Siwik Produce Farm offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to local residents. Programs like these are becoming more and more popular throughout South Central Pennsylvania and are a popular way for consumers to buy fresh, local produce.
What is a CSA?
CSA programs are not new. They have been in existence for over 25 years and have helped to sustain local farmers who are being threatened by modern mega-farms. The way it works is that before the season starts, a farmer will offer shares to the public which will be made up of the vegetables he harvests that year. Payments are made before the season begins to help the farmer with costs such as seeds, potting soil, etc during a time of the year when he has relatively little income. Then, those who purchase shares (CSA members) are guaranteed a portion of this fresh,locally grown produce each week of the growing season.
The benefits for the members should be obvious. They are eating the freshest produce possible. That produce comes directly from the farmer; there is no middleman, there is no time spent in a refrigerated truck. Instead, it is quite possible for the customer to see with their own two eyes exactly where their food comes from. The farmer also does everything that he can to make sure that his CSA members come first, before anyone else. By becoming a CSA member that person also develops a relationship with the farmer so you can learn how the food is grown.
Learning never stops but knowledge about how food is grown is a great thing to teach children. Kids will love coming to see “their farm” when their parents come to pick up their share. New produce might be included and it can be a great way to introduce kids (and adults) to new vegetables or the like. Kids have a hard enough time eating their vegetables but by getting to see the farm and learning firsthand how those vegetables are grown, they may become a true believer in the power of the veggie.
Health benefits, coming your way!
In many cases there are health benefits as well. Many local farmers grow organically. That means few to none chemical pesticides or preservatives which means healthier and tastier food. Better tasting food means more of it will be eaten. As for chemicals, since they are intended to kill pests, weeds or molds, any of the ones used in farming can be harmful if used improperly (see Penn State extension service) and several have active ingredients which are labeled as possibly or probably carcinogens by the EPA. Why risk your health when you can consume food that hasn’t been treated with chemicals?
By becoming a CSA member you are helping to support a local farmer. In today’s modern world, too much farmland has already been lost to modern housing developments and shopping centers. Farming is in danger of becoming a lost art and local farmers are the most threatened. A CSA can help to keep that farmer in business so that they can pass the farm down to their children.
Now is the time to sign up for 2018.
January of 2018 is here and at Siwik Produce we are now offering shares for sale for the 2018 growing season. A partial share is available for $375 and is great for a small family of 2-3 people or a family with younger children. A full share is available for $575 and is great for larger families and vegans. These shares give our members a certain amount of points every week to use on whichever vegetables they would like to get so they truly get what they need.
Registration is currently open at our CSA website, deposit now to support our farm and get weekly produce through 2018’s Spring, Summer and Fall months. (Late May through mid October.)