Farmer John; CSAs in Los Angeles

Last night we watched The Real Dirt on Farmer John, the first sad then joyful story of an Illinois farmer who is forced through a series of misfortunes to reinvent both himself and his farm. This is a family movie with a wholesome and uplifting message, although occasional interspersed footage of outlandishly dressed Farmer John and friends made me think at first that I'd soon be explaining alternative lifestyles to my son. However, by the time the movie ends you understand that John is just exploring art, culture, and belief. Some explorations caught on film tend to biodynamic extremes, which even he admits are founded in mysticism.


The movie ends on a note of triumph, as we see the current incarnation of John's farm as a large and prosperous community supported farm, delivering boxes of fresh organic food to urban "subscribers".

The movie inspired me to find out if there are any CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture, the generic term for farm subscription programs) near me, because I am not always able to make it to a local farmers' market. That urge led me to localharvest.org, an index of CSAs and farmers' markets. A little more clicking led me to The Tierra Miguel Foundation, apparently the only CSA that delivers widely through the greater Los Angeles area. Wednesday in Manhattan Beach is my closest delivery spot.

Current prices for the TMF CSA are $2000 for 46 weeks of Certified Organic produce. Farmer John offers 20 weeks (shorter growing season in Illinois) of vegetables only for $600. An every other week fruit share is available as an add on.

The TMF prices are less than $45.00 per week (compared with $30 per week for Farmer John), which is less than I spend at the farmers' market when I go, but I don't have a good feeling for how I would have to augment the share to make it through a week (adding fruit for lunches, citrus for juice, etc). One advantage of a CSA for me might be that it reduces shopping trips, provided I don't have to augment too much.

Other Los Angeles area related services

www.chowhound.com has additional discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I have considered a CSA. I found one with delivery in NRB and MB, but they only offered large boxes. When I inquired about smaller boxes, my local contact suggested getting biweekly shipments. I said that the whole point of CSA for me was to get fresh and seasonal foods.

    I asked a friend/neighbor if she would be interested in sharing a weekly box with me. She said that she had tried that CSA and did not like the vegetables they sent. So she gave up. She says that the farmers' markets and Whole Foods provides more of what she wants.