Fresh Direct

5 CSA Shares Worth Investing in This Summer

From ribs to radishes, community-supported agriculture programs offer a true taste of the Western Slope.

By Barbara Platts May 24, 2017 Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Broiler chickens at Spradley Farms in Missouri Heights.

Sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share, and you’re investing in both farmers and the quality of your diet, getting a regular supply of straight-from-the-field veggies, fruit, meat, and other items. This summer, we’re looking forward to sampling the goods from these five local purveyors.

Erin’s Acres

Growing true organic vegetables is anything but easy, particularly when it comes to keeping hungry bugs off the crops. Luckily, valley resident Erin Cuseo has some young assistants to help. During the summer, “bugs go to die under my kids’ boots,” she says. Partnering with Basalt Sunday Market manager and Colorado Soil Systems owner Jimmy Dula, Cuseo is part of a pilot program for small farmers, growing vegetables on the Lazy Glen Open Space near the Old Snowmass turnoff by Highway 82. They’ll be growing a mix of veggies, from beets and carrots to kohlrabi and mustard greens. Added value products, like dried herbs, pumpkin butter, and pesto will be available toward season’s end. New this year, Erin's Acres will partner with other local farms to offer additional food. These partners include Basalt Mountain Hemp CBD, Aspen Tree Eggs, The Other Side Ranch, Sustainable Settings, and more. You can order everything from oyster mushrooms and meat to raw milk and kombucha.

Sign up: Starting at $500, 16 weeks of produce for pickup at the Basalt Sunday Market; delivery to a central pickup spot available for a one-time $25 cost;

Green Pastures Country Farm

Gina Long and her husband, Kevin, who own this farm in Silt, offer year-round shares of raw milk, which is unpasteurized and has no added preservatives or hormones. Along with the Jersey dairy cows, Green Pastures is also home to organic chickens, heritage turkeys, and Angus beef cows. Though open less than a year, the farm has become a community center, with guests coming by daily to help feed livestock or to learn how to make butter and yogurt with their raw milk shares.

Sign up: $25, initial herd-share buy-in, then $13.50 per gallon of milk and $7.50 per half-gallon; pickup only, though the farm will help coordinate group pickups.

Merrill, Pam, and Randy Johnson.

Merrill’s Family Farm

Located on Missouri Heights’ Cedar Ridge Ranch, Merrill Johnson’s farm is home to many animals, including some 30 Large Black heritage pigs, available through a year-round pork share. The pigs spend summers foraging in the pasture and, in colder months, have a diet of organic alfalfa, grains from the Roaring Fork Beer Company, and non-GMO corn feed. A share gives you access to things like bacon, ham, pork chops, ribs, and brats made with Roaring Fork IPA, as well as parts like neck bones and hocks for making stew. New this year: an on-farm shop that sells cuts of pork, fresh eggs, and Zebu beef.

Sign up: $140–$150 monthly for a three-month to year-long share of 15 pounds per month and a dozen eggs for pickup at the farm; $100 monthly for a three-month share of 10 pounds per month and eggs; $50–$65 monthly for a year-long share of 5 pounds per month and eggs; home delivery available for $15–$30 each month.

Spradley Farms (CSA on hiatus for Summer 2018 but individual items still available for purchase)

After working at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ Rock Bottom Ranch, Allison and Mike Spayd bought a 15-acre farm in Missouri Heights 10 years ago. Their CSA emphasizes variety and helps support other regional growers by adding seasonal fruits from North Fork Valley farms when available. For an extra fee, the Spayds will also throw in eggs from their free-range meat birds, as well as chicken meat and unfiltered raw honey.

Sign up: $510, 17 weeks of produce for pickup at the farm; delivery available at extra charge.

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Pink Berkley Tie Die tomatoes, one of Wild Mountain Seeds' exotic varieties. 

Wild Mountain Seeds (CSA on hiatus for Summer 2018)

Casey Piscura and Kirsten Keenan started growing vegetables on Sunfire Ranch near Carbondale four summers ago. They immediately became interested in selectively breeding plants that thrive in the Rocky Mountain climate. What started out as a pastime soon turned into an obsession. Today, Wild Mountain offers seeds for 57 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, with more than 350 different varieties. They also offer CSA shares, which include the heirloom tomatoes the farm has become known for. (“People call us the gurus of tomatoes,” says Piscura.) You’ll be asked to take a tour of the farm when signing up for the CSA to get a good grasp of the growing process.

Sign up: $300, 15 weeks of organic produce for pickup at the farm or at the Basalt Sunday Market.


Other Local and Regional CSA Shares 


Roaring Fork Valley 

Roaring Gardens, Carbondale
Specialties: Vegetables
16411 Old Highway 82
Sustainable Settings, Carbondale
Specialties: Vegetables, raw milk
6107 Highway 133
Two Roots Farm, Carbondale
Specialties: Vegetables
1020 County Road 102

North Fork Valley

Abundant Life Organic Farms, Hotchkiss
Specialties: Fruits and vegetables
31733 Highway 92
Borden Farms, Delta
Specialties: Vegetables
51245 Carnation Road
Eagle Butte Ranch, Paonia
Specialities: Beef
10653 Eagle Butte Road
Ela Family Farms, Hotckkiss
Specialties: Fruit
30753 L Road
Happy Belly CSA, Paonia
Specialties: Vegetables
1978 Harding Road
Zephyros Farm and Garden, Paonia
Specialties: Flowers
11466 3725 Road

I-70 Corridor

C & R Fruit Farm, Palisade
Specialties: Peaches, cherries
3620 F Road
Clark Family Orchards, Palisade
Specialties: Fruits
3929 Highway 6
High Country Orchards, Palisade
Specialties: Peaches
3548 East 1/2 Road
Kokopelli Farm & Produce, Palisade
Specialties: Fruits and vegetables
Exit 46 & I-70
Peach Valley CSA, Silt
Specialties: Vegetables, honey, eggs
3465 Peach Valley Road
Morton’s Orchards, Palisade
Specialties: Fruits
3651 East 1/2 Road
Rancho Durazno, Palisade
Specialties: Fruits
3939 1/2 G 2/10 Road
Z’s Orchard, Palisade
Specialties: Fruits, vegetables, flowers
315 33 3/4 Road


This piece has been updated April 11, 2018, to reflect current prices and CSA availability.

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