Get Creative in the Kitchen with Boston's Best CSAs

February 21, 2017

It doesn't matter if you're vegan, paleo or an unrepentant carnivore – we've got the CSA for you!

By 
Dalia Sawaya
A sample CSA Box from Farmers to You

If like most climate scientists, you believe humans are the reason the ice caps are melting, you’ve probably given some thought to your footprint. There’s a lot to consider - energy, waste and, of course, your food choices. Maybe you’re looking for ways to do your part, or at least avoid contributing to the demise of the human race, but veganism just isn’t your thing. Or, maybe you’re a vegetarian looking to further decrease your footprint. Whatever your lifestyle aspirations, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) may be your ticket to a clearer conscience.

If you enjoy a good burger, and want to keep it that way, you’re in luck - eating meat and eating responsibly aren’t mutually exclusive here in the Boston area. Most who are familiar with CSAs know it as a way to get fresh, local fruits and veggies, particularly during harsh winter months. But CSAs around Boston aren’t just for troublingly large quantities of kohlrabi and rutabagas – many local farms offer CSA packages of a wide variety of meat, chicken, and fish. Some deliver to your door, others have periodic pick-up station pop-ups. Either way, a CSA can take a lot of guess work out of your daily shopping.

Like many of the more “conscious” food choices, CSAs are pricier than your local Stop’n’Shop. Bear in mind, however, you’re not just paying for the poundage. With local CSAs, your dollars support local farmers, agriculture and a more viable Greater Boston community and ecosystem.

In exploring mixed or wholly animal product CSAs, you might consider the option of spending the same on your meat as you normally would in the grocery store, but just consuming less. Maybe you don’t need all the meat you usually eat. Maybe vegetarianism is a spectrum. Maybe you can go “responsibly omnivorous”. Sometimes the moderate position is the most radical of all.

CSAs can also challenge your creativity in the kitchen. I’ve let my provider know that I prefer to try weird and cool stuff, so each package is an inspiration to try out new recipes and cooking methods. If it’s routine you need, you can opt to repeat the same or similar cuts in each bundle.

One thing you can be sure of - a CSA means you’ll be eating next-level organix. Participating farms boast local, sustainable, pasture-raised, and all that jazz.

CSAs offered in the Boston area can be broken down into three categories:

– Mixed (produce & animal products)

– Just Animal Products

– Just Produce

Below you’ll find listings for each.

 

Mixed:

Farmers To You
Pricing here
Farmers to You allows you to select exactly what your package will include. Alternatively, you can choose a 3-meal bundle, with options like Vegetarian, Omnivore, Paleo or Dairy-free.

 

Animal Products (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, butter, etc):

Chestnut Farms
Roughly $8 - $9.50 /lb
A typical package includes: hamburger, sausage, a breakfast meat, poultry, lamb or pork chops, a steak. Cuts are seasonal in focus - roasts in the winter, easy grilling for summer months. Kosher items also available.
 

Lilac Hedge Farm
Between $8 - $9 /lb
Offers a meat share and a chicken share. The meat share will include steaks, chops, handmade sausages, ground, stew and roasts, while the poultry share includes chicken and turkey, including but not limited to breasts, wings, drumsticks, thighs, split birds, whole birds, ground and sausage.
 

Stillman Quality Meats, LLC
Pricing & monthly menus here
 

Trustees Meat CSA
Roughly $11 /lb for pork & beef, $5 /lb for chicken
Each share offers a set amount of beef and pork per pick-up, as well as 2 whole chickens for the season.
 

Walden Local Meat Co.
Roughly $10 /lb
Each share includes a mix of beef, sausage and/or bacon, and a variety of cuts from roasts, steaks, chops or ribs.

More farms offering meat, poultry & fish

 

Produce:

Farmer Dave’s
Between $24 and $33 /week
Farmer Dave's vegetable share includes main-season vegetables - leafy greens, beets, peppers, corn, radishes, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, and more.
 

Siena Farms
Between $59 and $62 /week
Seasonal menus here. 
 

Red Fire Farm
Offers a sliding scale payment schedule, and can accomodate SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps.
Example Summer & Autumn menus here. 
 

The Food Project's “Farm to Family" program
Offers special prices to low-income families and accepts SNAP benefits.
One box of in-season vegetables a week, averaging between 5 - 20 pounds. 

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  • February 21, 2017