For those of us who love straight-from-the garden fruits and vegetables but wouldn't know a zucchini vine from a cucumber plant, consider signing up for a farm share. The Philadelphia area has a number of agricultural programs that make it easy for city dwellers without the space or the green thumb to link up with farm-fresh produce. Just stop by the farm, or its designated drop-off spot, every week or two to load up the car with your share of the healthy goodies. Get started by trying out one of these top Philadelphia community-supported agricultural (CSA) programs.
Blooming Glen Farm
98 Moyer Road
Perkasie, PA 18944
In addition to pick-you-own produce options, Blooming Glen offers a 24-week farm share program. No pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers are used here, but you do have to commit to four hours of tilling the earth or other garden duty. A $780 full share will get you, for example, seven pounds of tomatoes, five beets, two eggplants, 10 ears of corn, two onions, one bunch of carrots, squash, peppers, a cantaloupe and a watermelon. It's a lovely drive out to the farm and the produce is fabulous.
2501 E. Cumberland St.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Founded in 1997 by Tom Sereduk and Mary Seton Corboy, Greensgrow Farms has grown from a small hydroponic lettuce farm to a thriving mobile business. The winter share costs $425 for the season, or $42.50 a pickup. Shares from last year included five types of fresh veggies, two types of fresh fruit, apple cider, frozen produce and a choice of a dozen eggs, quart of milk, yogurt, butter, seitan or tofu. You can also get add-on meat and veggie shares, and if the price is a bit high for your liking, inquire about a work share. Forty volunteer hours could save you 200 bucks.
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative
48 Eagle Drive
Leola, PA 17540
Get the best from more than 60 Mennonite and Amish farmers in Lancaster County. Everything is certified organic, and grass-fed animals provide the meat shares. The deadline for the 28-week May through November program is April 15, 2015, and you have the option of a full share at $775, half share at $435 or a work share at $575. You can go all fruit, or opt for the regular share that usually includes about nine veggies and a bag of fruit. If you don't want to drive out to the farm, more than 30 pickup locations, including Metropolitan Bakery and the Reading Terminal Market, are available.
Red Earth Farm
5785 Golden Key Road
Kempton, PA 19529
Red Earth Farm is another option that offers a barnyard full of unique add-on shares. For $625 a full share, members get to select 10 favorite items per week for 22 weeks starting the first week in June. Cheese connoisseurs can opt for the artisan cheese share for an extra $125. Pick two cheeses biweekly, including Colby, ricotta, mozzarella, Susquehanna and seven varieties of cheddar. If cheese isn't your thing, then an egg, flower, fruit or yogurt/kefir share might interest you. More than 25 locations in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs make for easy pick up.
West Philly Foods
4548 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19139
Last year's CSA season at West Philly Foods boasted 110 members, three urban farm contributors and six pickup locations. More than 18,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were distributed. This year is expected to be better than ever. With an array of add-ons, including beer, bread, bacon, baked goods, pesto, pies and flowers, there's something for everyone. The season runs from May through October, and you can't beat the price of $610 for a full share of 10 pounds of produce weekly.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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