With Spokane farmer’s markets in flux right now, farmer’s market start dates and how they will even work may be delayed or significantly changed from what we are used to. How can Spokane (and the surrounding area) get access to all of the great local produce we have here in Washington state?
The answer: community supported agriculture! Known to many as “vegetable delivery boxes” or “fruit and veggie boxes”, these truly farm-to-table options are popular throughout the country. In fact, several of the businesses below offered CSA subscriptions or access to veggie delivery before the virus – but now it’s becoming even more popular and easy!
If you’re interested in community supported agriculture or just want to get a tasty, local vegetable delivery box weekly, check out our full list below of all the options around Spokane.
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What is Community Supported Agriculture?
First, what is community supported agriculture? CSAs have been around for a while now, and they’re pretty simple. Basically, membership to a vegetable delivery box service (delivered weekly or twice a month, depending on the farm and your preferences) helps local farmers.
By purchasing a veggie and/or fruit delivery service, membership to a CSA helps pay for seeds, water, equipment and labor throughout the season for local farmers, when expenses are high and income is low. In turn, the farm provides seasonal produce throughout the harvesting season each week, typically beginning in June.
Check out this video to learn more about CSAs and how they help local farmers and the community:
Why Join a CSA?
Being a farmer nowadays isn’t cheap or easy. Community supported agriculture helps farmers plan for the year ahead, by knowing how many people are interested in purchasing a membership and veggies/fruit in the coming year.
Some CSAs charge a membership fee up front, and you receive the bounty throughout the following year. Other CSA services charge you weekly and you can cancel at any time.
In addition to supporting local farmers, you’re also benefiting from fresh, delicious produce delivered straight to your door (in many cases). With some CSAs, you can also get access to tasty local products, like bread, artisan cheese, jams and more.
No two CSAs are exactly the same, so let’s see what options best fit you and your family. Below, we’ll cover what kind of options you can find throughout Spokane.
- One of the most popular, easiest CSAs? LINC Foods
- Want more meat? Rocky Ridge Ranch
- Looking for a Spokane Valley CSA? Thompson Creek Farm
- Fruit fanatic? Tonnemaker Hill Farm
- Don’t want to commit to a CSA? Duncan Produce
- Want a hyper-local option? Urban Eden Farm
Spokane Community Supported Agriculture (Vegetable Box Delivery/Pick Up)
LINC Foods (Local Inland Northwest Cooperative)
LINC Foods is probably one of the most well-known community supported agriculture services in the Spokane area. LINC Foods is a farmer and worker owned “food hub” in Spokane, WA and provides farm-to-table options for individuals.
Each week, LINC members can take home a box full of fresh produce, dairy, meats – and even bread! The CSA is available June through November, and produce changes as the season progresses. Produce in the box is all grown and harvested at the farm, brought to the LINC Foods warehouse and delivered the next day.
LINC Foods offers several options depending on your family size and how many vegetables you want to receive. Called shares, here is how LINC breaks down their share boxes:
- Half share – $26.14 every other week for 6-8 items
- Base share – $26.14 weekly for 6-8 items
- Large share – $51.14 weekly for 6-8 items in double quantities
Benefits to signing up with LINC Foods:
- Locality – all of the 50+ member farms part of the LINC Cooperative are located within 250 miles of Spokane, and all farmers use environmentally sustainable and socially just growing practices (no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers)
- Ordering is easy – you can order online through the LINC Foods Marketplace for contact-free, farm-to-table grocery shopping
- Don’t want a box? You can choose exactly what you want from LINC’s marketplace
- Can order delivery at home, or pick up options around Spokane and Spokane Valley
- Also offers dairy products, including Cougar Gold, yogurt, milk and more
- At the Marketplace, order cookies and handpies from Bean & Pie as well as bread from award-winning The Grain Shed
- You can sign up at any point in the season, and you can place a hold on your account if you’re not able to pick up your box
- Receive a newsletter with recipes using ingredients from your box – perfect for those of us who receive a vegetable and think ‘what do I do with this…’
Full Circle farm is located near North Bend, Washington and offers seasonal, organic produce as well as hand-crafted farm products with contact-free delivery.
Full Circle has been around since 1996 and started with just five acres, growing and sourcing produce free of herbicides and pesticides. Full Circle also partners with other local, organic farms and specialty artisans to support their community and provide more variety to members.
With Full Circle CSA, you’ll choose the produce box, size and delivery frequency that works for you, and you can change your service whenever you need to.
Benefits to signing up with Full Circle:
- Everything in your box is customizable and you can have a ‘Never Send’ list of foods you know you won’t eat!
- Home delivery an option in Spokane
- Ability to add products like eggs, dairy, and jam
- Can even get a ‘snack pack’ box to make healthy eating easier
- Will receive news from your farmer, recipes, produce tips and information on upcoming farm events
While Full Circle is not completely local, it’s a good option if you want your food delivered to your home and don’t mind that it’s not 100% local (but is based in the Pacific Northwest).
Ace of Spades
Aces of Spades is definitely a local farm! Located only four miles west of downtown Spokane, Ace of Spades farm is based on deep organic principles and offers gourmet and specialty produce.
When farmer’s markets are in season, you can find Ace of Spades at the Thursday Market at Perry from 3-7 pm.
Ace of Spades has already released its share produce information, which spans from June to October (or beyond – “end of season”):
- Share 1 (June 13): spinach, radishes, kale, arugula, peas, lettuce mix, micro greens
- Share 2 (June 20): lettuce, turnips, beets, radish, spinach, arugula, kale, mustards and micro greens and herbs
- Share 3 (June 27): lettuce, radishes, turnips, beets, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, snow/snap peas and herbs
- Shares 4 to 17 (July 4 to October 3): lettuce and subject to availability, carrots, turnips, beets, kale, swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, snow/snap peas, beans, broccoli, garlic, onions, basil, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, gourds, prunes, apples, maybe melons and herbs
- Share 18-20 (October 10 to end of season): lettuce, carrots, turnips, radish, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, arugula, potatoes, peppers, winter squash and pumpkins
Benefits to signing up with Ace of Spades:
- Supports local agricultural and farmers, and can pick up locally
- You know exactly what you’re getting in each share box
- Market card gives you the flexibility of choice – purchase a Market Card and then buy what you want at their market booths all season long
Urban Eden Farm
Urban Eden Farm is another hyper-local community supported agriculture option here in Spokane. Located in the Vinegar Flats neighborhood of Spokane (5 minutes from the Davenport Hotel), Urban Eden prides itself on being “seriously local.”
Owner Jim Schrock is part of a Washington state farming family stretching back to 1883, so you could say he knows his stuff! Membership for Urban Eden Farm is paid annually, not weekly, and the June through September membership costs $400.
Here’s what you can typically expect to get throughout the season (although remember – it’s a farm and this info can change!):
- Spring Box: salad mix, chard, mizuna, radishes, snap peas, cillantro, nettles, watercress, shallot greens, rhubarb, pea tendrils
- Summer Box: plums, turnips, bok choi, kale, bunching onions, summer squash, basil, green beans
- Fall Box: potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, beets cabbage, garlic, tomatoes, storage onions, salad mix, winter squash
Benefits to signing up with Urban Eden Farm:
- Support truly local – located within the city of Spokane, Urban Eden can’t get any closer!
- Follow them for the latest updates on Facebook here – Urban Eden shares information on how to cook your produce, recipes, information on available farm stand produce and more
- Offers their own farm stand for pick up before the season starts
- You can split shares with a friend or family member, or Urban Eden can help set you up with a buddy to offset costs and amount of food you receive!
Share.Farm is a unique concept, taking the idea of grocery shopping online and making it work for community supported agriculture. When you visit Share.Farm’s online marketplace, you’ll see what I mean – it’s very much like shopping online for groceries, except for the most part, it’s all local agriculture.
According to Share.Farm, this slick presentation and aggregation of farms is intentional. Share.Farm says it “strengthens the rural economies by proving the market analysis, branding, advertising, and other business-oriented tasks that take valuable time and energy away from the work necessary for quality food production and distribution… by creating the platform and marketing forces, Share.Farm also supports emerging or early stage producers by reducing risky investments and other barriers to entry.”
Basically, Share.Farm is trying to make it easier for farmers to get their products in front of consumers without having to go through a middle-person. Share.Farm partners with cooperatives and farmers in local markets or local distribution centers. This is an important distinction, as you’ll notice when you shop and see avocados for instance – not typically grown in Washington state, right?
Some of the products at Share.Farm are locally grown, as in in the Northwest, but some come from California and some products don’t say specifically where they come from. This is a good option if you want to do mostly one-stop shopping, but just be aware it isn’t 100% Spokane or Washington-state local.
Benefits to signing up with Share.Farm:
- Offers delivery to your house
- Delivers to Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Liberty Lake, Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene
- Offers flour and other artisan goods, like kombucha and even pasta
- Can truly order almost anything through Share.Farm, turning this into your one-and-only grocery order for the most part
Duncan Produce typically sells its produce to restaurants, but when the virus hit, Duncan Produce lost 70% of its business – so they’ve pivoted to direct-to-customer sales with pick up options around Spokane.
Duncan Produce sells bulk produce, including potatoes, hash browns, carrots, stir fry mixes and more. The business is doing so well, they’re planning to keep selling to the general public even after stay at home orders are over, according to KREM.
Their weekly produce pick up locations seem to change weekly, but are generally in the Spokane area. Make sure to follow them on Facebook for the latest info.
Benefits to visiting Duncan Produce:
- Variety of options per week, although you can generally count on mixes (like fajita), potatoes, and even meat
- Offers plenty of notice of pick up date, time, and location for you to prepare ahead
- Call for availability – 509-922-8193
Tonnemaker Hill Farm
Tonnemaker Hill Farm is in its 10th year of offering fruit CSA options – it’s here for the long haul! They offer several options for CSA produce, including a veggie CSA and flower CSA.
The summer CSA has two sizes of weekly fruit boxes – blue and gray. The blue box is $460 for 17 weeks and feeds 3-4 people, whereas the grey box is $360 for 17 weeks and feeds 1-2 people.
The veggie CSA has an average of 6 items per week, mainly focusing on popular vegetables (lettuce, basil, cucumbers and more). You can see the full list of options, including the flower CSA, over at Tonnemaker Hill Farm’s website here.
Benefits to signing up with Tonnemaker Hill Farm:
- CSA season goes from the first week of July and runs through October
- Offers the most fruit options of any of the other CSAs!
- You can pick up in counties outside of Spokane, including Grant, Adams, and even in Idaho
Thompson Creek Farm
Thompson Creek Farm is a certified organic farm in Newman Lake, WA – near Spokane! The farm also practice many biodynamic principles and natural farming methods.
As the farm is located in Newman Lake, it does mean pick up and delivery is a little different. You can pick up your CSA at the farm, otherwise pick ups will occur at the Newman Lake Grange on Starr Road on Mondays. You can also pick up your shares at the Spokane Valley Farmers Market on Fridays. Learn more about the CSA and pick up options here.
The Thompson Creek Farm CSA runs from mid-late June through September, for 14-16 weeks depending on weather. You have two share options:
- Half share – This share will contain $18-$21 worth of produce weekly. Great for 1 or 2 people who eat a good amount of veggies, or small families.
- Full share – This share will contain $24-$27 worth of produce weekly. Great for bigger families, anyone who loves cooking, trying new things, or just really enjoys fresh organic veggies!
Wondering what could come in your CSA box? Check out an example of July:
July: garlic, lettuce, beets, strawberries, broccoli, fresh onions, fresh shallots, basil, kale, chard, zucchini, summer squash, pea & sunflower shoots, carrots, salad mix, garlic scapes and cucumbers.
Benefits to signing up with Thompson Creek Farm CSA:
- Availability for Spokane Valley and more people outside of Spokane
- Can also order a flower CSA for an additional cost
- Storage Box option for $35 – this comes at the end of the season and contains veggies like squash, potatoes, onions, garlic and other ‘storage’ crops.
Rocky Ridge Ranch
Wish you could get more meat in your CSA box? Then you definitely want to look into Rocky Ridge Ranch! Rocky Ridge is a small, family operated ranch located just 30 miles west of Spokane. They have been ranching for over 30 years and only use sustainable, organic methods while providing humane treatment and a clean, healthy environment for the animals they raise and produce they grow.
According to their website, Rocky Ridge raises: “Angus Beef, Berkshire Pork, Cheviot Sheep, and several types of Poultry all of which are Grass Fed, Free Range and Pastured. In addition to pasture, our animals are only fed natural grains, hay, and mineral supplements. We avoid the use of chemicals, animal by-products, or artificial growth stimulants such as hormones, steroids, antibiotics, etc.”
Their CSA reflects the variety of options, both in vegetable and meat options. Their CSA lasts for 12 weeks and offers full and half share options (for meat and for produce). Here’s what you can expect for a spring season box:
- Spring – Fresh Micro Green Mix, Salad Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Salad Onions, Garlic Greens, Radish Greens, Chard, Kale, Daikon Greens, Sage and Eggs. Storage Potatoes, Winter Squash, Carrots, Beets, Dry Onions
Benefits to signing up for Rocky Ridge Ranch’s CSA:
- Local meat options raised humanely – know where your food is coming from!
- Discounts for veterans
- Option to become a member (for free) and get first picks on all products
- Easy pick up at the South Hill location
- Members are offered a special Holiday Box of Produce the last week of the CSA year at no cost for use at Thanksgiving
Tolstoy Farms is a unique farm with an interesting back story – Tolstoy Farm itself is “an intentional community located in a wooded canyon outside of Davenport in Eastern Washington.” It is made up of two autonomous communities, the Sunrise Hill Free School and the Mill Canyon Benevolent Society.
Mill Canyon Benevolent Society is an off-the-grid community where home power comes from solar. Residents own their own homes, but the land is cared for in common. The certified organic, 4 acre garden, which grows the vegetables and berries sold by Tolstoy Farms, is on this land.
In addition, Tolstoy Farms is a worker collective, which means profits are divided equally per hour worked. It’s a truly unique model!
Tolstoy Farm community supported agriculture offers a full ($650 for the season) and half veggie share ($400 for the season), as well as a winter share option ($250 for 50 pounds each of potatoes, carrots, onions and winter squash).
The CSA begins in early June and lasts until late September/early October. Your June box could include the following:
- June: Spinach, lettuce, herbs, peas, cut flowers, green onions, strawberries, salad mix, mustard, radish, collards, kale, garlic tops, turnips
Benefits to signing up with Tolstoy Farms CSA:
- Supporting a unique farming model that ensures benefits for all who work the farm
- Winter share option is an incredible value!
- Pick up is easy – Wednesday & Saturday pickups are at the Spokane Farmers’ Market downtown
- Offers delivery for residents of Davenport
Using Up Your Veggies and Fruit
As someone who has used CSAs before and gotten a ton of fruits and veggies for a family of two, I understand that ‘using up the produce’ can be easier said than done sometimes!
It’s actually for this reason that I ended up getting a Blendtec Classic – to help blend up the greens in particular and add to smoothies and vegetable sauces. I’ve owned my Blendtec for over 5 years – it’s a powerhouse! The image below is very similar to what my older model looks like.
Signing up with a meal delivery service, like Freshly or Dinnerly, can also help you stretch your meals and your CSA box. In general, the meal delivery services I’ve used typically make two meals for me – but not my husband, which means we go through meals faster than I’d like.
But not if you combine your CSA veggies with your meal delivery service! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, but adding veggies to the meal you’re already prepping (especially with a delicious meal planning service like Fresh) definitely stretches your meals and makes them more nutritious.
By far, Washington state has the most impressive community supported agriculture opportunities than any place I’ve ever lived. It makes choosing which CSA to try difficult – but also really fun, because you know you’re getting exactly what you want.
Would you try a CSA, or have you? Let us know over at our Facebook group Getting to Know Spokane!
Full list of the above mentioned community supported agriculture options in Spokane, WA: