The trees are starting to bloom, the daffodils are cropping up, and the rain is falling; thank goodness for springtime. While we wait for the spring veggies to get bigger, this is a great time of year to consider signing up for a CSA share. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and signing up for a CSA means that you basically pay for your summer produce up front (which helps farmers shoulder myriad early season expenses) and in exchange you receive a weekly share of veggies (and sometimes fruits or eggs) all season long. Here are just a few of the local CSA’s to consider joining.
Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op – LFFC, which started a few years ago as a small collective of certified organic growers, has exploded into a relatively large network that distributes organic veggies all over Philly and even into New York and DC. Because LFFC is a co-op, your CSA share doesn’t come from a single farm, they’re able to offer their members a great variety and an array of pick-up locations all over town. Plus, in the event that you have trouble making it to your local farmer’s market, they have the option of adding things like locally-raised meat, bread, fruit, tofu, and even dairy items as supplemental shares.
Root Mass Farm – Landon Jefferies and Lindsey Shapiro of Root Mass set up a handsome display of vegetables each week during the growing season at the Frankford Transportation Center and at the Headhouse Market, and instead of offering the traditional CSA model, they let customers pick and choose. They call their CSA “Garden Stake” and through it customers buy in at the beginning of the season, and then pay down a credit put-it-on-my-tab-style by shopping from whatever they have on offer at market that week. Plus, they offer their members a bonus; a $100 investment gets you $110 to spend, $300 gets you $345, and $500 gets you $600 worth of your choice of veggies.
Landisdale Farm – Bountiful greens, prodigal peppers, and the most fantastic array of sweet potatoes; Landisdale’s CSA members know no shortage. For West Philly folks, their CSA is a great option as pick-up happens at the Clark Park Market, so you’ll easily be able to supplement your share with peaches, whoopie pies, and pastured poultry on an as-needed basis.
Blooming Glen Farm – You know that gorgeous wall of vegetables to your left as you walk first arrive at the Headhouse market? That’s Blooming Glen, and those handsome veggies are the work of Tom Murtha, Tricia Borneman and their team. Blooming Glen also runs an amazing CSA, but you’ll have to make the weekly drive to their farm in Perkasie to participate. Their CSA requires that members share in the work of harvesting, which, for some, is a lovely excuse to get out of the city once a week and get their hands a little dirty.
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