Summer and fall have traditionally snagged all the glamour in CSA boxes with achingly ripe tomatoes and fragrant, floral peaches, while winter is a lean time of collards and beets. But hounds report that several local outfits are pumping out swell boxes with plenty of variety.
* Shared Harvest is a tiny CSA that pulls together boxes from several minuscule local farms. Subscriptions come in two- and three-month packages for $80 a box; this year's winter shares are sold out but if you want to start thinking about next winter, TownSpa says it's good stuff: "The first pick up contained two big boxes of produce, one pound dried beans, one bag of apples, three heads lettuce, plus we added on extras in the form of five local cheeses. You could also add on eggs and maple syrup. The produce included turnips, leeks, potatoes, onions, garlic, acorn squash, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, baby bok choy, and more."
* First Light Farm has an exceedingly appealing feature of its winter CSA: Subscribers are encouraged to come to the farm and harvest their own vegetables (drop-off is provided for those who don't). There are five or six boxes for a $150 fee, and they're worth it, says pastrytroll: "a large box full [of] acorn and butternut squashes, carrots, turnips, two kinds of breathtaking Chinese veggies, dill, cilantro, lettuce, purple broccoli, leeks, bunching onions...."
* Farm Direct Co-op has gimlis1mum all atwitter: "Had our pickup today and whoa Nelly, it's a lot of food. Bread, cheddar cheese, apple cider, and dried beans; onions, scallions, shallots, fingerling potatoes, and sweet potatoes; beetroot, kohlrabi, rutabaga, radishes, carrots (2 types), winter squash (2 types); collards, kale, Napa cabbage, arugula, broccoli, and cilantro. Oh, and some herb salt."
No formal address; see website for details
No phone available
First Light Farm [North Shore]
94 Locust Street, Danvers
No phone available
Farm Direct Co-op [North Shore]
32 Smith Street, Marblehead