Who else has friends on Instagram that constantly post the most delicious looking foodstuff? Constant pictures flood my feed of friends coming back from the farmers’ market with a gorgeous bounty or harvesting their own perfect heirloom tomatoes. They’re usually the same friends, who, when I meet them for brunch, leave me in envy because they just order well (I’m looking at you, Geilda, Aimee, Sunni, Kelly).
Since “safer at home” orders have been in place, meaning the excommunication of brunch bunches out, I’ve noticed folks attempting to be more conscious of where they buy their food. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is, at its simplest, people shopping from local farms. This takes more than one form, including shopping at farmers’ markets or at the farms themselves.
Some places and organizations even offer a CSA box, which is a subscription box of produce (or other deliverables like eggs and meat) that consumers can sign up for at the beginning of a harvest season to be picked up or delivered. Wilmington-area farms like Humble Roots offer CSA boxes, but the sign-up period has passed. However, Humble Roots and other area farms work in conjunction with several local businesses and organizations to ensure Wilmingtonians (and beyond!) have access to farm-fresh produce. So, instead of a single-farm CSA, it’s a multi-farm CSA. #winning
Here are a few options consumers can sign up to receive right now.
Feast Down East
Feast Down East is a Burgaw-based organization, committed to creating sustainable and accessible food in southeastern North Carolina. Their work ranges from events, like a local food conference held every February, to hosting an emerging farm program, to offering educational workshops and a listserv for farmers.
When COVID-19 reared its ugly infectious head, Feast Down East swooped in to assist farms they knew were accustomed to selling to restaurants. They picked up a CSA, ensuring all produce is grown within a 50-mile radius of Burgaw, at farms like Cottle Organics, Red Beard Farms, Black River Organic Farm, Jackson Farm, Britt Farm, Sarge’s Farm, Windmill Farm, Shelton Herb Farm, and The Wilmington Mushroom Company.
The box is a half bushel for $35, and its contents change weekly. Boxes must be ordered from the website by Wednesday for Friday pick up, which is available either at the Food Hub (115 S. Dickerson St., Burgaw, NC) or Seagate Baptist Church in Wilmington (6115 Oleander Drive) between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The Veggie Wagon
The Veggie Wagon in Carolina Beach just looks like it would be the best place to buy tomatoes. What was once a produce stand, run by wife-and-husband duo April and Max Sussman, is now a local produce empire (plus, they sell lots of yummy homemade goods). On top of running two brick and mortars in Carolina Beach and on Masonboro Road, they also have grab-and-go locations throughout Wilmington and the Triangle. And they offer a weekly CSA.
They have four different boxes available for pick up or delivery. Pick up is always on Friday at the Carolina Beach location (608 S. Lake Blvd.), and delivery includes downtown Wilmington, midtown and Wrightsville Beach, all the way south to Fort Fisher. The boxes come in quite a few various sizes: large organic ($59.95), small organic ($32.95) and mini organic ($23.95); or large non-organic ($49.95), small non-organic ($26.95) and mini non-organic ($19.95).
Other Veggie Wagon products, including salsas, sauces and baked goods, can be added to the CSAs. Orders must be made on their website, where their cancellation policies are also listed.
Turner Family Farms
The Turner Family operates both Turner Farm in Teachey, NC, and the farm at River Bluffs in Castle Hayne. The fifth-generation farmers are pros when it comes to growing greens, microgreens, “fruit vegetables,” like tomatoes and herbs.
Turner Family Farms do year-round produce boxes. Folks can choose from four payment plans: yearly for $1723.80, semi-annual ($912.60), quarterly ($481.65) or monthly ($156). That roughly works out to $39 per box every week, and delivery is included in the price.
Plus, clients gain access to the farm starting every fall, instructional videos from Farmer Steve and local chefs, promotional items, and coupons from chefs and artisans.
Orders can be placed with Farmer Steve at 910-463-0305.