Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a movement to support local farmers and to get the freshest food possible on your table. Memberships (subscriptions) to a CSA program are usually quarterly. You generally pay in advance for a membership to a CSA and receive a box of produce every week. Flexibility is a must if you subscribe to a CSA because as a rule, you receive whatever seasonal produce is packed in your box every week. Here are some of the best CSAs in and around Orange County.
5380 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
www.tanakafarms.comTanaka Farms in Irvine is best known for its strawberries. However, if you subscribe to the CSA program here, you will receive a variety of produce like lettuce, radishes and watermelons depending on the season. Produce at Tanaka Farms is harvested daily and the farm is open seven days a week. A box will be prepared weekly for subscribers. The cost is $20 for a small box (six to eight different items) and $30 for a large box (nine to 11 different items). Tanaka Farms also offers offers tours of the farm. This is a good experience, especially for children, to see where fruits and vegetables come from.
South Coast Farms
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
www.southcoastfarms.comSouth Coast Farms offers a couple different options for its CSA program. You can choose a small or large box, and you can choose to pick up your produce directly from the farm or from a pickup location. If you’re picking up your box of produce from the farm, the cost is $32 for a small box or $39 for a large box, paid in advance for an entire quarter. If your produce will be delivered to one of the appointed pickup locations, the cost is $34 for a small box or $41 for a large box. You can expect a variety of at least 15 items (citrus fruit, kiwis, leaf vegetables) in a box of produce from this farm.
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Morning Song Farm
2120 Rainbow Glen Road
Fallbrook, CA 92028
www.morningsongfarm.comThis farm is located in northern San Diego County, but has several pickup locations in Orange County. There are several reasons to sign up for Morning Song Farm, including a variety of avocados and fruits that are hard to find, such as figs, guavas and pomegranates. The best reason to sign up with Morning Song Farm is fresh macadamia nuts (and you know how expensive those are at the store). A large box is $44.50 and a small box is $34.50. Payments can be made monthly or quarterly.
Rainbow Ranch Farms
Pinon Hills, CA 92372
www.rainbowranchfarms.comCSAs are great for getting fresh produce, but Rainbow Ranch Farms offers an option for people who want meat that was not raised on some industrial farm. At Rainbow Ranch Farms, farmers raise chicken, game birds, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, rabbit and beef, none of which have grains in their feed. The farm is located in Pinon Hills in the high desert, but delivers to pickup locations in Orange County.
7698 Eucalyptus Ave.
Ontario, CA 91762
www.agrariansolutions.org/csa.htmlAmy’s Farm is not located in Orange County, but if you’re near Ontario or Pomona, this is a good CSA. A membership for an entire year (early March to late December) is $860. That might seems like a lot, but if you break it down, it’s $20 per week for a basket of five items. The items in your basket will range from a variety of greens to root vegetables and some citrus fruit. Check the website for the pickup locations.
Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.