First off, what is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Taking part in a CSA is important for your health, the environment and your local economy. There are more than 20 CSAs in Minnesota, so there’s sure to be one in your neck of the woods. Most CSAs offer different types of membership. Some include delivery and some are pick up only. For information on each of these CSAs, visit their website to see what types of produce they offer and what their pick-up/delivery schedule is. A couple of the CSAs on this list have smaller, one-time packages available too, so if you’re not sure if going all in right away is right for you, you can always test the waters by taking advantage of one of these packages or one that comes every other week. Here are five of the best CSAs in the state.
Oak Knoll Farm
20749 794th Ave.
Albert Lea, MN 56007
Being in the business for 10 years sure shows at this farm near Albert Lea. Oak Knoll Farm grows all of its produce chemical free and offers lots of different fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, squash, rhubarb etc. You’ll get them as fresh as possible, picked right from the gardens. Oak Knoll has different CSA shares available depending on your needs: a half share ($275), full share ($475), fruit share of strawberries, raspberries and apples ($50) or a salsa kit of onions, hot peppers and tomatoes ($40).
10585 Highway 212
Glencoe, MN 55336
Dunlooken Farm is located just southwest of the Twin Cities in the small town of Glencoe. The farm features vegetable and flower gardens, fruit patches, goats, chickens and horses. A membership to this CSA will get you tickets to the popular “Down on the Farm” days in May and September as well as newsletters and lots and lots of fresh produce. Dunlooken’s Veggie Lovers Box ($400) will get you a large box of fresh vegetables and fruits from June through October, while the Whole Hog Box ($500) will get you a larger box filled with fresh veggies and fruits as well as herbs, flowers and eggs. Dunlooken has pick-up locations in Edina, Waconia, Chaska and at the farm, along with a delivery option for $25.
Blue Ribbon Farm
3623 156th St. NW
Clearwater, MN 55320
Blue Ribbon Farm is a family-run business that has been around for three generations. It’s located just south of Clearwater on the Mississippi River. Blue Ribbon Farm offers full shares ($575), half shares ($350) and egg shares ($30). The full share will get you about 3/4 to one bushel a week depending on availability. The farm produces a variety of fruits and veggies like apples, watermelon, herbs, onions, carrots, radishes, etc. It offers three pick-up locations: the farm itself, Bodywise Chiropractic Center in Elk River and the St. Cloud Farmers’ Market.
Minnesota Food Association
14220-B Ostlund Trail N.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047
Minnesota Food Association features expansive gardens and many different CSA options. It prides itself on diverse and specialty ethnic produce along with helping out farmers in training. Minnesota Food Association offers the following CSA shares: the Gardners’ Special for those looking for herbs and flowers ($35), Summer Vegetables which is offered June through October ($550-590), every other week shares during the growing season ($310-350), Fall Harvest Special which gets you three boxes of harvest veggies ($95-105) and the Fruit Share which offers fruit, not grown locally, but a great way to get your serving of fruit for the summer ($415-425). Being a member of this CSA will get you perks such as tickets to local dinners and events and community garden workshops.
Cannon Valley Farms
8496 County 17 Blvd.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
Cannon Valley Farms, located on the Cannon River banks, is run by husband-and-wife team Jennifer and Michael Griffith. They stress the importance of community-supported agriculture and all that it does to keep your dollars in the local economy and support your local farmers. For a half share that feeds a family of two ($375-475), you will get a 5/9 bushel basket of produce like onions, cucumbers, beans, peas, carrots, etc. every week. For a full share that feeds a family of four ($450-550), you’ll get a full bushel basket each week.
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Amber Ranzau lives on the edge of Uptown in Minneapolis and is a gal about town. She frequents the local restaurant scene, loves to support new and local businesses, follows the latest and greatest fashion and design trends, and she does all of this while working as an interior designer, spending time with her man, The Specialist, and taking care of her two goldfish Felix and Petunia and their tankmate Huey the Snail. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.