My husband and I just joined our first ever online CSA (community supported agriculture). Last December while picking up our last share of Licking Creek Bend Farm‘s CSA, I noticed an advertisement for Star Hollow Farm’s Online Farmer’s Market & CSA. Growers Randy and Chris, a husband and wife team in Three Springs, Pennsylvania, started this innovative business plan in 2003. During the winter, Star Hollow Farm partners with Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-Op, several local orchards and dairies, and other family farms to provide a variety of high quality organic and conventional, locally grown and raised, products for Washington DC residents. CSA members pay $300 up front in January, which opens up a “debit” account on the online system. Every other week, beginning at 7am on Wednesday morning through 7am on Thursday, CSA members can shop at Star Hollow Farm’s Online Store. Members have the option of choosing the traditional share (a box of preassigned produce) or purchasing things a la carte or both. After all orders are submitted, Star Hollow Farm delivers the produce on Saturday mornings between 10am and 1pm to the Adams Morgan Farmers’ Market at 18th St and Columbia Rd in front of SunTrust. This innovative CSA model provides financial support up front for the farmer and flexibility to the customer.

The online store is user-friendly, provides images and descriptions for each type of produce, and indicates if it is organic or not. This week was my first. Here’s a screen shot of my order and a list of the produce I purchased:

  • 1 lb celeriac ($4/lb) – about 1 medium to large celeriac
  • 2 lbs carrots ($2.20/lb) – about 5-7 medium carrots
  • 2 lbs parsnips ($2.50/lb) – about 4-6 medium parsnips
  • 2 lbs yellow onions ($1.65/lb) – about 5 small onions
  • 1 (5 lb) bag, rainbow potatoes ($5/bag) – about 10 small to medium sized potatoes of different varieties
  • 1 head, green bibb lettuce ($1.50/head)
  • 1 head, lollo biondo lettuce ($1.50/head)
  • 3 small heads, hardneck garlic ($0.60/head)
  • 1/2 lb shallots ($4/lb) – about 4 medium shallots

All this cost $30.50 – far less than what I would have paid at Whole Foods, the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market, or any other store in the Washington DC area for the quality and quantity.