Lower Haight-Based CSA Delivers Produce to Your Door

This is one in a series of profiles we're featuring of Lower Haight residents doing interesting stuff. If you'd like to be featured, or know someone who should be, let us know. tips [at] haighteration {{ dot }} com.

You may have heard of some Bay Area CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture programs) like Farm Fresh to You, Terra Firma Farm, or Eating with the Seasons — organizations that'll deliver fresh fruit and vegetables from nearby farms right to your door.

But you probably haven't heard of Greenhearts Family Farm — a small but growing CSA based right here in the Lower Haight.



Greenhearts is the brainchild of Paul Hamilton and Aurora Wilson, a couple that began farming together about five years ago. They learned organic farming techniques and traditions as apprentices abroad, then started putting their knowledge to work here at home. Now, they're the sole owners of Greenhearts, which both operates the CSA and sells produce at local farmers' markets.

Though the business of Greenhearts transpires on Oak Street between Scott and Pierce, the real work is done down in Half Moon Bay. That's where the couple rents a field and greenhouse to grow their produce. Right now, Paul and Aurora do all the work — weeding, watering, picking and packing up the boxes of produce that they deliver to about 100 customers around the Bay Area.



The average week for Paul and Aurora goes something like this: On Monday and Tuesday, they farm. On Wednesday, they harvest. On Thursday, they deliver their boxes. On Friday, they do another harvest, which they deliver to farmers' markets on Saturday. And on Sunday, understandably, they rest.

It's a lot of work for two people; they're hoping to expand their workforce as the CSA grows. But for now, Paul says they're just focused on bringing the highest-quality food — and service — to their customers.

"Our customers are pretty happy to be eating at the farmer's table, eating what we eat. It's like getting the best of the farmer's market delivered right to your door, from a farmer you know and who knows you."



So what might a typical Greenhearts box include this time of year? Almost anything, Paul says.


"Our CSA in August is exceptional because summer fruit is bountiful. Fresh blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. Peaches, nectarines, pluots and nectaplums. Good melons are just coming on. Potatoes are plentiful, along with all our favorite vegetables, everything from kohlrabi, heirloom carrots, broccoli and cauliflower to many varieties of kale, mizuna and lettuce. That's really just a sampling."

Uh... yum.

Each weekly box costs $33, though you don't have to get them every week. There's no contract - you can pay upon delivery, or receive an invoice and pay later. And if you pay for a whole season's worth of boxes in advance, you can get them at a reduced price. (Eggs and meat are extra.)

Oh that's right — eggs and meat!



For the omnivores among us, Greenhearts can include eggs from Your Family Farm, grass-fed beef, pork and lamb from nearby Douglas Ranch, and free-range chicken meat from Hain Ranch Organics. All three practice organic, pasture-based farming practices, and all of their proteins travel to San Francisco on one truck, which keeps the carbon footprint to a minimum.



So, wondering if a CSA is right for you? Here's what Paul says:

"We always encourage folks to know where their food comes from, to forge friendships with farmers and to participate in the growing community of small farm providers and purveyors. I never fault anyone for their food choices. If you are privileged enough to make a choice, though, choose value over price. Cheap food is just that."

Greenhearts may not be as big as some other CSAs, but that gives them an advantage. They're able to keep their production and delivery costs low (and their carbon footprint small), and can pay better attention to their customers' needs.

"We are tiny in comparison, for starters, so we look after our community personally. Plus, our diversity is superior to any CSA, hands down... We get a lot of defectors from larger CSA's that have have become a little too corporate, too big, too far away, or just un-exceptional in every way. We don't want to be biggest, we want to be best."

To find out more about Greenhearts, or to learn how to sign up, visit their website or their Facebook page. You can also read a handful of very positive reviews of Greenhearts on Yelp.

Thanks to Paul and Aurora for sharing their story with Haighteration. Again, if you know other Lower Haighters who are doing interesting stuff, and you'd like to see them profiled on Haighteration, let us know! tips [at] haighteration {{ dot }} com.