Farm-To-Table: CSA Food Deliveries around Seattle
Thanks to the burgeoning farm-to-table movement, it has never been easier for us to get our hands on incredible local produce. Investing in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is an easy and often economical way for busy parents to get good food on the table. You buy a share in a local sustainable farm, then every week, through delivery or by picking up from your chosen neighborhood location, you receive a box brimming with delicious fruits and vegetables straight from the fields. The downside with a CSA is that you share the risk if it’s a disappointing harvest year, but more often than not the investment pays dividends with a bounty of delicious local and seasonal fare. Choosing a CSA is a great way to support local agriculture and farmers, and to teach your kids some important lessons about food and community. Here are some of our favorite options around the Seattle area.
Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center
This 30-acre community-driven farm in Carnation supplies their high-quality organic produce all over town to top eateries such as Café Flora and Macrina Bakery. They also focus strongly on farm education for kids of all ages, offering summer camps, field trips and farm tours (complete with a playground and a tractor to climb on). Choose from numerous pick-up locations around Seattle and the Eastside.
Cost: $375 for 15 weeks ($25/week)
Members are given the opportunity to purchase add-on shares of local goodies such as coffee and honey, and also to add extras to their boxes of what’s freshest that week. Their very user-friendly website lists hundreds of recipe ideas, so you’ll never be left wondering what’s for dinner.
Oxbow also offers home delivery through a partnership with Pagliacci Pizza, who will bring you your box along with an order of pizza. Everybody wins!
The main season share is “farmer’s choice,” meaning that you can’t customize the contents. This is a great way to discover some new favorites, but could be trickier for less adventurous eaters.
Washington’s second longest-running CSA, this biodynamic farm grows all of its food without the use of herbicides or pesticides. For those with an open schedule, you can pick up at the Carnation farm every week, or pay a one-time fee of $96 to have your box shipped to your nearest pick-up location.
Small box: $700 for 20 weeks ($35/week)
Large box: $900 for 20 weeks ($45/week)
Jubilee offers their grass-fed beef or pork by the quarter or half animal, and single cuts are available in the barn market at the farm.
At the farm, kids can participate in the free “Farm School,” where they harvest vegetables, search for eggs, and visit the animals. Enjoy Jubilee’s gorgeous pumpkin patch at the harvest festival, and bring the whole family to enjoy their annual May Day celebration.
Driving to the Snoqualmie Valley every week is not going to be possible for many busy parents (though if you are able, their grounds are beautiful and perfect for a family picnic). It’s also one of the more expensive options out there, as you pay a premium for their biodynamic produce.
Helsing Junction Farm
This Rochester farm has been around for over twenty years, growing fruits, vegetables and flowers on 30 acres. They offer numerous pick-up locations around Seattle, the Eastside and beyond, and for an extra $7 per box you can have it delivered to your front door.
Mini share: $500 for 20 weeks ($25/week)
Small share: $600 for 20 weeks ($30/week)
Large share: $800 for 20 weeks ($40/week)
Helsing Junction offers a number of customized boxes, such as Paleo, juicing, and a flower option featuring some of their incredible stem bouquets. You can also purchase pasture-raised chicken, handcrafted cheese, artisanal chocolate and much more from partners on their webstore.
For busy parents who might not have much time to cook, the “snack share” box is a perfect solution, offering kid lunchbox favorites such as grapes, cherry tomatoes, heirloom apples, and more.
Located out past Olympia, Helsing Junction is much further from Seattle than the Carnation farms, making it harder for those families who want to bring their kids to visit, or to forge a stronger relationship with the farm they’re investing in.