Summer is better with fresh fruits and veggies, and Tucson has a surprising plethora of options.
If you like experimenting in the kitchen or you cook for your household regularly, then a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) might be a more economical and healthier option than the supermarket.
CSA “share-members” prepay farms and other local producers directly for a set length of time and get weekly boxes of seasonal produce, meat or eggs that can be personalized for smaller or bigger households. Typically, CSA costs average $20 per week, which is much less than a grocery store bill. Plus, since most grocery store produce can travel 1,500 miles to get to your plate, you’ll be doing the Earth a favor.
As a CSA participant you’ll be a part of your local food system and get to know the people who grow your food. You’ll test out healthy and seasonal recipes with new ingredients, support sustainable farming, and be kind to your environment. What’s better than that?
Check out our guide below to find the one that’s best for you.
Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage
What: The first true CSA program established in Arizona. This is an all volunteer community sharing its resources and harvest with the public. Avalon Gardens also offers internships, stewardships, community events and permaculture classes at their farm in Tumacacori, Arizona. Share-members receive a variety of 8-12 fresh, organically grown vegetables in their personalized bag every week. Anyone can join!
Where: Thursdays at Sea of Glass, 330 E 7th St off 4th Ave.
River Road Gardens
What: A small, intensive vegetable farm utilizing biodynamic farming methods, River Road Gardens is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Tucson. They began operations in the Fall of 2008 and are now currently transitioning to a “more socially dynamic and economically sustainable CSA model.” They allow up to 63 members a year and set their farm share payments according to financial ability.
Where: Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings at Tucson Waldorf School’s River Bend Campus, 3605 East River Road.
What: Sunizona’s is a small, certified organic family farm that uses veganic growing practices (animal-product free), a biomass boiler system, and locally sourced fuel and fertilizers. This all adds up to a making a “remarkably sustainable operation.” Sunizona’s website includes a “web store” that allows members of the untraditional CSA to customize what is included each week. The details are a little more intricate than that, so check them out here.
Where: Numerous pickup locations exist for Sunizona’s FarmBox. For more information, see their pickup locations listings page here: http://csa.farmigo.com/join/sunizonafamilyfarms/farmbox
What: Offers weekly boxes of local, organically-grown produce from Crooked Sky Farms, as well as goat cheese, Barrio Bread, grass-fed meats and pasture-raised eggs. Tucson CSA also sends out a weekly newsletter to keep members up to date on what to expect in their next haul. A basic produce share, with about 8 types of produce per week, costs $120 for the minimum 6 weeks. Check out their guide to CSA produce prep and storage, plus recipe ideas. Subscribe online at any time.
Where: Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 4-pm, in the courtyard of The Historic Y (E University Blvd and 5th Ave).
Walking J Farm
What: A Certified Naturally Grown farm in Amado, Arizona, Walking J has planned their garden around seasonal vegetables following desert gardening techniques and organic principles. Dedicated to sustainability, they improve their soils with compost. Anyone is welcome to visit the farm or volunteer to learn more about sustainable farming. Share-members receive 5-9 different vegetables of whatever is harvested from their garden for $100 a month, with a farm-raised meat option for extra $50-60.
Where: Any of the farmers markets they attend in Tucson.