Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 CSA and farm stand options

This is the time of year where farms are gearing up for their CSAs, gathering subscriptions so they can plan for shares. I've been doing a Real Life CSA series since I started this blog, documenting each week what we get in our shares, since I still think there is a misconception that all you get in a CSA is kale. You can find those posts via the keyword CSA in the blog sidebar. So far it has covered one year of a full share from Kretschmann Family Organic Farm and a winter share from Penns Corner Farm Alliance, as well as a meat CSA from Clarion River Organics

I'm a big supporter of CSAs and think there is usually an option for all family sizes or price ranges. Some CSAs like Kretschmanns, for example, also have programs for low-income families. I wrote about the benefits of a CSA and why we are yearly subscribers here - it's worth a read if you're on the fence as to whether or not to try one. 

For this year's full share, we're going with Penns Corner Farm Alliance. We've been happy with the winter share and want to take on the challenge of a new CSA with different products. 

Each year, Edible Allegheny magazine puts out a CSA guide, sponsored by PASA - the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This is really helpful if you are lost about what's available in your area. I also think it's helpful for areas where the farms might not have as much of an online presence. Check it out here - it covers a ton of counties of western Pennsylvania, all the way up to Erie.

Also another cool way to get farm produce and other products without having to subscribe for a share is a farm stand or purchasing program. We participate in two, through Penns Corner Farm Stand and Green Circle Delivers, a buying club.

We actually just did our first order from Penns Corner Farm Stand this past week and took home some favorites plus one new item. Honey puffed corn from Clarion River is one of my favorite snacks. I honestly can hoover a bag in about 5 minutes. (So we bought three.) We also like to keep fresh pasta in our freezer for a quick dinner when plans go awry, so we picked up some ravioli from Fontana. The spelt maple crunch from Stutzman Farm sucked me when the description said it makes a good yogurt or ice cream topping. It's kind of like a sweeter grape nuts cereal. I will probably experiment with some in my next batch of granola.

Check out the farm stand or buying club options if you want the option to purchase specific things from these groups without buying a CSA share, or ideally, in ADDITION to your share! It's also a good way to buy eggs, honey or other products that might not be in your weekly CSA share. 

Are you signed up for a CSA this year? What are you most looking forward to?

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