Ever think about joining a CSA but you weren't sure exactly how to go about it? That was the position I was in about a year ago when I attended a meeting at the library to find out more. It's actually so simple that I was kicking myself for not joining sooner. We decided to go with Landisdale Farm in Jonestown because they are all organic and I got to meet some of the farmers at the library. We liked that we could pick up our 'share' right at the farm and they offer alternative produce if there is anything in our box that we didn't like. They also have fresh eggs, grass-fed beef, organic butter and a host of other healthy unprocessed foods in the little store where you pick up your share.
All we did was sign-up at www.Landisdalefarm.com and chose a medium-share delivered every week for 21-weeks starting the first Saturday in June for $430. Since we signed up in January we got a $35 discount making the cost per week just under $19. I easily spend around $50/week on fresh produce so this is a huge savings. You can also chose to pick-up every other week for $235 and there is a special for $5 off that option. Then we just show up each Saturday between 10-2 and pick up our box. We will be on vacation one of the weeks so we had the option to send a proxy (my sister and mom both volunteered!) or Landisdale Farm will donate your unused produce to the Grantville Food Bank. It's such a great way to experience the farm and it forces you to eat clean unprocessed food that grows out of the ground.
Our first week included romaine lettuce, fennel, spring onions, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, strawberries, cilantro, and lettuce mix. The farm emailed us recipes for the fennel and kohlrabi since they are somewhat less common. Kohlrabi is a great source of Vitamin C with 62mg or 75% of your daily intake. I roasted it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes with the fennel bulb and a little coconut oil and it reminded me of homefries. Fennel improves your intestinal tract, lowers blood pressure, and is an effective diuretic. To me it tastes like a mix of celery and onion. We used the spring onions and cilantro to make fresh salsa. The lettuce was great for salads during the week and we ate the strawberries for snacks. Finally we heated olive oil and diced onions in a pan until they browned and then added the Swiss chard and coconut milk. So delicious as a meal or side dish and really simple to make. By the end of the week we were ready to see what was in our next share! Week two was pretty similar but instead of kohlrabi there were fresh cucumbers and red onion. We just picked up our third week and it is pictured in the title. Again, similar to the other weeks but with zucchini and three red potatoes. We purchased the eggs and organic butter separately.
It's a lot of fun to see what will be in the box each week and so far we haven't made any exchanges. By being part of a CSA you are eating locally grown food which means it's not traveling long distances to get to you so there is no need for preservatives. The food is much fresher and contains more nutrients than food that is breaking down on the shelf at the grocery store. I love being able to look around the farm and to see exactly where the vegetables are grown and it helps my kids to understand and appreciate food too. There are several other CSAs in the Lebanon area including Barefoot Farms, Buckhill Farms, and Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op. Take some time to check them out, get to know the farmers and make an investment in your local community and health.