Read on for a list of local CSA programs that make eating local a cinch!
During the pandemic, I started thinking more about our meat consumption as a family. We weren’t ready to become vegetarians but we were ready to start eating less — but better — meat. I wanted to be more thoughtful about where our meat came from and how we can support local farmers and their sustainable practices. We are lucky in Oregon to have easy access to a plethora of farms, a multitude of farmers’ markets, and excellent local groceries. But I was curious about a CSA program and what they could uniquely offer.
CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are a great way to support our local farms through pledging support for a farm and sharing in the risks and benefits of the harvest. We can support farms as we shop at farmers’ markets, but there is something significant about investing in one specific farm and shouldering their initial costs for the year. In return, we benefit from a regular share of the bounty. In previous experiences of a vegetable CSA, my family has grown in our appreciation of seasonal produce and become more adventurous with vegetables we might not have purchased if we saw it in the market (hello, fava beans!). Every week is a fun surprise.
I found Double F Farms online and signed up for the waiting list. When a spot opened up in May, I jumped at the chance. I was interested in a CSA that had a variety of proteins and didn’t require investing in a chest freezer for the subscription. In my few months with Double F Farms, I have fallen in love with my meat CSA. I stopped buying meat at the grocery store, and only use what I get for the month, along with the 2 dozen eggs that come with my 20 lb. share. And the meat is, unquestionably, better. The first thing we tried were the pork chops. With just salt and pepper, grilled, they were the most porky, flavorful and tender pork chops I have had. The beef rump roast that I might not have purchased on my own, cooked into a luscious beef barbacoa. The bacon was the star of our BLTs for lunch today.
In addition, farmer Katia has made our CSA experience really enjoyable. During our monthly pick up, there is a happy hour spread where we get to chat with the farmers and meet other members. She sends recipes and ideas for cooking the cuts of meat we received. My son had many questions about their animals and the farm, and she took her time to answer each one. I love that she is his farmer and he has a greater connection to where our food comes from and we get to spend our money in something sustainable and healthy.
Double F Ranch has a 6 month commitment and currently they are not taking new members. But there is a waitlist for the upcoming season.
Interested in investing in local agriculture through a CSA? Below you’ll find a sampling of local CSAs to try. It’s late in the season for joining now, but get on their mailing lists or waitlists to reap the harvest next year.
- Double F Ranch. My family highly recommends this monthly meat and egg CSA, available in 10 or 20 lb. packages.
- Canby Farms. Canby Farms is an eco-conscious and regenerative farm. There is a weekly Friday pickup in SE Portland. You can purchase a weekly box with no commitment.
- Gathering Farms. Gathering Farms is a large, established organic farm. Although their 2022 CSA is full, you can still support them at farmers’ markets throughout Portland.
- Eloisa Organic Farm. The summer CSA at Eloisa Organic Farm is full, but they will have a Fall CSA available starting September.
- Our Table. Our Table is a certified organic farm in Sherwood, and their CSA is full, but they have a market on their farm that sells their produce along with ready to go meals.
- Port Orford CSF. Port Orford CSF sells shares of seafood, caught locally. The season is over for them, but get on their mailing list to get notified for their next season.
- Cloud Cap Mushrooms. This family grows their organic variety of mushrooms that you can pick up by the pound all around Portland.
- Hood River Organics. Hood River Organics is part of a local team of small organic farms which gives you greater variety of produce. You can pick up the share or have it delivered for a small fee. They also have other grocery items to add to your box.
- Milk Run. Milk Run sources local produce and other grocery items within 150 miles of Portland. You can subscribe to a weekly box and add local breads from Tabor or New Cascadia, Nancy’s yogurt or even a charcuterie box with your subscription.
- Hoffman Farms Berry Subscription. Sign up for their mailing list to be the first to know when sign-ups for this popular subscription service open next spring.