These are NOT your parents' organic fruit and vegetable CSAs.
The rise of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) began in the 1980s and has since taken off across the United States as more and more people hunger for high quality, freshly grown local produce. While an increasing number of grocery stores now offer a wide range of organic produce, it’s hard to beat the connection CSA members experience when they receive their weekly or bi-weekly haul of fresh produce, eggs and meat. However, as CSAs continue to find more of an audience, more specific and niche CSAs have started popping up across the country, providing a range of products catered specifically to consumers with particular tastes. Here is a look at five very unique CSAs and how to join them.
Mermaid’s Garden Fish Share is located in Brooklyn, New York and supplies fresh fish to a number of communities in the greater New York City-area. Participants commit to an agreed upon season and receive regular “shares” of fresh fish during that period. While the majority of the fish is sourced locally, Mermaid’s Share sources some of their fish from further south during the winter, along with offering specialty items like Alaskan salmon and Florida stone crabs when in season. To learn more about how to join Mermaid’s Garden, click here.
Through the magic of Kickstarter, the world’s first chili pepper CSA came to be in 2016 after the same company, Homesweet Homegrown, first became the highest funded hot sauce on the crowdsourcing site in 2013. Homesweet Homegrown’s farm, which is located in Kutztown, PA, grows each of its 45 different chili peppe varieties completely all-naturally and sustainably. Starting at the beginning of harvest season in September, CSA members will receive a monthly box with different chili peppers of all heat levels with six different types of peppers (18 peppers total) in each box. To learn more about how to join the world’s first chili pepper CSA, click here.
Love’n Fresh Flowers
While most CSAs are dedicated to ingredients that you can actually cook with, others offer items that are simply for admiring. Love’n Fresh Flowers is a Philadelphia-based florist and flower CSA that offers weekly flower deliveries from June through early September. They offer two different types of shares: a bouquet, which includes a weekly collection of flowers arranged just for you, and a bucket, in which members receive a six-quart container stuffed with loose stems that they can then arrange into smaller bouquets to their liking. Love’nFresh flowers is currently only available for residents in the greater Philadelphia area, but to learn more, please visit their website here.
Ghost Pepper Farms
Yes, there are truly CSAs for every taste and interest. Ghost Pepper Farms, which is another Kickstarter success story, is a father-son operation dedicated solely to growing ghost peppers. As such, it only seemed natural for them to start producing hot sauce, which is now available through their brand new CSA program. They are currently offering three different hot sauces—Crazy Pineapple, Sriracha Style and WTF Garlic—made from their signature ghost chilies. To learn more about Ghost Pepper Farms and their CSA program, please click here.
Tom’s Honey Bees
A CSA dedicated solely to honey might seem odd at first, but when you think about the practice of raising honey bees being one of the oldest agricultural trades on Earth, it makes total sense. Tom’s Honey Bees CSA, located on Long Island, offers two different quantities for its once a year distribution: a full share, which include 12 one lb. jars of wildflower honey, or a half share, which includes six. Each option also comes with beeswax lip balm, soap and candles. To learn more about Tom’s Honey Bees and their CSA program, please click here.