Finding a CSA box in your area can be as simple as doing an internet search or asking around at your local farmers markets. Farmers and growers are always looking for ways to get their fresh produce out to the community, so you might even contact some of the farms in your area to see if they have anything set up. Thankfully, McKinney, Texas, and its surrounding areas have some great options for getting contacted with local agriculture and enjoying fresh picks without the middle man.
What Is a CSA?
Image via Flickr by cristina.sanvito
CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and the name covers much of the explanation. Simply put, CSA means that consumers are getting their produce directly from farms and growers rather than from the grocery store. This can be done by visiting farmers markets or buying directly from a nearby farm. A CSA box makes things even simpler. This is a box of fresh picks from participating farms and growers that you can pick-up or have delivered to your house once a week or sometimes once every other week.
Benefits of CSA
There are benefits to CSA programs and boxes on both sides of the equation. Local farmers can offer a share in their crop, which in most cases would be the weekly or bi-weekly box, in exchange for regular, dependable financial support. When growers head to the farmers market, they are given the chance to sell their product but without any guarantees on profits. With a CSA, farmers can rely on a more steady income to support their needs. They will also sometimes receive their income earlier in the year before crops are even producing, which helps provide a steady cash flow.
You also have a lot to gain by subscribing to a CSA program. Your family will enjoy especially fresh produce loaded with important vitamins and minerals. Depending on the type of box you sign up for, you might get a chance to try new things or stick with your favorites. Kids can learn to work with fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen and see exactly how and where their food is grown. Some CSA setups invite the consumers to the farm for a tour once or twice per year.
What’s Right for My Family?
Different CSA programs offer different plans for the consumer. Depending on your family’s eating habits and food preferences, you may want a weekly box that you can build on your own. Families that don’t consume as many fruits and vegetables or those just getting started may find it simpler to start with a bi-weekly or monthly box with produce chosen by the farmer.
Many CSAs offer the choice between a market-style or mix-and-match box. The market-style box lets the farmer fill it with whatever produce and products they want each week. This will likely include the freshest picks and most in-season varieties. Mix-and-match boxes allow the buyer to pick what they want, but only using what’s available.
How to Find a CSA in Your Area
Friends and neighbors are the best places to start when searching for a CSA near you. If you can find somewhat who already uses a CSA, you’ll have the inside scoop on how it works and the quality of produce. You can also reach out for recommendations on Facebook or other social media platforms. Localharvest.org is also a great resource for finding CSAs near you. The greater Dallas-Fort Worth area offers a few quality local farms with CSA options.
Comeback Creek Farm
Check out Comeback Creek Farm, which is a family-owned farm out in Pittsburg, over a two-hour drive from McKinney. They offer pick-up locations for their Farm Box program throughout the area. One location is the Local Yocal on North Tennessee Street in McKinney. You can subscribe for a season for $155. This includes four weeks of produce with pick-up every other week for a total duration of eight weeks. This is a year-round CSA, so you never have to miss out on fresh goodies.
Good Earth Organic Farm
Established in 1984, Good Earth Organic Farm covers 175 acres and offers loads of local produce and grass-fed lamb to nearby towns. They offer a CSA program and online shopping throughout the year. Visit their website and sign up for the newsletter to get more information about upcoming CSA box options, delivery options, and available produce. The online shop allows you to shop plants, prepared foods, tea, produce, and more and then pick up your goodies at the farm, just 40 minutes from McKinney in Celeste.
Johnson’s Backyard Garden
With a CSA drop off site at the Whole Foods in Fairview, Johnson’s Backyard Garden is getting its fresh, local produce to far away parts of Texas. The actual farm is almost 4 hours south of McKinney in Austin, and it’s certified organic. Weekly shares come in four different sizes to suit a variety of needs. Choose between the individual, small, medium, or large share feeding from 2 to 7 people for a week. Your weekly box will vary according to what’s in season, but you can always catch a view of what’s coming that week by checking the veggie guide on their website. CSA box prices start at $22 per week.
In Celina, about 30 minutes from McKinney, Moss Gathers is a small organic farm offering a variety of heirloom vegetables. CSA programs are available by season from May through October. You’ll pay about $400 for 10 weeks of produce depending on the season. Get more information about joining their CSA through Local Harvest.
At Crème de la Crème of McKinney, we are all about building and nurturing a strong sense of community. We love to hear about our families getting involved and supporting local businesses. Our students are encouraged to eat healthy, enjoy community, and even learn to cook. Let us know if you end up becoming a part of a CSA and how it’s benefited your family. We’d love to hear from you.