When you get a farm share, you’re contributing to the success of a farm. You’re also getting a whole box of delicious — and healthy — goodies. No matter which farm you go with, you’re guaranteed to get an array of seasonal treats, including fruits and vegetables, but sometimes meat and eggs too.
Nichol’s Farm & Orchard
2602 W. Hawthorn Rd.
Marengo, IL 60152
When you visit Nichol’s at a number of markets around the city, you’ll be impressed by the wide array of fruits and vegetables. After all, its tomatoes alone clock in at more than 80 types. That variety is evident also in its CSA. Every box will be packed with a usable amount of fruits and veggies, all depending on the time of year, of course. Nichol’s offers both a summer and fall CSA, and if you join its farm share late in the season, the farm will be happy to prorate its rates for you. As for pickup locations, it offers 26 sites, making it easy for just about anyone to enjoy the fruits of the farm and orchard.
1547 Rockton Rd.
Caledonia, IL 61011
It’s all about the veggies at this north-central Illinois farm, which was established in 1991, making it one of the first CSA family farms in the Midwest. When you take part in Angelic’s popular farm share, you’ll get a 3/4 bushel box packed with fresh vegetables and herbs for either 20 or 12 weeks, you take your pick. Fruit is also available, but Angelic is upfront with the fact that it does not grow it on its property and it is often sourced from non-local sites. Even so, this CSA is worth it — and not just because it already has 1,600 shareholders. Angelic is certified organic and even grows biodynamically. It is also protected from drought and heat due to the irrigation systems, ensuring your box of goodies will be full every time you pick it up at one of 30 locations around the Chicago area.
Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm
1985 N. 3609th Rd.
Ottawa, IL 61350
For a meat farm share, look no further than Cedar Farm. Unlike vegetable- or fruit-based CSAs, a meat share can be available all year round. Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm also offers three- and six-month options. Each share will often include two to four cuts of meat (and this can range from Italian sausage and bacon to pork chops and beef stew meat), as well as eggs. Pick-up locations are available in the suburbs as well as neighborhoods around the city.
Related: Best Community Farms Near Chicago
8373 E. 3000 S Rd.
St. Anne, IL 60964
Using sustainable, natural farming techniques, Vicki Westerhoff and her family have created a wonderful farm that grows more than 250 varieties of vegetables. The farm share comes in two sizes, medium or large, and the box of veggies is complemented with seasonal fruits as well throughout the spring, summer and fall. Genesis also offers an egg farm share, as well as a chicken one as well. This farm appreciates that it couldn’t do what it does without farm shareholders who partake in its CSA, and to thank people for taking a stake in the farm, Genesis holds two parties every year. Pick-up locations are all around the city and suburbs.
Big Head Farm
3835 Pier Rd.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Take your pick of farm shares from this certified organic farm. It also offers a whole variety of vegetables, and shareholders can take their pick between full shares, half shares and even solo shares (which is essentially 1/4 bushel combo of herbs and veggies). The season also runs, typically, from the end of June through the end of October. In addition to the traditional cash payment for the share, Big Head is also willing to offer its share on a bartering basis as well.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s writing about a variety of topics for numerous websites and blogs, and working part-time at a culinary vacation company based in the Windy City. Some of her work can be found at Examiner.com.