Tag Archives: foodshed

Our CSA: How It Works

12 Jun

Remember when Amanda and I went to the Farm To Table Convention?  Well between that and a networking event that she♥ and I attended at Chatham, we had a lot of options regarding what CSA to chose from.

After meeting with so many different growers and comparing all the variables between packages, we♥ finally committed to Clarion River Organics!

A lot of people asked us, what factors affected our decision?

1.  The price:  The full share is $25/week.  The half share is $15/week.  The CSA runs for 22 weeks, which means we♥ will be spending $550 for all of our locally grown, organic produce.  We pick-up our share in the South Side, which is only 5 miles away from the house.  That saves us the gas we would have to spend driving to the farm (yeah, right)!

2.  The options:  Clarion River Organics allows you to add on bread and eggs to your order!  Not all CSAs have this option.  We added eggs:

3.  The portions:  Each week, we were told to expect 6-10 different items.  Here is the photo which we are provided with in our “what to expect email”:

We received:

Pretty happy with what we received, its just exactly what I thought we were going to get and it has been the perfect portion for us throughout the week. Since its early in the season, we received corn flour instead of a fruit or veg.  This was a pleasant surprise!

I would have never purchased corn flour in the store, but now I get to experiment with it AND feel satisfied in knowing that its locally.

4.  The people:  The way these guys handle CSA members is great!  Each time I was confused about something, it was addressed and cleared up right away!  They send a weekly newletter letting you know what’s happening in the 10 CSA farm participants, specs on the vegetables, recipes, etc.  The volunteers at the pick-up location are really nice and helpful as well (we pick up in South Side).  The whole experience has really opened my eyes to new kinds of dishes.

BONUS: Since we are not huge veggie eaters, this is a way that we have been integrating more SOLE food into our day to day meals.  AND we are creating urban partnerships with regional farmers who strengthen our food system.  I am 100% happy with our choice!

Things I’ve Learned:  Collard Greens are huge!  There are these things called garlic scapes.  I have to return my CSA bags next week – I took mine home by accident!  Its cool to try something out of your comfort zone.  There are things that grow in my community that I never knew existed.

 

Have you ever thought of joining a CSA?  Did you?

What affected your decisions to join/not join?

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Farm To Table Conference 2012: Recap Part 1

25 Mar

Farm to Table was one of the best experiences I’ve had since I began my journey into sustainability.  Events like this are so amazing because it allows people to connect with growers and find out about the REAL FOOD CHAIN, learn about how to be more self-reliant, network with other community members, and to LEARN LEARN LEARN.

Most of this recap will be told in pictures (which are worth 1000 words, right?) because much of my time was spent in the Exhibit Hall talking to awesome greenies like me!!  I will try to link most of the pictures to the company’s website, so don’t be shy 😉

412-965-0435
Allison Park

412-673-6457
McKeesport

412-589-9276
Sligo

1-800-USE-HEMP
Columbia

(814) 303-9663
Tionesta

724-459-7527
Blairsville

814.443.2415
Somerset

I think that’s about all you kids can handle for right now.  If I overwhelm you, you might get loosey-goosey…

Sustainability Networking ♥

10 Mar

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend an event, which was sponsored by Chatham University’s Food Studies Program, called Food In Our Neighborhoods.  I do realize that as both a student of sustainability and a foodie that its confused why I didn’t chose Chatham’s Master’s program.  Slippery Rock University’s Master in Sustainable Systems (my program) focuses on broader issues within the sustainability field, including sustainable community development (my focus).  Looking back, I probably should have looked into Chatham’s program more thoroughly.

Anyway…

There were only two speakers to choose from during the morning session.  I chose the one called “Groceries, Health, and Economic Viability for Inner City Communities,” which was presented by Glenn Ford.  Having arrived about 20 minutes late, I missed his introduction, but gathered that he is a civic leader in the Chicago area who is striving to build grocery stores in highly impoverished areas.  These urban centers have faced blight for years, many have turned into food deserts in which urban residents must travel far away from home just to eat.  Lacking access to produce and healthy food items can take years off of a human life and can severely disable a community from the infill necessary to keep it healthy.

As a business owner, I can doubly appreciate what Ford is doing, because his business model is genius.  To launch the Praxis Marketplace, Ford is attempting to encourage local entrepreneurs by soliciting local food producers.  This cuts down on a lot of overhead, creates  local job opportunities, strengthens the regional food system, encourages entrepreneurs, etc. etc. etc.  I could go on for awhile, but it turns out that the speakers were the boring part of the day!  (I am a nerd, so normally this isn’t the case.)

After the speakers, we were able to network with other attendees while learn more about community foodscapes.  Boy, did we network.  I was COMPLETELY unprepared for this event (thus the lack of pics) and didn’t even expect to meet with people.  I really thought it was going to be more of lecture/boring workshop stuff.  Here are some of the things/people we learned about:

 

Hazelwood:

Fishes & Loaves Program – this is an amazing food buying organization which essentially supplies fresh and local food into Hazelwood, which is one of the city’s biggest food deserts.   Residents are able to place an order and then are delivered meats, dairy, vegetables, etc. to Hazelwood Christian Church

*We also got a chance to check out some info about the Hazelwood Food Forest, which is currently in the works.  This is a really great project by two local women who are trying to help Hazelwood become more self-reliant.

 

Regent Square:

174 – This restaurant is in Regent Square, where Legume used to be.  I have no idea what I ate at the table, but it was so good.  This is somewhere that we will be visiting soon!!

 

Volunteer Organizations:

Grow Pittsburgh – a network of growers who do lots of projects around the city, this includes Braddock Farms, City Growers, Frick Greenhouse, Edible Schoolyard Program, Shiloah Farm

Transitions Pittsburgh –  currently recruiting volunteers for an intentional community’s garden in East Liberty called Borland Garden

 

Local Growers/Farms/Markets:

Churchview Farm – this is a third generation sustainable farmette in the south hills of Pittsburgh.  Tara was extremely nice and spoke with us about her CSA and about raising chickens.  I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to her via email tara@churchviewfarmpgh.com

Burgh Bees – educating and promoting urban beekeeping; the woman at the table was also educating us about urban chicken farming.  She was VERY knowledgeable about Allegheny County permitting and regulations, so if you are interested in urban agriculture I recommend contacting her at burghbees@gmail.com

Clarion River Organics – available from June to October, tons of pickup locations around the city; rates $15+  Call 412-589-

Oakland Farmer’s Market – starts July 8th at Forbes and Sennott in Oakland

East Liberty Farmer’s Market (If you’re an SFTS fan, you’ve heard me rave about this year-round farmer’s market.)

Marty’s Market – a destination grocery store that will be coming to soon to the Strip District, focusing on local and sustainable edible goods (I will be keeping my eye on this project for future posts.)

Garfield Community Farm – a farm in one of the most unexpected places (at least for me); they provide vegetables to Salt of the Earth who were doing a tasting at the event.

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