CSAs: Subscribe to Health & Freshness
Local fresh food sources and supporting organizations
Buying direct from farmers has been called a welcome shot of reality, so insulated are we by the "handling" layers between us and most of the food products we depend on.
A rewarding approach to buying fresh and local is to support our Pittsburgh-area farmers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). When you join a CSA you are subscribing for weekly deliveries of fresh produce and other farm goodies such as cheese, honey and eggs, and sometimes meat and poultry. You can choose your CSA according to location, services, specialties and growing standards.
You thus become part of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
Members or shareholders of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land.
Of course you share in the risks too--if the foxes get to the chickens, your egg delivery may not be so plentiful; if it's not a good year for apples, next year probably will be.
Here are some CSAs that come highly recommended. Some are organic. Several of the growers also sell at Farmers@Firehouse Saturday mornings in the Strip. Check websites for detail on CSA growing styles and philosophies. Start dates can be as early as March, so it's not too early to check them out.