Its that time of year again to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture in the Commonwealth of PA.  What does this mean? In my house-hold it means a weekly box full of wonderful color and the rich smell of the dirt.

I open up the CSA box as if ripping open a package at Christmas full of wonder anticipating the prized vegetable of the week! My mouth begins to water when my eyes fall upon the bright colors and with the release of the smells of the Earth. I’ve been a member of a CSA for over 12 years now, and I still get a little giddy with my first box of the new season.  It’s now time to sign up for your first box; it changed my life and I hope it will change yours. 

Reasons to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture:

You know where your food comes from:

Vegetables that are just picked last longer for you than store bought produce

Spend less time in the grocery store

Becoming an adventurous cook, cooking vegetables that you may not have even known existed on the planet.

You expose your children to different tastes.

Your kids  become food snobs (that is a good thing)

Your kids understand that food comes from the earth, not a can!

You get to visit the farm and maybe you can get your hands in a little dirt

You gain  a deeper knowledge of how your food is grown

You avoid unwanted herbicides and pesticides

You avoid genetically engineered foods

You know your Farmer:

Being a member of a CSA helps ensure steady cash flow for the farmer and gives them security that their farming operation will continue.,

As a member of a CSA, you can give feedback as to what produce you would planted in the future!

Farmers with a dedicated customer base throughout the season will purchase organic , heirloom and non gmo seeds.

Knowing your farmer and eating fresh and local foods can be considered your family’s best health insurance.

Knowing your Farmer today is more important than is was even three years ago. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  does not have a law that mandates labeling genetically engineered produce. Genetically engineered vegetables and fruits have been approved for sale and some farmers choose to plant and grow these crops.

These include:

Sweet corn.

Ask your farmer if he plants genetically engineered sweet corn. The performance series of corn includes three different bi-color varieties and one yellow variety.  Other corns will be described as trait stacked or herbicide tolerant. Really, it’s not so bad to get a mealy worm in your corn! This means that it hasn’t been sprayed! (and, it can be considered protein in some parts of the world!)

Summer squash.

The squash is genetically engineered to resist certain viruses and is not used in many plantings for small scale commercial farms- but always ask your farmer!

Apples

A trade name apple known as the Arctic apple was just approved for sale. These apples are genetically engineered to resist browning! It may be some time before they are on the market.

Before joining a CSA, take the time to understand the farm’s growing practices. Ask if they are certified organic, or if they use organic methods but are not certified. Many farms are certified Naturally Grown, which is a certifying organization in which farmers check on one another. If your farmer is conventional, ask what kind of sprays they use.

If you join a CSA and are not picking up your produce directly at the farm, ask if you can schedule a time to visit the farm.

It is especially fun when your farm offers a you-pick option! This is  a great way to get children involved.

Every CSA is unique, some may be mix and match or market style, some are traditional (you get what comes in the box and like it {or not}), some are you-pick.  You may have to pick up at the farm or they may have a drop off point. 

We are happy to help you with any questions you may have about picking out a CSA.

Just  email us at righttoknowpa@gmail.com

Joining a CSA gives you an opportunity to understand and learn more about the farming practices a farmer is using to preserve the soil. Your dollar is spent on a farming method that you support and that same dollar stays in your community to be spent again creating more wealth and jobs in your community.

When you join a CSA, it  becomes a win-win for the everyone in the Commonwealth of PA, and the welfare of its citizens. That citizen is you.

Resources of looking up CSA go to www.gmofreepa.org web site.  Please support our GMO Free PA farmer members. 

Directories of Farms and CSA: http://www.gmofreepa.org/food-directories/#.VPUoMymTVP0

GMO Free PA members – farmers – vegetables:  http://www.gmofreepa.org/fruitsvegetables/#.VPUovSmTVP0

GMO Free PA members – farmers – meat:  http://www.gmofreepa.org/meateggs/#.VPUpbymTVP0

Be Well,

Karen Stark10848768_797424673663652_7568331964751977141_o(1)


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