Community Supported Agriculture programs shorten the route from farm to table.
From field to plate in less than 48 hours, local farms get their food directly onto the dinner tables of local families thanks to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model.
CSAs provide customers (or members) with a steady variety of fresh, locally grown produce throughout the growing season while guaranteeing farmers an income, even if the season doesn’t go entirely as planned. CSA memberships come in a variety of sizes, and some farms even provide additional deliveries of eggs, bread, honey, flowers or meat.
This is a great time of year to sign up for a CSA share. We found three local farms with drop sites in Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville and Prior Lake:
Delivers to: Apple Valley, Eagan and Lakeville
Sign up: Sign up is open at pahls.com.
Apple Valley is home to Pahl’s Market, where the farm was settled in the late 1970s after its start in Bloomington at the turn of the century. With more than 1,200 acres, Pahl’s Market is one of the biggest sweet corn growers in the state, sixth generation farmer and production manager Jack Pahl says. “It’s our ninth year offering a CSA, where we like to use our staples and also include variety in our weekly boxes,” Pahl says.
While Pahl’s Market might be known for its delicious corn, there’s a lot of variety to be found in each CSA box. “We try to do three items people are familiar with, like green beans, bell peppers and potatoes, and three to four items that people will need to stretch a little, oddball stuff like kohlrabi, swiss chard,” Pahl says.
Pahl’s Market picks and cools the produce on Tuesdays and packs and delivers on Wednesdays and Thursdays to 29 pick-up sites for members. The farm offers three share sizes. CSA members are also invited out to the farm on select days throughout the season.
Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm
Delivers to: Eagan and Lakeville
Sign up: Shares became available in November and are available until they sell out. Register online at untiedts.com.
After 52 years of farming in Waverly, Minnesota, Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm has become a familiar grower to many across the Twin Cities. For the past 11 seasons, Untiedt’s has been supplying CSA opportunities. Its use of high tunnels (a type of tall greenhouse) is a game changer, according to Untiedt’s marketing director Jenna Untiedt. “High tunnels help us mitigate some of the risks associated with farming, and they also help extend the growing season on the front and back end of the season by a couple of weeks,” Untiedt says. “We are not an organic farm, but we try to use as many sustainable efforts as possible. We believe that we are borrowing land from future generations, so it is extremely important to keep the soil as healthy as possible.”
Shares are delivered on Tuesdays to stops across the Metro beginning in mid-June through about mid-October.
Delivers to: Apple Valley, Lakeville and Prior Lake
Sign up: Shares become available in February and are available until they sell out. Register online at waxwingfarm.com.
Waxwing Farm, located in Webster, Minnesota, keeps its focus on understanding the needs of its members when growing and selling produce. “During the pandemic, people were worried about food supply shortages and staying close to home,” Waxwing Farm co-owner Anna Racer says. “A lot of people joined then and were brand new to the concept of CSAs. We started with 25 shares in 2011, and a lot of those members are still with us today.”
After 12 years, Racer says her farm grows 40 crops, and shoppers can purchase half or full CSA shares. Full shares are delivered for 16 weeks on Wednesdays, and half-shares are every other week, throughout summer and fall. Home delivery and farm pick-up are available, giving Racer and her husband, Pete Skold, the chance to get to know their members even better.