It is officially National CSA Day, and what better way to celebrate than by signing up for one of the local shares offered by western Pennsylvania farms?
CSA, or ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ programs allow consumers to financially support farms at the beginning of each growing season, in exchange for fresh and seasonal produce as the year progresses.
At the beginning of the CSA program (which usually runs from the beginning of May to October), members pay for an entire season of produce upfront, and then receive (usually at a designated pick-up location) a box of fresh produce each week throughout the season.
These 11 local farms have opened their CSA programs for 2018, and are accepting applications now.
Get organic produce every week from another one of the oldest Pittsburgh CSA programs in the area. Members enjoy seasonal produce from cabbage and broccoli to herbs and rhubarb from the Rochester farm, and are welcome to rank their favored and disfavored veggies. Coffee, mushroom, cheese, and meat subscriptions are also available.
- The weekly CSA runs from May 28 through November 13 (25 weeks).
- Over 50 pickup locations are available, including in Shadyside, Lawrenceville, Beaver, Squirrel Hill and Dormont.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $450 a season to $750.
Blackberry Meadows Farm in Natrona specializes in rare and endangered seeds. The farmers are constantly adapting production systems and establishing better microbial habitat in order to give the plants everything they need to maximize nutrition. It is one of the oldest CSAs in the area, and the owners meet their customers every week, and invite them to come work on the farm or join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Workshare options are available. Produce is seasonal.
- The 20-week CSA runs from June through October.
- Pickup at the farm in Natrona Heights
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $350 to $850.
Just because produce isn’t beautiful doesn’t mean it’s not tasty! 412 Food Rescue takes ‘Ugly Produce’ (produce that is perfectly good to eat, but not aesthetically pleasing) and sends it out in their CSA shares for 12 weeks from July through September. Each box contains approximately 15 lbs. of various produce items, plus speciality items, from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance’s local farms.
- The CSA spans 12 weeks
- There are seven pick-up locations available, including East Liberty, South Hills, North Side and Lawrenceville
- Membership can be reserved online, and the price is $240 for the season
Penn’s Corner is a farmer-owned cooperative that was founded in 1999. Each CSA box contains fresh food from a collection of local farms, including seasonal vegetables and fruit. In addition to the produce CSA, there are also egg, cheese, and flower subscriptions available.
- There are weekly and bi-weekly options available from April through November
- Over 40 pickup locations are available, including in East Liberty, Fox Chapel, Highland Park, Bradford Woods and Sewickley.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $228 to $832.
Dillner Family Farm grows a variety of seasonal crops, like eggplant, tomatoes, pepper, and cabbage. Their program has an egg subscription add on, and an option for specials, where members can add extras to their order. Examples of these extras include Amish pies, breads, flower bouquets, cheeses, goat milk soap and lotions, Dillner Family Farm honey, maple syrup, fall decorations and more.
- There are weekly and bi-weekly options available from the first week in June through October.
- The 2018 program is 21 weeks long.
- Over 30 pickup locations are available, including Bridgeville, Gibsonia, Swissvale, Regent Square and Allison Park.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $300 to $510.
Brenckle’s Farm in Zelienople has been providing Beaver Valley with fresh produce and flowers since 1949. Brenckle’s grows a variety of organic produce, including onions, kale, radishes, beet greens, Swiss chard, arugula, Brussels sprouts, watermelon, and more.
- There are weekly and bi-weekly options available for 23 weeks, from June 11 through November 12.
- Brenckle’s Farm offers seven pickup locations in the North Hills, and a $25 discount for farm pickup.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $22 a week to $32 a week.
Edible Earth Farms in Tionesta was founded in 2010 by April Parker, and is now run by Parker and her husband, Johnny. The Parkers are dedicated to producing high-quality, organic food. CSA members can enjoy fresh produce every week, including radishes, zucchini, potatoes, and corn.
- The 2018 CSA runs for 20 weeks from June 11 through October.
- Over 30 pickup locations are available, including Mt. Lebanon, Mt. Washington, Wexford, Millvale and Green Tree.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $22/week to $32/week.
Harvest Valley Farm began as a poultry and vegetable farm in the 1950s, and transferred into only vegetable production in the 1980s. Members can enjoy produce such as corn, tomatoes, green beans, and Pennsylvania-exclusive Simply Sweet Onions their subscription. The farm also offers a cheese subscription, and meat add-ons.
- There are weekly and bi-weekly options available for 23 weeks from May 14 through November 20.
- Pickup is available at the farm in Valencia or at R.A.W. Training in Gibsonia, where pickup is structured like a farmer’s market.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $285 to $610.
Enjoy fresh and unique produce every week through Who Cooks for You’s CSA program. Basil, beets, escarole, cilantro, and chard are just some examples of fresh-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs that members can expect to pick up with each order. Who Cooks for You Farm also offers a flexible Farmers Market CSA program, and a Choice CSA program, which allows customers to choose produce.
- Weekly pickups are available from May 14 through November 19 (28 weeks).
- There are more than 10 pickup locations available, including Highland Park, Oakland and the Strip District. There’s a $25 discount for farm pickup.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $233 to $620 for the traditional CSA program.
Get a colorful produce box every week with Clarion River Organics. Enjoy fresh produce such as kale, watermelon, basil, eggplant, cabbage, potato, squash and more as the seasons change with this CSA program. Clarion River Organics also offers a Beef Share ($420), Pork Share ($330) and Chicken Share ($181.50).
- Weekly pickups are available during 25 weeks from the beginning of June through Thanksgiving.
- Multiple pickup locations are available, including Monroeville, Robinson, and downtown Pittsburgh.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $493 to $725.
Cherry Valley Organics offers a unique a la carte CSA program where members order from a private webstore on a weekly basis to select their products. Members can choose from products such as vegetables, herbs, flowers, potted plants, herbal teas, and herbal bath & body products.
- The CSA program runs for 35 weeks from May 6 through December 8, and members can choose 30 weeks for pickups.
- There are multiple pickup locations available, including in the South Hills, Sewickley, South Fayette and Cherry Valley.
- Membership options can be viewed online. Subscribers pay a one-time $100 membership fee, and establish a $400 account at the outset of the season.