Don’t let April’s snows fool you…spring IS here! And, now’s the time to grab your share of the season’s harvest by subscribing to a CSA — Community Supported Agriculture. Typically a subscription service where you pay up front for a share of a farm’s weekly harvest during the growing season (typically June – October in Pennsylvania), today’s CSAs come in a variety of sizes and frequency, including some with extreme flexibility to suit every lifestyle.
This is our fifth year as a CSA subscriber. We have gone the traditional route, opting to get a box each week from Dillner Family Farm. Each Thursday afternoon from June through October we drive to our local pick-up site and get our box of treasure. Early in the season, the box is overflowing with green…lettuce, broccoli, spring onions, young herb plants, spring greens, kale, collards, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, etc…with a punch of color from strawberries, radishes, and rhubarb. As the season progresses, the colors become more varied and the thrill of what we might find in our weekly box is heightened. Like many others, our farm also offers ala carte items that can be ordered and delivered with our regular box, including cheeses, Amish breads and baked goods, jams, jellies, preserves & pickles, fresh flowers, chicken, and eggs.
Cherry Valley Organics is a farm that offers a share of their farm through a CSA with ultimate flexibility. After signing up with the farm, you are free to order what you want each week, opting to take weeks off if you’re traveling or simply don’t need anything that week. Love fresh flowers? They offer a fresh flower subscription…talk about a great gift idea (I’m thinking Mother’s Day)!!
Isidore Foods is a local company begun in 2007 that has made it possible to share in many farms’ bounty with their variety of CSA programs. They work with multiple farms to offer not only vegetables and fruit, but also dairy, meats, poultry, bakery and even pantry items to their customers. Weekly, bi-weekly and single-purchase boxes are offered, along with ala carte purchases of most items. Their unique offerings, service, and farm relationships has made them wildly successful, expanding into Ohio and West Virginia in addition to Pennsylvania and growing from 150 customers its first year to 1650 now.
Another CSA program that allows you to benefit from multiple farms is Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance. A cooperative of more than 30 farms in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Penn’s Corner offers a vegan option in addition to its regular CSA. So popular, their Spring CSA is already sold out, but if you act fast there may still be time to grab a summer share!
No matter your choice, there is no doubt you will eat well, eat more healthful, discover new favorites and find great satisfaction in becoming a part of a farm’s family when you share in their harvest through a CSA.