allow buyers to pick the items they receive.
  • Farms that also produce eggs, milk, cheese, honey, herbs, and artisan goods may include those items as part of a typical subscription, a special subscription, or as add-on products. 
  • Many farms that host CSA programs grow produce and make other products without the use of hormones, herbicides, pesticides, or harsh chemical fertilizers, though not all are certified organic.
  • Some CSA programs require buyers to pick up their boxes at the farm or another location, while some CSA programs offer at-home delivery.
  • Some farms request volunteer hours at the farm as part of the CSA program and do open farm days where buyers can visit the property.

Benefits of Joining a CSA

There are many benefits to joining a CSA program that positively impact your family, your community, and the environment. These include:

  • Stimulating the local economy: By purchasing a CSA share, you are supporting a local business or farm. That means your using your money to lift up a part of your community.
  • Potential savings: You may save money by purchasing through a local farm instead of a grocery store. That’s because, in a CSA program, your money funds the farm, while at a grocery store, your money is split between the vendor and the store.
  • Access to produce you may not otherwise buy: Since many CSA programs don’t allow buyers to pick and choose everything that goes into their box, you may end up with fruits, vegetables, and other products that you don’t typically eat. This is a great way for your family to explore new foods.
  • More healthy meals: With a CSA program, your family gets fresh fruits and vegetables that you can eat raw or use to make delicious and nutritious meals. Plus, you may be able to shop less, meaning you could be less likely to bring less-healthy food into your home.
  • Low environmental impact: CSA programs use organic growing practices, which can reduce the amount of chemical pollutants and maintain soil quality. Since you’re buying local, food isn’t shipped around the country, which reduces air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution from plastic and paper packaging, and much more.

Local CSAs Near Maple Grove You Can Join

So if you’re convinced that joining a CSA program is right for your family, check out these Minnesota-based farms and growers that offer CSA programs in the Maple Grove area and beyond.

Turnip Rock Farm & Cosmic Wheel Creamery

This Clear Lake farm offers a CSA program from June through October. You can pick up boxes at designated locations around Minneapolis and Saint Paul. However, home delivery is available in certain locations, so check their website for more information. You can get beef, pork, cheese, eggs, coffee, and fresh herbs all year long, but produce is available seasonally. Expect fruits and veggies like beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, greens, cantaloupes, watermelons, squash, zucchini, and much more.

Trumpeter Swan Farm

This farm is located in Buffalo and offers both full- and half-share CSA memberships during the summer (June through October) and winter (November through May). Trumpeter Swan Farm also offers free home delivery to certain areas so you can get fresh produce, free-range eggs, and honey delivered to your door every week. Available produce includes asparagus, strawberries, squash, cucumbers, beans, peppers, and corn.

Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm

Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm offers a few different share options. The Family Share is best for three or four people and includes seven to 10 items in different quantities. The Mini Share is best for a household of two and includes fewer items and a smaller variety, but it’s is also a good way to test out the program. This Waverly, Minnesota, farm also hosts member-only events, including a farm tour in July where you can spend time with the farm operators.

Featherstone Farm

Featherstone Farm is located in Rushford Village and offers customizable CSA shares where you can set your preferences for fruits and vegetables. You rank each seasonal vegetable from 1 (being the lowest) and 5 (being the highest), and the operators work to meet your needs. Plus, you get to see what’s in your box before delivery, so you can ask for swaps, too. If you have picky eaters, this CSA program might be the one for you.

So there you have it, four local CSA programs your family can join to get fresh, seasonal produce. Did we miss any of your family’s favorite CSA programs or other local produce opportunities in the Maple Grove area? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Maple Grove to let us know. We’ll be sure to add it to our list!