CSAs and direct-to-consumer outlets make it easier to eat local in Orlando.
Updated May 5, 2020
Environmentalists and nutritionists agree that the fewer miles our food travels, the better it is for our bodies and our planet. But for those lacking the time, energy, know-how or interest in backyard gardening, a community supported agriculture (CSA) membership can be an ideal way to gain all the benefits of local food—minus the dirt and sweat.
The traditional concept of a CSA is simple: You purchase shares of a farm’s yield before harvest begins. In return, you receive a box of mixed seasonal produce, typically weekly, throughout the farming season. Pickup may be at the farm or at a central drop spot.
In times of scarcity in traditional grocery stores, CSAs, produce markets and wholesalers offer
Wild Hare Kitchen & Garden Emporium • Longwood
Working with several local farms, Wild Hare creates its Farm Market Bags loaded with delicious, seasonal produce. No need to lock into a season with this CSA, as owner Cheryl Bryant allows buyers to start and pause when needed and requires no upfront membership fee. Pickup is in Longwood, with delivery available in the Longwood, Lake Mary and Sanford areas. Weekly market bags are $360. Visit their Facebook page for purchasing info.
Frog Song Organics
Co-founders John Bitter and Amy Van Scoik started Frog Song Organics in Alachua County in 2011, and have been certified organic since 2012. They grow more than 75 varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs year round. CSA members can choose their own items or enjoy the Farmer’s Choice based on what’s in season; pickup locations are available in Winter Park, Winter Garden and Orlando.
When: Summer (6 weeks starting June 8); Fall (10 weeks starting Oct. 12); Winter (10 weeks starting Jan. 4); Spring (12 weeks starting March 15)
Cost: From $210-420 for individual shares and $330-660 for family shares depending on length of season.
More information: (352) 468-3816 or [email protected]
Big Daddy’s Farm • Oviedo
Rex and Denise Clonts started 2020 with just a handful of CSA members, and as of May have swelled to more than 200. They grow certified organic produce on their 150-acre farm, where members pick up their boxes each week.
When: Three 10-week growing seasons beginning in Nov., Jan. and April.
Cost: Cost per season is $190 (individual), $360 (couple) or $520 (family)
More information: (407) 451-4455 or [email protected]
Green Flamingo Organics • New Smyrna Beach
Farmer Liz Dannemiller founded Green Flamingo in 2009, and in the midst of the current situation with coronavirus has shifted from a CSA model to offering $30 weekly boxes of produce for advance purchase to pick up at three locations in Volusia County.
More Options for Fresh Produce
Heart of Christmas Farms
Located about 20 miles east of downtown Orlando, this organic farm offers pre-loaded cards for $250 or $500, paid in advance. The card lets buyers spend $25 or $50 each week at the farm’s market for a 12-week cycle, totaling a 17 percent discount over the season. (407) 512–2004; hocfarms.com
Farm Fresh Direct 2 U
Steve Moreau, a graduate of the four-year farm apprentice program and a doctor of Oriental medicine, started his program in 2004 to create a direct pipeline between Orlando-area families and Florida farms. Buyers order mixed boxes and à la carte items online (including raw dairy, honey and meat), and Moreau visits the farms. In an effort to maintain social distancing, free delivery is currently available in certain areas. farmfreshdirect2u.com
Florida Fields to Forks
Started in 2011 by Jan Pence and her son Brock Hall, Florida Fields to Forks is now one of the largest buyers clubs in Florida with 1,200 members. “We do all of our items in shares, but we partner with seven other farms so our members don’t get the same things all the time,” Pence says. Members pay a onetime fee of $35 and then choose from a variety of mixed share boxes, including produce-only and meat-only boxes. All items are grown and raised to organic standards. “We’re located in Malabar, but we have a pickup location in the Lake Nona area and another location in the Winter Park area.” There is a $50 minimum order and a $10 delivery fee. floridafieldstoforks.net