Every supermarket claims to be ‘fresh from the farm’, but few actually live up to this claim. There’s just no way for us to know if what we’re getting is truly fresh, organic, and sourced locally. We can’t just call up the farmer.
Oh wait, you can. It’s a little something called CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. It’s become a popular way to buy local, seasonal food directly from our own Pittsburgh farmers. They hook it up by offering us a share of their harvests, usually seasonal produce, eggs, yogurt, honey, jams, etc. all packed into a box that you subscribe for. Then they drop off your box at a designated time at your community’s designated pick-up location. It’s like Amazon Prime for fresh produce.
Because it’s straight from the farmer, you can guarantee that it is incredibly fresh and from a source you trust. And great news! We’ve tracked down some of the most popular CSA programs from local farmers all over the region. All you have to do now is sign-up, pick up your box, and enjoy!
Don’t let the name fool you, they’ve got much more than blackberries. And what they’ve got, you’re gonna want a subscription to. This 85-acre, certifiedorganic farm in Natrona Heights offers a 20-week CSA packed with the best fruits and veggies plucked from the Fawn Township soil. Show up at the farm once per week to pick up your choice of in-season produce package – Basic Share, Plus Share, or pick up every other week with a Half Share. And if you’re looking for a complete farm experience, tack on a share of their free-range chicken and turkey! If you can’t make it to the farm, Blackberry Meadows Farm sets up shop at Phipps Farmers Market, Boyd Community Center in Fox Chapel, and Mt. Lebanon Uptown Farmers Market on select days.
If you’re an on-the-go person whose crazy schedule changes all the time, but you still want to eat right, eat healthy, and eat local, Brenckle’s is the way to go. They’re certifiedorganic and close to home in Zelienople. You’ve got to try their 23-week CSA, providing fresh, organic produce. They’ve got it down to a science, offering multiple levels depending on if you’re feeding yourself, your significant other, or a minivan full of children. For diet sensitivities, you can grab a basket of reduced sugar/starch shares too. You can pick it up there, or if you can’t make it, delivery locations include Cranberry, Sewickley, Lawrenceville, North Hills, Shadyside, and more. Sign up now!
Heard the phrase “dance for your dinner”? Churchview Farm isn’t asking for you to bust a move. Instead, they’re offering you a full CSA share if you toil in their soil during growing season. Their workshare program is simple: you spend 5-6 hours in the sunshine and fresh air once per week; they give you a bundle of fresh-picked, healthy food. You can literally see the fruits of your labor! It’s a great opportunity to learn more about farming, get back to our roots as humans, and exchange physical activity for great eats. What more could you want?
Clarion River Organics will travel far and wide, over mountain and valley, to get you fruits and vegetable at their peak freshness. This Clarion-based farm cooperative includes 15 horse powered family farms working together to offer a wide selection of produce that’s – you guessed it – organic to Pittsburgh, Erie, and throughout Western PA. They offer a ton of pickup locations and plenty of options when it comes to CSA shares and each are packed with the most vibrant, colorful vegetables you’ve ever seen. It’s a 25-week program, but they also offer a Winter CSA for your fix of farm goodies, even after the first snowfall.
When the Dillner’s create your CSA box, it looks like artwork. It’s perhaps the most colorful mix of greens, purples, reds, and yellows you’ve ever feasted your eyes on. That’s because the Dillner Family Farm, located in Gibsonia, is a sustainable, third generation familyowned farm that grows 110 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. You can count on seeing a great number of them in your large or small share. 22 times in the summer you’ll receive a dazzling box of vegetables, fruit, cheese, eggs (upon request), and honey and can be grabbed at more that 18 locations in Allegheny and Butler counties. Get on it!
Edible Earth Farm means business when they talk about being farm-direct. Their CSA program takes the weekly share to another level. That’s because this certified organic farm offers a Choice Program, allowing members the option to add fresh items to their CSA share. Kale, sure. Cheese, coffee – you got it. They’ve got everything from chicken and eggs to honey and maple syrup. For 20 weeks during the summer, they’ll pack their truck with freshness and set out from Tionesta, PA to hit all over the Greater Pittsburgh region. Sign up early, because the first sales fund the farm’s season!
Say you’re choosy with your fruits and veggies. The Harvest Valley Farm CSA is perfect for you then. This fourth generation family farm in Valencia offers sort of a mix-and-match CSA box creation in addition to their large and small share deliveries. The delivery CSA lasts 23 weeks during the summertime and has drop-off points all over the city – like East Liberty, Aspinwall, Regent Square, Squirrel Hill and more (there’s sure to be a spot near you). Sign up now!
The growers over at Kretschmann Farm set the standard for organic growing and CSA a long time ago. The true veterans of our region, they’ve been offering subscription service for their fruits and veggies since 1993. And to top that, this farm in Zelienople has grown allorganic goods on their 80-acre family farm for 40+ years. The 25-week CSA starts in June and delivers to many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Plus, you can “addon” extras like organically raised chickens, a variety of cheeses, or a medley of mushrooms. Trust the Kretschmann’s for certified-organic goodies, boxes teeming with freshness, and a few good recipes along the way.
Representing more than 30 farms, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance delivers CSAs throughout the year in eight to 32-week installments. Their combination of Harvest and Cabin Fever Shares keeps you set on fresh fruits and veggies from Easter to Thanksgiving. Imagine it: 30 farms harvesting each week just for you. And more farms mean more offerings, including honey, cheese and pasta, as well as vegan and glutenfree shares. They also offer more dropoff locations than most, single-farm, CSA programs (3 dozen around Pittsburgh!!).
From Armstrong County comes Who Cooks For You Farm. They offer shares in a traditional delivery CSA, a flexible Market CSA, and an Autumn CSA to carry you into the winter months. The certified naturally grown goods are delivered for traditional CSA for 22 weeks to pickup locations throughout Pittsburgh. You can expect to see all sorts of sustainable surprises – like maple syrup, coffee, pastured pork, even Sauerkraut! Sign up today!
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