1. says

    For anyone in the Greater Seattle or PNW area I am part of a great CSA. You are even able to edit your food options before delivery. So this is a great option for us and you know what you are getting every week so you can plan your meals.

    And right now Full Circle Farms is offering a great deal. Use promo code EATWELL and enter Kyle Roberts (My Name) in the ‘how you heard about us’ field when you sign-up and you will save $15 on your first order. Spread the word. We absolutely love getting fresh veggies delivered to our house.

    Amber, you can delete this if it infringes on any advertising right or what not.


    • says

      Amber has done a great job (I REALLY appreciate what you done with this topic, Amber!!) of laying out what you get for your money when you join a family operated, local, small farm CSA. These benefits, the super fresh food, the highly nutritious food (because a small farm can afford to give food plants all the nutrients they need for real nutrient density but a broad acre farm just can’t afford to do it), the soil building, the biodiversity building, the community building, the social and educational outreach and the tremendous beneficial ecological impact of conscious farming just don’t happen with big farms, even if they market as CSAs.

      Full Circle Farm is to real CSAs what Starbucks has been to small coffee houses. (Oh, God, Robb, I hope you don’t chug Starbucks (and think it’s good coffee (anymore))) 400 acres, cooperative farms, umpteen shares in many states. Oh, come on, this ain’t what Amber was talking about in her wonderful discussion of CSAs

      Here’s a nice write up by a small family operated CSA about how their dreams are being smashed by Full Circle Farm “CSA”

      Disclosure: I’m a CSA farmer in Washington, DC. In our area we are also being impacted by large, formerly wholesale-only farm operations that do not return either the freshness, the nutrition or the many other CSA benefits for the food dollars. We are also being hit by many ‘resellers’ who are buying wholesale produce and reselling it under the “CSA” name. (And they have the gall to ask for payment in advance, something farmers need but retailers don’t normally dare to ask for!!) Of course, an informed consumer is the best defense against these interlopers destroying the original small local ‘organic’ nutrient dense CSA farming movement, the one Amber has written about so well.

      Time for my ad: I’m a farmer (and only farm fit, at that) I’m also Paleo and long time involved with Weston A Price but, sorry Sally, Robb is my new food guru! Rob knows a lot about food scientifically and a lot about fitness and the effects of the paleo diet. As a farmer, though, I see that he’s a little weak on how urban people can source the foods that have the nutrients (such as actual omega-3s!) that Paleo people, especially those of you in training, really need. I know a lot about that sort of stuff: where to find the good food, the REAL FOOD. My CSA is in DC We are a small family biodynamic farm that’s part of the New Agriculture movement, an explicit effort to grow food with higher nutrient content that you can find in commercial produce, be it industrial or organic produce. I’m looking for a gym or Paleo group in the DC-area to partner with this coming season. You can contact me through

      Meanwhile, to everyone: please support REAL SMALL FARM FAMILY OPERATED “ORGANIC” CSAs in you area! Don’t let yourself get ripped off by ‘vegetables in a bag’ people!! (And never forget ‘grass fed’ ain’t ‘grass finsihed’ when it comes to Paleo benefits.

      • says

        Thanks Allan for trying to bash a company that is doing good. I have done a couple different CSAs and full circle is my favorite. I don’t need to tell you why. I understand they are a very large company. That alone is not going to drive me away from doing business with them just because they have succeeded at what they set out to do. They are bridging the gap between crap food and healthy organic food. I know they offer food from out of state etc, but I am responsible and always change my order to include local veggies.

        I am not here to discredit what you are doing. I love going to small farms and farmers markets, but thanks for your 2 cents.

  2. says

    Hey Amber,

    We have a service at work called the fruit guys that sounds similar to a CSA. Do you know anything about them and how they rate on the “sustainability” index?

  3. says

    My local CSA is awesome! I get so excited every 2 weeks when I get to pick up the new basket. BUT, it would be hard if it was only for 1 person. My roommate tends to eat the veggies WHEN I cook them, but it is hard to get her on board sometimes. It would probably be a little easier with a family for sure! Nonetheless it is a great way to get lots of veggies into the house at one time. I have also started giving some away to friends/family.

  4. says

    This is certainly an awesome post Robb! I will be checking into CSA options quickly here in Quebec, to see what I can get my mittens on! One thing I might add – for the next year, save those dollars you did not spend at the store and keep it for the next year’s CSA. That way it really ONLY is a 1 year investment that keeps going, unless you get wiped out by a bad crop year.

  5. says

    Any chance there’s a follow up coming soon regarding choosing a local farm for grass-fed and free range livestock? Also, I think options like this exist for wild fish?

    Recently started looking at these sorts of ranches and was (pleasantly) surprised to find I was overwhelmed with options.

    • says

      This is going to be a huge feature of the site…much more to come. I am as excited, if not more so about the potential of affecting change with programs like this as I am about the whole paleo nutrition gig. If we get people to buy their food differently, we can change it all.

      • says

        Sounds great!

        Also, follow up to the glutamine question I had a few weeks ago:

        The glutamine worked like a charm and within days I felt healthier than I have in years, possibly ever (memory gets hazy too far back). It worked really well to give myself a baseline of health… Which largely collapsed within a weekend. We’re talking the whole shebang, including stabbing pain in my gut.

        Went and got checked out at the doc’s, and he listened to the whole story and not only agreed to, but actually suggested, a blood test for celiac. Got the blood drawn a couple days later, but started immediately taking my dietary compliance to the next level. Test came back negative, but pains and other symptoms also disappeared. Doc and I both agreed to stick with the gluten- and dairy-free permanently and completely.

        Thanks again for all the help and info, and hope the glutamine trick can be useful in your toolbox for creating a baseline in real problem cases. Looking forward to all you have coming next!

  6. says

    When I was a Weight Watchers member (ahem!), joining a CSA didn’t seem like a good idea. I planned every meal every week and was dead set against the idea that I didn’t know what would be in my basket.


    When I started eating palo, I joined TWO CSAs and compare them… fun! I decided to go with Farmhouse Delivery because the owners are totally cool, they love food and publish a recipe blog every week, and the baskets are HUGE: lots of variety and big servings of each item.

    Thanks to Farmhouse Delivery I learned that I love fennel, like turnips, that butternut squash tastes AWESOME cooked on a grill, and that the green tops of just about anything (beets, turnips, radishes) are really tasty if steamed then sauteed in olive oil with garlic. It’s like bonus vegetables… eat the main veggie AND the tops.

    Farmhouse Delivery (Austin, TX area)

    • says

      Farmhouse is not a CSA in that it sources the food from both local and non local sources and the members are not taking on risk as you can buy by the week and do not have to commit to an entire season. i would call this a food delivery service and the people who run it are not farmers but rather brokers.

      this is not a bad thing necessarily as local farms are used so they have a market but do not confuse this with a real farmer driven CSA

      • says

        a very good point – we have one here in Albuquerque that does the same – and reports are not good – just to fill the baskets, the quality of the imported (from california) produce is NOT up to snuff much less organic – stick with local- know your farmers – CSAs
        Ravi @

      • Jessica says

        I likewise use a company like Farmhouse. The company I use is called The Farm Table and only sources its food from local farms in our state. They are devoted to GMO-free, as close to organic as possible, sustainable farming. This company has saved some farms from shutting down due to lack of business. While they may be brokers, some of these companies do a great job. The Farm Table acts just like a CSA in that they take a certain percentage of the membership fees and box fees and devotes it to the farms in the case that there are natural disasters that would cause them financial problems. Be careful judging these companies because some of them are doing a great job.

  7. says

    I use Eating with the Seasons in the SF Bay Area. It’s less of a traditional CSA and more like a local veggie mail order subscription — you pay up front, then go online and order a number of items, and they’re delivered to a drop-off point once a week. They occasionally have meat, plus eggs, extra strawberries and sometimes treats like Arkansas black apples and romanesco. I like the fact that they support a bunch of local farms and I like getting a choice.

    One thing I’ve discovered is that if you wind up with wilted vegetables — and among the piles of lettuce, this seems to be a chief complaint with CSAs — they’re rarely unsalvageable. I got some soft carrots once and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge to give to my birds later, and when I went back for them they were fresh and crisp. I’ve had beets keep for weeks in a container of cold water.

    • says

      Hi, Adah –

      Essentially, if a “CSA” doesn’t have a farmer and a farm, it isn’t a CSA. If produce is being aggragated from a lot of sources, it will never be as fresh as the food you get from a CSA, which is normally harvested the same day you receive it. Aggragation takes time. Wholesaling farms think nothing of keeping greens for 3 weeks or so in their walk-in coolers before distribution. Eating with the Seasons may have had a farm and a farmer once, but it appears they have moved into exploiting the demand small family CSAs have created for fresh local food. Most damning: they do not list the farms that supply them! Transparency is everything in an box scheme like this. If there isn’t transparency, then you pretty much have to accept that what you get may be the same things you’d get if you bought your produce from Safeway. I don’t know these people, of course, but based on their website, and my poor reading skills!, this appears to be the case.

      As far as your wilted produce goes (or, actually, someone else’s since you seem to have solved the problem!), most food-for-health people I’ve read consider ‘freshly wilted produce’ to still be nutritionally sound. That is ‘only water has been lost.’ In my experience, most produce can be re-hydrated by placing it for about 1/2 hour in aluke warm or ice cold (both seem to work) water in your kitchen sink. Texture and flavor and, I assume nutrition seem to be as good as ever.

      About the beets in water, though: I’ve been told that soaking vegetables in water destroys some nutrients (like Vit C) and leaches others (like minerals), so I’ve always tried to keep produce in a relatively dry state in a crisper (after re-hydrating, if necessary)

  8. ahklein says

    My in-laws are in one so when I house-sit for them (they travel a lot) I get to experience theirs. Their CSA is locally very respected; I hear it mentioned a lot as being one of the best in our area, but I’m not totally confident it’s a “true” CSA. *checks* It’s a Co-Op who preferentially buys from local farmers (and buys from further out in the winter). So they are less buying a farm share and more pooling their buying power with a heavy preference for local farms when available. Well, here are my thoughts anyway, since I suspect they’re similar to a CSA in most respects:

    1. In the winter anyway, they slant heavily towards the starchy tubers. I’m trying to limit those. So those weren’t all that helpful to me personally.

    2. The interesting variety of things one gets can be quite delightful. I would never have known cauliflower COULD be purple. Who knew?

    3. The freshness factor is a little variable, but that might be because it’s a Co-Op, and some of the goods in their basket were coming from further away. I also have only seen winter baskets, since they joined in mid-fall.

    4. The quantity for the price I know they’re paying for their share? Very good. I get “Alicia, come here and take some of this stuff” e-mails on a pretty regular basis, and that’s saying something: my in-laws eat a LOT of vegetables.

    This is their Co-Op:

    I have to say that most of my friends are in CSAs and they all love theirs.

  9. says

    The CSA that we use in the Toronto (Canada) area raises, as well as veggies, pastured ducks, chickens and beef…they also have eggs on a regular basis throughout the year. We just signed up for another year early to get a 10% discount…W00T!! (east of Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

  10. Squatchy says

    If anyone needs any info on this stuff (CSA, veggies, farmers markets, pastured/grass-fed meats) for upstate South Carolina, feel free to contact me
    for the sake of spam I won’t write out my email address, its my user name here

  11. says

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our family subscribes to Marin Sun Farms meat CSA ( and two vegetable CSAs: Two Small Farms ( and Full Belly Farm (

    Before I started eating Paleo, I used to waste a lot of my haul. Now, I can’t get enough meat and veggies! I’m an adventurous eater so I love the variety and quality that’s provided from my CSA boxes.

  12. says

    I did my first csa last year and absolutely loved it. I found a buddy and split it with him since the one I did was a certain amount of food. The one I did starts back up in the spring and im itching for it. The best part is it forces you to eat with better variety and try out different recipes.

  13. E. Thornton says

    If anyone is in the Charleston, SC area, we have been with the Ambrose Farm CSA ( for just over a year now. Both the Spring and Fall seasons have been excellent (although a little too much eggplant for our taste in the Fall). I would highly recommend checking them out.

  14. says

    In a way, it’s kind of like bribing garden invaders (whether they’re deer, rabbits or insects) with something yummy instead of what you’re trying to grow for yourself.

    When the ‘counter-culture’ movement was in full swing in the United
    States in the late 1960s, many younger people
    began a ‘back to the earth’ movement in an attempt to draw a closer connection the land that
    they instinctively knew sustained them. For
    example, a very simple permaculture farm uses its animal waste to feed its crops, which in turn are used to feed the animals.

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