Archive for May, 2009

Local CSA research and other tidbits for organic produce

As I continue to try to improve my carbon footprint and quality of life, I am eager to begin our 2009 CSA share. We will be picking up our first distribution June 8th and  I can hardly wait!

Prompted by a few recent questions about local CSAs posted to the local mom’s group I decided I should summarize all of the research I did last fall so that others might benefit – since it did take a while!

This is from the perspective of living in Newton, MA – just outside of Boston proper.

I am sharing what I have, which is by no means comprehensive and you should certainly visit the websites I linked to for full details. I would love to hear comments or additions to improve upon what I have.

CSAs – Community Supported Agriculture

Waltham Fields Community Farm – Waltham, MA (this is where we have a CSA share for the first time!)

  • CSA Shares: Sold out for 2009
    • $550 per share + $25 membership
    • In 2010, we will be offering our 2009 CSA shareholders the first chance to sign up for 2010 shares.  The slots that are not filled by returning shareholders will then be offered to members of our organization who did not previously have shares.  Organizational membership is $25 and supports our food access and education work. 
    • Includes some pick your own items
  •  Apple Share: only available to regular CSA shareholders
  • Winter Share:  Sold out for 2009
  • Organic?
    • From their site: Since 1995, we have grown our crops at Waltham Fields Community Farm using organic practices. We use only materials approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute for pest control and fertility management. We manage our soil for long-term fertility and health in order to grow nutritious, vital food without the use of synthetic chemicals. While we are not certified organic, our commitment to sustainability in and out of the fields is ongoing. We are committed to working towards the principles of sustainability outlined in the Farmer’s Pledge that has been developed by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. At Waltham Fields Community Farm, we believe that knowing your farmer and being engaged with your farm as a consumer is the best way to ensure that your food is produced responsibly. We encourage our CSA shareholders to ask our farm staff about our farming practices, and we make it a habit to communicate those practices through our CSA newsletter and on-farm educational events like our Third Sunday gatherings. We invite all our shareholders to join us in the fields for a firsthand taste of sustainable farming practices.
  • Comments:
    • + You can pick up your share any share pick up day per week. No need to stick to the same day!
    • + Some pick your own
    • + Options for apple and winter shares
    • + Nice non-profit with a nice mission
    • + They are close!
    • + They encourage participating with the farm
    • + They encourage kids coming to the farm, there is a kids section even
    • + You can picnic on the farm


Newton Community Farm – Newton, MA

  • They are a non-profit organization
    • CSA Shares: Sold out for 2009
    • 2009 Weekly Share $570
    • 2009 Alternate Week Share $300
    • All CSA participants have a work commitment, for weekly shareholders it is 12 hours for the seasons, for alternate week share it is 6 for the season
    • If you want to split your share with someone else that will have to be managed on your own
    • Enrollment is opened to prior year shareholders first, then to Newton residents and then open to anyone. To receive an email notice when the CSA goes on sale, join their mailing list by sending email to
  • Fruit & Flower Shares
  • Farm Stand:
    • Produce will be available at our on-site Farm Stand (located on Winchester Street) from early June through mid-October. Farm Stand hours are Tuesday through Friday 3-7pm and Saturday 10-2.
    • Also at the Newton Farmer’s Markets
  • Comments:
    • + Some pick your own
    • + Nice non-profit with a nice mission
    • + They are right in our town!
    • + They offer a lot of classes and encourage community relationships with the farm
    • – They seemed to have a smaller crop list than the other CSAs

 Stillman’s – Lunenburg & New Braintree

  • CSA shares: Sold out in some pick up locations
    • 2009 Small Box ($350) generally suited for 2 people
    • 2009 Large Box ($500) generally suited for a larger household
    • They are sold out for some locations for 2009
    • You can sign up to be notified of when their newsletter shares are available for purchase. They usually go on sale in January.
  • Pickup:
    • They offer pick up in Jamaica Plain, Southborough, Framingham, New Braintree, Lunenburg, Brookline and Quincy
    • I believe at some locations they also have a stand with extra items you can purchase when you pick up your share
  • Meat CSA
  • Farmer’s Market Presence
    • They are also at a number of farmer’s markets, including Brookline but not Newton
  • Organic?
    • From their site: The combination of organic and IPM practices allows us to offer the widest possible selection of fruit and vegetable varieties. We have developed our own label, “conscientiously grown” to convey our commitments to the safety of our environment, family and customers. All of our hormone free, pasture raised meats carry a conscientiously grown label too!
  • Comments:
    • + Lots of pick up locations
    • + Large farm  
    • + 2 sizes of shares
    • – No pick up locations are really convenient from Newton
    • – the farm itself if far from Newton so it’d be hard to participate in activities on the farm

 Land’s Sake – Weston, MA

  • CSA shares: Sold out for 2009
    • 2009 Share $650 + $50 membership
    • To be notified about future seasons, you can sign up for their mailing list
    • Includes some pick your items
  • They are a non-profit
  • Organic?
    • From their site: Land’s Sake uses 100% organic methods to grow its food. We are “Certified Naturally Grown” by an independent, farmer-run certification organization.


Newton Farmer’s Markets

Tuesday’s at Cold Spring Park, 1200 Beacon St

from July 10 through October 25

1:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Tip: If you can walk you should, parking can be a pain.

 Friday’s at American Legion Post 440 295 California St

from July 6 through October 28

1:30 am – 6:00 pm


Organic Delivery Options

 Boston Organics

  • Description from their site: Boston Organics is an independent organic produce and grocery delivery service currently serving customers in the greater Boston area. We work directly with farms and wholesalers to deliver boxes of fresh organic produce to your door, year-round, on a weekly or biweekly basis. We are your connection to the fields! Simply select a produce box and let us know which fruits and vegetables you NEVER want to receive; and we’ll provide you with a different combination of fresh ingredients each week!


Nice Resources for finding local & organic farms, markets, products:


May 13, 2009 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

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