Feeding a family with a healthy diet while also purchasing locally grown produce is a wonderful goal. All the same, when you’re busy parents, getting the best ingredients can be difficult if you’re short on time or don’t know where to look. Instead of heading to Woodbridge farmers markets every weekend and hoping for the best, take some pressure off your weekly meal planning by joining a CSA.
What Is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Shared Agriculture. It’s an arrangement between farmers and consumers meant to add transparency to the food system while encouraging sustainability and local buying. Community members purchase a weekly seasonal share of a farm’s produce. The share purchases offer farmers financial stability for the season and provide a box of fresh, local produce to community members.
Each CSA is a little bit different. Some source ingredients from multiple local farms, while others are based on a single farm. The size of each share differs, and the share seasons also change from farm to farm. You’ll notice many of the same common vegetables that grow well in Virginia across CSA shares, but some CSAs also offer herbs, eggs, and meats.
Why Join a CSA?
Image via Flickr by Vegan Photo Licensed CC BY 2.0
People love CSAs because they support local business and have a lower impact on the environment than industrial farms. CSAs also keep food footprints lower; the food you receive from a CSA was not grown on the other side of the world and shipped to your grocery store. Many CSAs offer delivery, which saves you shopping time. Even if you have to pick your box up, the freshest produce has already been selected for you, limiting the amount of time you spend in the store choosing items.
CSAs Available near Woodbridge, VA
Many local farms in Virginia participate in CSA programs, and you have several options when it comes to buying shares in a CSA, including how much produce you want and some variation in season length. In the choices listed below, you’ll find CSAs that offer meat and eggs, are careful about allergens, and engage in socially conscious practices.
Potomac Vegetable Farms
Potomac Vegetable Farms is a local farm operation dedicated to sustainable practices. When you sign up for this farm’s CSA, you get a list of the vegetables they typically grow. Rate those vegetables based on how well you like them, and you’ll get a more personalized CSA experience. Every week you can see what’s in your share based on what’s in season and your preferences, and you can always swap out veggies online.
To get CSA shares, you can choose a pickup location in either Purcellville or Vienna, see if you’re close enough for delivery, or find one of the other area pickup locations. Three seasons are available:
- Summer (May to September)
- Autumn (September to November)
- Winter (November to March)
The summer and autumn seasons offer shares weekly, while the winter season is broken into eight shares that are spread from November to March. You can choose between four share sizes, plus add extra options like an egg share, meat share, and herb share.
- 9627A Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182
- 38369 John Wolford Rd, Purcellville, VA 20132
Karl’s Farm is a CSA located near Washington, D.C., that delivers to a wide area around D.C. and also allows for pickup if you don’t live in the delivery area. They grow vegetables without pesticides, and their choices are based on flavor and texture rather than on how uniform the vegetables look or how easy they are to store. A long planting list offers common favorites like garlic, cucumber, onions, and potatoes, along with some unusual veggies like tatsoi and daikon.
Two share seasons are available:
- Spring-Summer (May to September)
- Fall (October to November)
You can order full or half shares, which you can pick up or have delivered on Tuesdays or Saturdays. Vegetable shares are available weekly for both seasons; egg shares are available weekly or bi-weekly in the spring-summer season.
Location: 5550 Stuckey Rd, Pisgah, Maryland 20640
This local farm has been around since 1991 and is known for corn, vine-ripe tomatoes, and watermelon. You can buy a half or full CSA share from C&T Produce. The CSA season lasts for 18 weeks through summer and fall, and you’ll be able to pick up a weekly box of freshly picked produce. Choose from 11 pickup locations around the area (pay attention to the different pickup days listed) for the most convenient place to collect your box.
Like the other farms on this list, C&T Produce has stands at multiple local markets, depending on day and season. C&T does not have a single retail or pickup location, but the website lists current market locations and CSA pickup options.
This Richmond farm offers a CSA that serves both the Richmond and D.C. areas, and Woodbridge residents will find the D.C. pickup location convenient when considering joining this CSA. Expect lots of seasonal produce like corn, tomatoes, and carrots sourced from this local farm as well as other farms in Virginia.
Farmbus offers flexible CSA options. The seasons are long, and members can sign up anytime, making it easier on busy families who may accidentally miss CSA sign-up deadlines or seasons at other farms. Additionally, this CSA is gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and friendly to food allergies. The best part about Farmbus is its policy of donating missed pickups to families in need. If you can’t pick up a share one week, let them know, and they’ll donate it. If you happen to miss a pickup without contacting Farmbus, it gets donated. No food goes to waste.
Location: 225 7th St. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
At Crème de la Crème of Port Potomac, we know providing your family with healthy, sustainable food is important. That’s why we created this list. Have you tried any of these CSA boxes before? If so, what did you think? If we’ve left your favorite local farm off this list, please drop us a line and let us know. We want to provide parents with the very best local resources.