Fresh Produce Comes to Campus

CSA boxes from Ward’s Berry Farm at GSU Thursdays

07.12.2012 by Erin Thibeau (CAS’13)

CSA members pick up their Ward’s Berry Farm boxes at the farmers market on the GSU Plaza. Photo by Cydney Scott

CSA members pick up their Ward’s Berry Farm boxes at the farmers market on the GSU Plaza. Photo by Cydney Scott

College students aren’t known for their healthy diets, but at BU it’s easy to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer, thanks to the return of fresh farmers choice boxes from Ward’s Berry Farm, in Sharon, Mass. Every Thursday, those who have purchased CSA (community supported agriculture) shares from Ward’s can stop by the George Sherman Union Plaza, from noon to 3 p.m., to pick up their fresh seasonal produce. Contents vary from week to week based on what’s ready for picking.

Each box weighs between 10 and 20 pounds and can contain items from fresh greens and strawberries to corn, potatoes, and carrots.

Joseph Nangle (Questrom’12) initiated the project in fall 2010. Living and cooking meals in an on-campus apartment, he wanted to join a local CSA group, but found that most require year-round participation. And, he was unable to find any CSAs with drop-off points near BU. So he connected with Steve Catanese from Ward’s Berry Farm, and the two worked together to bring CSA to BU. “I figured there are tons of people like me in apartments without the time or drive to walk a mile with their food,” Nangle told BU Today in September 2010. “Eating local produce and supporting a farmer isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do in our culture.” A marketing and entrepreneurship major, he had no problem finding enough students to start a CSA group.

Ward’s Berry Farm manages 175 acres of vegetables and small fruit, including 18 acres of certified organic crops. The remaining 160 acres are farmed using integrated pest management, an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management.

Joining a CSA is a great option for anyone looking for farm-fresh produce without a hefty price tag. Catanese estimates that the CSA box members receive each week costs about a third less than the same amount of produce purchased at a grocery store.

Shoppers have three purchase options. A full season share (whose deadline has already passed) costs $390 for 20 weeks; a late season share (September 6 to October 25) runs $160. You can also order on a week by week basis for $22 a box. Weekly orders must be placed online no later than Tuesday of each week. Order here.

There’s no better time than summer to enjoy fresh produce, and BU’s CSA is the perfect way to do it.

Ward’s Berry Farm is accepting members for its BU CSA. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to join. Learn more here. Box pickup is at the GSU Plaza every Thursday from noon to 3 p.m., through October 25. To buy week by week, order your box by the Tuesday before.

Erin Thibeau can be reached at ethibeau@bu.edu.

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