Pat and I had never heard of a CSA before this year. Cousins of ours had joined one in the city and told us all about it. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”. It allows members of the community to become “share-holders” of a local farm and share in the benefits as well as the risks of the farm. You typically “buy in” at a certain amount at the beginning of a growing season. It seems expensive at first because you need to put all the money in up front, but when you think about the fact that you will be receiving fresh, local, and organic produce every week for about six months it is actually a great deal.
Since I have been increasingly disappointed with the quality of produce at the grocery store, I decided to look into CSA’s a little further. Through a quick google search, I found that there was a CSA right in our hometown! I did a little more research into it and then decided to join the Pennypack Farm & Education Center’s CSA in Horsham, PA. You can buy in at 6 shares a week or 10 shares a week. I decided to start out smaller with the 6 shares a week. Each “share” could be head of lettuce, a pint of strawberries, a bunch of carrots, etc.
In addition to the fact that it is close to home, I really liked the way that Pennypack Farm sets up their food pickups. Many CSA’s harvest their food and then put a box together of produce for their members and they get exactly what it in the box, with no other options. This leads to people getting food they don’t know what to do with or perhaps food they don’t like and it could go to waste. The way Pennypack Farm organizes their CSA in a farmers’ market style. They harvest food each week based on what is seasonally available at the time and set it out so that you can pick exactly what you want that week. Since I bought in at 6 shares – I can choose 6 things that I want to take home with me each week.
In addition to the food that is laid out, you also have the opportunity to do “You Picks,” which is basically where you can go out into the fields yourself and pick things right from the vines like strawberries!! An added plus? You can snip your own herbs for the week for free and take home a bunch of fresh cut flowers every week! That part really excited me! I love fresh flowers!!!
If you think joining a CSA is something you might be interested in, I would definitely recommend just doing a quick search online to find one near you! There seem to be a lot out there!! If you are interested in the Pennypack Farm’s CSA, I know they are sold out of shares for the year for their Horsham pickup site, but they do have a second pickup location in Fort Washington that you can still sign up for. I can’t wait for my first pickup this week and I also can’t wait to get cooking with all this fresh organic produce!