If you’ve spent any time at the local farmers’ markets, then you already know how many amazing local farms are growing fresh produce all over Colorado. What you may not realize, however, is that there is a fantastic farm sharing program, also known as Community Supported Agriculture, that allows you to actually buy in to a portion of the farm itself. The way most of these programs work is simple. You purchase a share, usually 20 to 26 weeks, for one price. Then you get a variety of the fruits and veggies grown on that farm every week for the season. You don’t have to drive out to the farms either, as all of these great shares have pick-up locations in Denver, making it just as easy as a trip to the grocery store. If you’d like to learn more about how to get in on one of these farm sharing programs, here are a few of the best farm share options in Colorado.
12155 NCR 15
Wellington, CO 80549
Grant Farms offers a variety of community supported agriculture programs. It may be one of the biggest farm sharing sites in the state. The vegetable shares include three different sizes for a single person through a family of four, with all of the best seasonal produce you could want. There are also shares for fruit, eggs, cheese, canned goods, mushrooms, herbs, tofu, coffee and yogurt. Or, if you want to go all in, grab the Kitchen Sink share for a little bit of everything, including a select cut of four to six pounds of meat per week. Grant Farms sits on more than 2,000 acres in northern Colorado, and it’s home to so much freshly grown food that you may not need to go to a supermarket again.
10029 Isabelle Road
Lafayette, CO 80026
Isabelle Farm has offered the community supported agriculture farm share program for six seasons, and 2015 brings the seventh. The standard farm share here runs 20 weeks, in which you receive everything from kale to chard, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, watermelon, corn, chiles, cantaloupe and much more. What comes in your box depends on the time of year and what is in season. You’ll also get a weekly farm share newsletter with recipes, information about the field, trivia, bios and more. Your farm share from Isabelle Farm will have anywhere from four to 20 pounds of fresh produce, and you’ll know exactly where every piece was grown.
13912 CR 19
Platteville, CO 80651
Since 1949, Miller Farms has grown fresh, seasonal produce for Colorado and the region. The farm share program at Miller Farms is a great way to share in the harvest of this long-lasting, family-owned farm. Miller Farms opens its door to all farm shares, allowing you to visit any time you’d like to see how the fruits and vegetables grow. Or, if you can’t make it to the farm, there are lots of different area locations to pick up your produce. You can purchase a full or a half-season membership, which also includes a free admission to the annual Harvest Festival, in which you get a ride around the farm to pick your own fresh produce right from the field. If you’d like to really be a part of this farm family, then this is a great farm share to join.
Monroe Organic Farms
25525 WCR 48
Kersey, CO 80604
Monroe Organic Farms is home to one of the oldest farm share programs in Colorado and has provided the community shared agriculture program for more than 21 years and 80 years as an organic farm. This farm has 15 different pickup locations and a variety of either winter or summer produce, depending on the season. One unique aspect in this farm share is that Monroe Organic Farms offers a discounted “working membership” which allows you to spend some time working on the farm itself as part of your farm share cost. From loading the bags full of produce for the share to working in the field, there are lots of different jobs to be done, and you can help lower the cost of joining this farm share by rolling up your sleeves and diving in to help.
Related: Top Food Shares in the Denver Area
Ela Family Farm
30753 L Road
Hotchkiss, CO 81419
This 99-acre farm is dedicated to growing peaches, apples, cherries, pears and the best Colorado-grown fruit around. This share includes enough fruit to feed a family of two to four people and you’ll even receive fresh apple cider in the fall. If the farm stand sells out of the best fruit, you don’t have to worry, because share members get first dibs on every harvest. As this is only a fruit share, a lot of what you get will depend on the season and how much frost Colorado gets in any particular spring. However, with several Denver-area pickup sites, if you want the freshest fruit possible, then this is a great solution for you and your whole family.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.