By Elizabeth SanFilippo
City living doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh produce. Community supported agriculture farms (CSAs) are a wonderful way to support local farms and keep your family healthy with fresh produce, fruits, meats and eggs. These five local farms, with pick-up locations throughout the Chicago area, are all ripe for the picking.
Peasants Plot Sustainable Farm
Manteno, IL 60950
Started in 2007 by a husband-and-wife team, Peasants Plot is located just 50 miles south of the city. Todd and Julia McDonald only grow organic vegetables, and by taking part in their CSA, you can grab a whole plethora of fresh veggies, from lettuce and salad mixes to broccoli, onions, carrots and so much more. This is a healthy option you can enjoy for 20 weeks out of the year, from June to October. Take part with either an individual membership ($340) or a family share ($680). You can pick up your healthy goodies weekly at various farmer’s market locations throughout the Chicago area.
17551 Frazier Road
Sandwich, IL 60548
With over 10 acres of farmland southwest of the city, Christina and Rob offer a CSA that changes every week. Expect a lot of greens and roots in the fall. Come summer, your package will be packed full of veggies such as tomatoes, carrots and peppers. Montalbano Farms offers a variety of different options, bi-weekly or weekly, as well as fruit and veggies, or just one or the other. Produce is available for as long as 30 weeks of the year. Fruit shares start at $210, while the vegetable share starts at $295. Pick-up spots abound throughout Chicago and the Chicago area.
Nichols Farm & Orchard
2602 Hawthorn Road
Marengo, IL 60152
Head to any farmer’s market in Chicago and Nichols Farm will always have the biggest and best selection in produce and fruits. The same can be said when you buy a share of its produce. It offers 22-week shares for the summer/fall season starting at $660 and a seven-week fall share for $280. As with its farmer’s market stands, the variety in Nichols Farm’s seasonal products is astounding. When you pick up your share at a number of pick-up locations in the Chicago area, your share may include apples and pears (240 varieties available), melons and watermelon (25 varieties), peppers, potatoes, eggplant and so much more.
Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm
1985 N. 3609th Road
Ottawa, IL 61350
For something a little different, check out Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm’s CSA. Rather than produce, this family-run farm offers a selection of meats every month. The livestock are raised antibiotic-free and monthly shares often include angus beef, sausages, chicken, pork chops and even eggs. Three-, Six- and 12-month options are available starting at $285, including the cost of delivery. Bi-monthly shares can also be arranged. Like other CSAs, Cedar Valley offers a variety of pick-up locations.
3480 Warren Woods Road
Three Oaks, MI 49128
While Granor Farm may be located in southwestern Michigan, it has 25 acres where it practices sustainable farming techniques to produce a number of organic products, including vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. If you buy a 20-week share of this CSA, starting at $445, over the season you’ll get to try 60 different crops. Pick-up locations are located in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
Related: Best Farm Dinners
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.