A quick guide to local CSAs and online grocery stores

Unhappy with selections at big-name grocery chains? Here’s a list of local online stores and CSAs!

Vegetables on a table

CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are local farm programs1 that rely on member contributions (or “shares”) to support farm production. Think of CSAs as investments in local farms: members pay an upfront sum of money, then gradually debit from that total as they collect local produce and other items throughout the season.

Here are four leading CSA’s in the area:

Amy’s Garden

USDA Certified Organic farm in Charles City, VA. The farm, founded by wife Amy Hicks and husband George Ferguson, also sells produce at the Byrd House Market.

  • When: May – September
  • Cost: $550 share for weekly produce ($725 with fresh-cut, organic flowers).

Agriberry Farm

Run by the Geyer family in Hanover County, the farm offers seven pick-up locations across the Richmond Region.

  • When: late April – September
  • Cost: $600 for weekly shares of six “units” of fruit (typically, a unit comprises a 6-9 cup serving).

Farm to Family

Co-founded by Mark Lilly and wife Suzi Miles-Lilly, Farm to Family bills itself as a “bridge from farm to city.”

  • When: Spring/Summer CSA season starts April 9th
  • Cost: Varies depending upon what you sign up for (meat, produce, or milk). A complete package is $2363 (weekly), or $1194 (bi-weekly), with local pick up sites. What’s nice is that several add-on options are available too.

Origins Farms

Located in Hanover, VA, this six-acre farm (formerly Victory Farms2) is owned and operated by husband and wife Alistar Harris and Rebecca Ponder.

  • When: May – October, weekly pick-ups on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
  • Cost: $600 (full share) or $300 (half share) debited throughout the season. Discounts available once seasonal shares are exceeded.

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But if you’re too busy (or lazy!) to travel to area farms or pick-up spots, there a several online grocers that bring locally sourced food and products right to your neighborhood, and even to your door:

Avery’s Branch Farms

A first-generation farm in Amelia, VA offering grass-fed poultry and beef, along with eggs, raw milk, and other products. Orders are placed online, and picked up at one of several locations.

  • When: Year round
  • Cost: Depends on order

Dominion Harvest

While living in China, founder Howard Brown (a VCU graduate) bought his produce from local farmers on the street outside his apartment. Based on that experience, Brown decided to create Dominion Harvest to foster sustainable farming and food distribution methods upon his return to RVA.

  • When: May – December
  • Cost: $39 – $69 per box (depending on size) delivered to your home weekly or bi-weekly. Available items include fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, bread, meats, pasta, coffee, and pantry items.

Fall Line Farms

Online farm-to-family Co-op program founded in 2008 that provides items from over 75 local farms and businesses.

  • When: Year round. Works on a weekly cycle. Spring/summer season runs March – August.
  • Cost: $75 yearly membership. Weekly costs depend on what’s ordered. Pick-ups are available at various locations.

Relay Foods

Online grocery store founded by Zach Buckner featuring items from local farms, restaurants, and stores. Relay Foods has been profiled in Forbes, The Washington Post, and others.

  • When: Year round
  • Cost: Depends on the order. Items are purchased online and then picked up at a selected location. Home deliveries are possible, albeit with an added expense. No membership fee required.

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Know of any we forgot? Leave them in the comments below!

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Footnotes

  1. These programs began in the 1960s in countries like Japan, Germany, and Switzerland. CSAs didn’t sprout in the US until about the 1980s.   
  2. More on Victory Farms here 

photo by ryfrncs

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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