Community-Supported Agriculture Co-Ops in Lancaster, PA
With the weather turning warmer, my thoughts turn to fresh produce. And with that, CSAs come to mind. A CSA is a program of community-supported agriculture put together by a single farm or by several farms working together, in which non-farming families/individuals can buy shares of whatever is harvested throughout the growing season. Once a week, you go to a designated pickup location, grab a box or two or three stuffed with fresh-grown, fresh-picked vegetables, and take them home to enjoy. By paying for your share up front, you are being more than a consumer. You’re investing in a local farm and the people that run it with their own hands and minds.
People in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and D.C. go to great lengths to get shares in CSAs from right here in Lancaster County, PA. There is probably nowhere in the world where the opportunities through buy fresh and local, particularly through a CSA, are more abundant.
Here is a list of the Lancaster County-based CSAs that have well-maintained websites with accurate and up-to-date information. In most cases, you can apply for a share this year online. Move quickly, though, because in many cases the first harvests begin this month (April).
I’ve included information on the pickup locations for each CSA, as well as the price of a full share. Please note that comparing prices isn’t apples to apples (so to speak). No two farms grow the same vegetables, and the growing season lengths vary from one farm to the other. Most CSAs in this list offer half shares for a little more than half the price of a full share. Half shares are ideal for individuals or couples with no children.
Most of the produce from these farms are not certified organic but are grown without chemical insecticides or fertilizers.
A few of the community-supported agriculture programs listed here offer “accessory” shares. That is, they sell CSA shares of eggs, fruit, flowers, and even meat.
Have you participated in a CSA before? Was it one listed here? Are there any Lancaster CSA farms missing from this list?
Goldfinch Farm CSA – $510 for a full non-working share. Working shares are available and include a discount. Pickup locations are on the farm in Wrightsville, in Lancaster city, and west of the city off Columbia Ave.
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA – A nonprofit organic farmers’ cooperative of fifty member farmers in Lancaster County. $775 for a full share. Half shares, fruit shares, vegetable shares, and medicinal herb shares available.
FirstWatch Farms CSA – Pickup at the farm in Lititz. $530 for a full share. Half-shares and fruit shares (strawberries and blueberries) available.
Wilmer’s Organics CSA – Blue Ball/East Earl pickup location. $850 for a full share. Half shares, flower shares, and egg shares available.
Goodwill at Homefields Farm CSA – Millersville farm and pickup location. $650 for a full share. Half shares available.
Crawford Organics CSA – East Earl and Lititz pickup locations. $775 for a full share. Egg and flower shares available.
Kauffman’s Fruit Farm – Bird-in-Hand. $480 for full share—fruit only.
Breakaway Farms – Manheim. $500 for a full share—meat only.
Buckhill Farm – Lititz. $675 for a full share. Shares for 2010 are sold out.
B&H Organic Produce in Morgantown has canceled its 2010 season.
For a great directory of CSAs around the United States, check out LocalHarvest.org.
6 thoughts on “Lancaster CSAs”
Thank you, Daniel Klotz, for your post about CSAs, particularly our CSA at FirstWatch Farms. We very much enjoy growing vegetables and love providing them directly to customers. Our farm also has a website on BlogSpot (http://www.firstwatchfarms.blogspot.com/) if anyone is interested in learning more about us. So thank you for posting about CSAs!
Check out Lancaster Buy Fresh Buy Local’s Guide to Local Foods for many great CSA options–second edition coming out in May 2010. We update it every year. Also, folks need to know that Local Harvest, which is a national site, can be badly out of date and not always reliable.
Also, FirstWatch Farms is a Lancaster BFBL Partner–go Jonathan and Monique!
Linda, I did use the PDF of Buy Fresh Buy Local’s 2009 guide to check for any CSAs I might have missed as I was researching this post, so I appreciate it as one resource tool. Do you include all local CSAs in the BFBL guide, or only ones that ask/agree/pay to be in the guide? I could not find any transparency about that. As for Local Harvest, I find it to be an incredibly helpful resource for finding CSAs with websites, which I can then visit to confirm details and get more information. May is too late to buy a share in some of these CSAs, and a printed guide can’t provide information as to whether or not there are still shares available in a particular CSA. It’s also not searchable. People are frequently discovering the list in this blog post through Google searches, so I would certainly encourage Lancaster BFBL to maintain a consistently updated online presence, because I can assure you that it will be used. I researched and wrote this post because I believe, quite frankly, that there’s no resource regarding Lancaster-area CSAs of this quality and accessibility available right now from any other source. I’m happy to provide it, of course, and I would be even happier for Lancaster BFBL to provide it.
Jonathan, I’m only too happy to spread the word about CSAs and the impact made by investing in one. Keep up the great work.
Daniel, thank you for helping to spread the good word. Buckhill Farm is sold out for 2010, but maintains an on going wait list for 2011 (http://buckhillfarm.net/Site/Join.html). Our membership expands each year so all folks on our wait list will be offered a share next year. If anyone is looking for a 2010 CSA share in Lititz, give FirstWatch Farms a try. We sell at the Lititz Farmers Market with Jonathan and think he does a great job.
Andrew, thanks so much for visiting and for commenting to let folks know that they can join the wait list for next year. CSAs are a true community asset, and I’m glad to hear your co-producers have supported you to capacity this year.
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