As spring approaches, time to sign up for local farms' community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs is running out. Customers buy a seasonal share from an area farm of their choosing, and receive regular installments of fresh food. While most CSAs focus on vegetables, some provide fruit, herbs, meat and poultry, eggs, dairy, flowers, and other products. —Sam Worley
Angelic Organics One of the best-known CSAs in the area, Angelic has farmed by biodynamic principles since 1992. Twenty-week vegetable shares, available from June till October, start at $640, with optional add-ons including ten-delivery summer fruit shares and four-delivery winter shares. Smaller shares available. Pickup locations throughout Chicago. 1547 Rockton, Caledonia, 815-389-2746, angelicorganics.com.
Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm Meat shares from this family-run farm include hamburger, Italian sausage, whole chickens, and eggs; they vary monthly. Shares are available year-round in three-, six-, and twelve-month subscriptions ($255/$500/$975). Pickup locations in Chicago include the Logan Square Farmers' Market and Provenance Food and Wine; Cedar Valley also delivers to Oak Park and Evanston. 1985 N. 3609th, Ottawa, 815-431-9544, cedarvalleysustainable.com.
Farmer Tom's CSA Founded in 2001, this CSA is available year-round—when nothing's growing locally, owner Tom Ulick purchases organic produce from other distributors. After a $60 annual membership fee, shares are $35 a week ($24 for half) and can be picked up at locations throughout Chicago. 773-307-3931, farmertomscsa.com.
Fat Blossom Farm A 20-week vegetable CSA runs from June through October and includes herbs and edible flowers as the season progresses. Full shares are $550; half shares $300. Pickup locations are in Rogers Park and at Lush Wine and Spirits in the South Loop. 2086 20th, Allegan, Michigan, 269-870-5210, fatblossom.com.
Genesis Growers Shares are available by both season and size, with prices running from spring medium ($250) to all-season large ($1,620 for spring, summer, and fall). The farm offers vegetables and fruits ranging from chard to pears, and sells weekly or biweekly egg shares separately. Pickup points are throughout Chicago and include two farmers' markets: Green City and Oak Park. 8373 E. 3000 S Rd., Saint Anne, 815-953-1512, genesis-growers.com.
Grass Is Greener Gardens In addition to six-month CSA shares ($495-$785) that typically include lamb, poultry, and eggs, Grass Is Greener sells yogurt, honey, and, at Thanksgiving, heritage turkeys. Poultry-only shares are also available. Pickup locations are in Hyde Park, Lakeview, Evanston, and Oak Park. W8473 Smock Valley, Monroe, Wisconsin, 608-966-1128, grassisgreenergardens.com.
Growing Home, Inc. Growing Home, which provides job training for homeless and low-income Chicagoans, offers a CSA "scholarship," making limited funds available to those who can't afford the full price. For everyone else, summer shares of vegetables and herbs are $576; three-season shares (spring, summer, fall) are $829. Egg shares are also available. Pickup locations throughout Chicago. 2732 N. Clark, suite 310, 773-549-1336, growinghomeinc.org.
Growing Power, Inc. "Market baskets" from Growing Power are available weekly and year-round: when there's not much locally, they source from larger purveyors like Goodness Greenness. The organization, based in Milwaukee, wants to ensure "equal access" to good food, and as part of its mission provides job training and technical assistance. Market baskets of vegetables and fruits run from $17 to $28; Wisconsin-raised chicken and beef liver are also available. Pickup locations throughout Chicago. 2215 W. North, 773-486-6005, growingpower.org.
Harvest Moon Organics Located in western Wisconsin, Harvest Moon offers summer vegetable shares ($450-$695) that include as many "Ark" varieties—the endangered species of the edible world—as possible. Winter shares include potatoes, popcorn, squash, and eggs, and meat shares include grass-fed beef and free-range chickens. The latter are raised by a "slow growth" process that purportedly produces better meat. Pickup locations throughout Chicago. 3354 N. Paulina, suite 200, 773-472-7950, harvestmoonorganics.com.
Heritage Prairie Farm HPF offers 25-week vegetable shares—encompassing the June-to-October growing season as well as two holiday installments—for $825. Pickup locations throughout Chicago. 2N308 Brundige, Elburn, 630-443-8253, hpmfarm.com.
Irv and Shelly's Fresh Picks Not a CSA per se, this service makes weekly deliveries of organic produce throughout the year, buying from local farmers when they can. Boxes run between $18 and $40 and are customizable; local meats and cheeses, milk and yogurt, and baked goods are also on offer. Home delivery available. 5625 W. Howard, Niles, 847-410-0595, freshpicks.com.
King's Hill Farm Options from family-run King's Hill Farm include the full-season share ($375)—ten deliveries, every other week, between June and October—the summer share (six biweekly deliveries from August through October; $225), or the winter share (two monthly deliveries in November and December; $120). Pickup locations in Chicago are Green City Market, Glenwood Sunday Market, and the Independence Park Farmers' Market. 19370 Highway G, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, 608-776-8413, kingshillfarm.com.
M's Organic Farm This farm specializes in greens, though its 17-week vegetable share ($467) offers a much wider array than that—even, occasionally, homemade granola or pesto. The share runs from June to October, with an optional egg share available. Pickup is Sundays at the Logan Square Farmers' Market. 14101 W. Washington, Woodstock, 815-338-8148, msorganicfarm.com.
Mike and Clare's Farm A weekly share of vegetables, available from June 6 to October 17, is $495. Pickup is Sundays at the Logan Square Farmers' Market. 2012 Stieg, Woodstock, 773-209-3987, mikeandclares.com.
Montalbano Farms Currently Montalbano Farms offers veggies like greens, herbs, and root crops in its CSA shares, but its Web site says the farm is looking to partner with other local farms to offer organic fruit and grains. The 20-week share begins in June and costs $640. CSA members also get half off items at Montalbano Farms' stand at the Logan Square Farmers' Market, which is where the shares are available for Sunday pickup. 12424 River, Plano, 630-882-8008, montalbanofarms.com.
New Era Farms New Era is a woman-owned family farm that was certified organic in 2008. CSA boxes include bonuses like maple syrup, cheese, or jam from organic producers with whom the farm partners. A standard share is $450, a "share-plus" is $600, and all food comes washed and ready for the frying pan or stock pot. Pickup is every other week at 124 Woodbine, Wilmette. S1278 Parker, Cashton, Wisconsin, 608-625-4565, newerafarmonline.com.