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May 27, 2015

Your guide to summer CSA and farm share programs

Support local farms and farmers by buying a share in their business this summer

Food Agriculture
CSA Greens grow Farms /Facebook

Take a peek at what a weekly farm share pickup looks like.

There are so many reasons to enjoy locally grown and in-season produce this summer, from being guaranteed a bounty that's been picked at the peak of its nutrient potential, to supporting local farms and farmers and showing some love to our environment by scaling back our carbon footprint.

One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to join a local CSA or farm share program.

What is a CSA? 

CSA stands for community-supported agriculture, which is mutual partnership between farmers and consumers, minus the middle men.

In simple terms it means people like you (the community) support local farmers (the agricultural side of the partnership) by buying an advance share of the season's harvest. 

A typical bi-weekly CSA pickup at Greensgrow Farms in Kensington. (Greensgrow Farms/Facebook)

Typically, shareholders won't know exactly what kinds of produce they will receive or how much they will receive at each pickup, and the selection often varies from week to week depending on what's ready for picking and how kind Mother Nature has been.

But in most cases, an average share pickup is weekly or bi-weekly and includes an allotment of about six to 10 different types of fresh and locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

Philadelphia-area and South Jersey summer CSAs and farm share programs

Greensgrow Farms  

2501 E. Cumberland St., Kensington 

CSAs operate as a partnership with one farm, or a bunch of local farms that join together and pool their harvests, as is the case at Greensgrow Farms, above, which runs a CSA partnership with a group of farmers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware who bring their produce into the city.

Click here for pickup schedules and locations.

Blooming Glen Farm

98 Moyer Road, Perkasie, Bucks County

Farmers Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman are committed to preserving and encouraging farming in Bucks County. (Blooming Glen Farm/Facebook)

Blooming Glen Farm shares are certified as organic, meaning no pesticides are used. There's an option for on-site farm pickup or delivery to Doylestown and to Beth El, Yardley on Wednesdays.

Highland Orchards

Pickup locations through Pa. and N.J. 

Highlands Orchards, based in Wilmington, Delaware, runs a CSA share year-round with several pickup locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

While we were hibernating this winter, the farmers were keeping busy.

Sea Salt CSA

250 S. Mannheim Ave., Galloway Township, Atlantic County

Sea Salt CSA is operated from June to October with Saturday pickup at B&B Farms in Galloway Township in Atlantic County, a short distance from the Jersey Shore. Make it a summer day well-spent by picking up some Hammonton blueberries and Jersey tomatoes en route to the beach.

 Projected opening day at B&B Farms where Sea Salt CSA is based is June 10. (Sea Salt)

Find a CSA near you here.