Locally-grown produce will be available before you know it – and if you want to connect directly with one of western Pennsylvania’s farms, there’s no better option than participating in a CSA program.
CSA, or ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ programs allow customers to financially support farms at the beginning of each growing season. In exchange, they’ll receive a weekly bounty of fresh and seasonal produce from the farm (and, occasionally a few other local products) as the season continues.
These farm programs typically begin distributing throughout the spring and summer, and many of their sign-up deadlines are coming up.
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.
- CSAs are available in full-share (20 weeks) and half-share.
- Pickup at the farm on Wednesdays or Northside Farmer’s Market on Fridays.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $350 to $675.
- They also offer a garden share, market share, fire cider, maple syrup and more.
Blue Goose Farm in Nicktown is hosting their 14th CSA season, offering 18 weeks of a variety of seasonal produce, including beans, beets, broccoli, leeks, kale, herbs and more.
- The CSA program runs from June through October.
- Pickup locations include Indiana, St. Benedict, Ebensburg, Loretto, Nicktown, Richland, Windber, Altoona, Davidsville, Hollidaysburg, Johnstown and Westmont
- CSA membership is $350, and applications can be made online.
Established in 1949, Brenckle’s Organic Farm in Zelienople provides Beaver Valley with fresh produce and gorgeous flowers. 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 starting June 9, and the 2021 CSA program runs for 24 weeks.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and include the ‘Farmers Friend’ (7-8 items), the ‘Farmer’s Family’ (10-12 items), and each option can also be a half-share, and picked up every other week. CSA prices range from $104 to $768.
Cherry Valley Organics offers a unique Farm Share CSA program where each box is customized with the fruits and vegetables that customers select as their favorites. Members can choose from products such as vegetables, herbs, flowers, potted plants, herbal teas, and herbal bath & body products.
- The CSA program runs for 24 weeks, from May 24 to November 6.
- There are multiple pickup locations available, including Southpointe, Castle Shannon, Upper St. Clair, the South Hills, Beaver Falls and more.
- Membership options can be viewed online. Subscribers pay $32 a week.
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.
- The 2021 Community Supported Agriculture Program begins in June and will end in October (20 weeks).
- There are more than a dozen pickup locations are available, including Mt. Lebanon, Etna, Wexford and Fox Chapel.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $345 to $618.
- Egg shares are also available.
Edible Earth Farms in Tionesta was founded in 2010 by April Parker, and is now run by Parker and her husband, Johnny. In 2017, the Parkers purchased a larger farm in Mercer County, and Edible Earth Farm is now located in Sandy Lake, and is situated on almost 90 acres. CSA members can enjoy fresh produce grown on the farm every week, including radishes, zucchini, potatoes, and corn.
- The CSA runs weekly from June through October (20 weeks).
- Over 35 pickup locations are available, including Mt. Lebanon, Mt. Washington, Wexford, Millvale and Green Tree.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and shares range from $433 to $650 for full-year memberships.
Fayette County’s Footprints Farm offers pastured, non-GMO eggs, poultry, pork, and all-grass raised beef, along with fresh produce, at various pickup spots around the city. The farm offers weekly, bi-weekly and monthly drop-offs. They also offer prepared foods, and farm products.
- Purchase products as-you-go.
- Drop-off locations include Uniontown, Strip District, East Liberty, Bakery Living, Regent Square, Murrysville, and Morgantown.
- Online orders can be made here.
In Butler County, Freedom Farms is now taking orders for their 2021 CSA program. They offer produce packages, meat packages and dairy packages.
- Freedom Farms’ 24-week CSA program runs from May 20 to October 28.
- Packages are available in full shares or half shares, in large or small orders.
- Pickup locations include on their Valencia farm, in Aspinwall, Bloomfield, Glenshaw and Tarentum.
- Prices for each program can be found online.
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 from June through November (23 weeks).
- Pickup is available at the farm in Valencia or at R.A.W. Training in Gibsonia, or in Allison Park.
- Membership options can be viewed online, and range from $27.28 a week to $31.36 a week.
In Washington, PA, the Marketplace at Emerald Valley is currently offering a virtual farm stand, where customers can purchase fresh produce and products for pickup or delivery every week. They’re also launching a summer CSA program, with each box including fresh greens, vegetables, fruits, and one or two additional products, like cheese or meat.
- Summer CSAs start the first week of June and run through September
- Options are available for half shares (9 weeks) or full shares (18 weeks)
- Subscription prices are $315 for half shares, and $595 for full shares.
- Pickup is available at the shop in Washington, or select delivery locations.
- Membership options can be viewed online.
NWPA Growers is a cooperative of farms operating in Northwest PA. The farms produce produce vegetables, fruits, eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, maple, honey, and more, and have joined forces to bring farm shares to customers across western Pennsylvania. All farmers in the program agree to use no chemical pesticides or herbicides, no chemical fertilizers, and no GMOs.
- Spring CSAs are open, and farm shares start at $10 for mini shares, and $30 for large shares.
- Eggs, beef, chicken and coffee orders are also available.
- Pickup and delivery is available.
Now in its 42nd year, Sarver Hill Farm & CSA in Greensburg offers a variety of organic, farm-grown produce, including sweet potatoes, onions, herbs, apples, and more.
- The CSA runs from June 3 through October 14 (20 week shares), and from May 20 through October 28 (24 week shares).
- Pickup locations are at the farm, in Latrobe or Murrysville.
- Membership applications must be printed out and mailed in, and the membership deadline is April 30.
- See more information online.
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 during peak growing season from July through September. Each box contains various produce items, and purchasing one UglyCSA saves approximately 180 lbs. of good food, and 2,450 gallons of water.
- 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 $270 for the season
- SNAP/EBT payments can also be made.
First-generation family farm Who Cooks for You Farm is now offering traditional CSA plans, in three share sizes to fit a variety of different needs. Each week’s share is curated to include cooking greens, salad greens, herbs, fruits and vegetables. All produce is certified organic. They also offer a Market CSA program, which members can use to pick their own produce at various farmers markets.
- The weekly CSA runs from the first week of June through the first week of November (23 weeks).
- Over 50 pickup locations are available throughout the week, including in Shadyside, Lawrenceville, Mt. Lebanon, Beaver, Squirrel Hill and Dormont.
- Membership options can be viewed and range from $460 a season for a small share (5 items) to $805 a season for a large share (10 items).
- Fall/early winter CSAs are also available.
Did we miss your favorite CSA near Pittsburgh? Let us know in the comments!