Community Supported Agriculture

by lydia on June 6, 2013

I’ve been a big fan of Community Supported Agriculture since my oldest son was very little. I belonged to a CSA for many years, then took a break for many years due to finances. Now, I’m on the waiting list for my local CSA since we did not get in on time this year. We will however, benefit from our local Farmer’s Market and my small urban garden at home.

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
What is Community Supported Agriculture? It is a locally based way to get fresh produce by investing in a share at a farm in your area. You get to go weekly during the growing season in your particular area and collect the harvest as well as pick some of the harvest yourself. Most CSA’s are organic and use integrative pest management. It’s a great way to get fresh food locally grown, raised with the utmost care and to know your farmer. Not to mention, invest in your community and make connections with like minded, earth conscience people who love real whole food!

To find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest!

Today, I’d like to share some photos of the CSA near me. Even if you are too late to join for this year’s season, I highly recommend getting on the waiting list, as well as contacting your local farmer to get a tour. The tour itself will inspire you and give you the drive and vision you need to make it a priority for your family. This is an especially good option for those who cannot grow their own gardens at home (like me)! They also sell some of their extra produce at my local Farmer’s Market each week through the growing season.

Hillside Farm in Elwyn Pa has a cool program where they take this truck (see below) into the city and teach kids about growing fresh vegetables. They load the truck up with wooden pallet carts that can slide out and the kids can get hands on in the dirt and learn about how to grow from seeds. Isn’t that so cool? They also have another truck that has a kitchen and they demonstrate how to make healthy recipes with farm fresh foods. This is my son’s 2nd grade class who spent the whole year with a cool program called ‘Seed To Snack’. Each month several of the farm staff would come in to the classroom to teach them about some farm fresh produce and demonstrate how to use it in a recipe. The kids loved it. They also were able to start a small garden on the school property that the kids were able to help tend to. They planted berry bushes a couple years ago that will be ready this year. Isn’t that so exciting? My son’s second grade class took a field trip there today – and I just had to share this experience with you all!

Farm Truck

Wendy, the farm nutritionist, did a live healthy snack demo for the kids. She taught them briefly about sunflower seeds and their nutritional value. Then she made sunflower balls – instead of peanut butter balls. The kids all loved them of course!

Farm Nutritionist

Shots of the greenhouse – they use a pellet stove in the colder months to keep it warm so the seedlings stay warm! I thought that was SUPER cool!

Greenhouse at Hillside

Greenhouse shot

My son Clark in the photo below planting a sunflower! The kids then sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to all the seeds they planted in the community children’s garden, right next to the pizza garden!

Clark planting a sunflower

The perennial herb garden, is not only practical for clipping herbs for use, but it’s beautiful too! Several varieties of mint, sage, thyme, oregano. Then lemon balm, anise hyssop, rosemary, wild strawberries and more!

Perennial Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Joining a CSA is a great way to contribute to a little piece of heaven on earth right near you! I highly recommend you look into finding one near you. Get involved and benefit not only from the wonderful food you will obtain but the unique community of people right in your own area!

This is a stone in front of the special ‘pizza’ garden. This garden has all the components you could gather from to make a pizza. And here is the really cool thing – this farm built their own clay oven from clay rich dirt out in the fields. They then fashioned a clay oven and use it regularly to host Pizza Parties for the farm members. The farmer said it only takes 2 minutes to make a pizza because the temps are so high (600 something degrees F).

Herbs

Zucchini

Clay Oven

I’d love to hear from my readers – do you belong to your local CSA? If so, share where you are from and what you love about your CSA in the comments!

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorraine Peterson June 7, 2013 at 6:59 am

Nice write-up on CSA’s. I encourage everyone I know to join one. We have been members of Hillside since they opened & have never been disappointed. Hope to see you there next year, as long as you don’t take my spot.:)

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lydia June 7, 2013 at 7:49 am

You may see me there this summer Lorraine teaching fermentation classes! I’m kicking myself that I did not get in on time this year! It would have been tight financially at first but so worth it. I’ll just have to come visit a lot to get my fix!!!

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