Monday, February 22, 2016

Market Style CSA: Commit with Freedom

We recently received an email from one of our CSA members asking us, "if I am picking up my CSA at the farmers' market what advantages do I get as part of the CSA that I wouldn't get just buying my produce there each week?" It is a great question and I'm surprised we haven't received it more often, as we've been distributing CSA shares at farmers' markets for years. 

So, commit to local organic agriculture by joining a CSA or keep your freedom of choice and shop freely at your local market?

People want the freedom to choose and we get it. 

Research shows that lack of choice is one of the main reasons people try a CSA and don't return. They've had they're CSA experience and got to explore seasonal eating. And, it was probably nice but the lack of choice outweighs their desire to support local agriculture and all the other impalpable benefits related to environment and economy. 

Enter the Market Style CSA

Pay upfront, like a traditional CSA, but pick out exactly what you like each week, including: vegetables, fruit, eggs, grains, canned goods, and meats. You will get 10% off your bill each week just for being part of the market style CSA. Then, your weekly bill (which will be variable) will be deducted from your total balance.

- $500 (up front or 4 installment payments)
- Shop Phipps or Sewickley Market 
- 10% off retail price at our stand

The market style CSA is for those who prefer shopping whereas the traditional CSA pickup at our farm markets is a 'grab and go' style, quick and simple. 

Phipps: Wednesdays - 2:30-6:30
(1st week in June - October)
Sewickley: Saturdays - 9:00-1:00
(beginning of May - November)

Sign up for a CSA Here

There are still benefits to the traditional CSA model. Of course the whole CSA concept of supporting the growers thru seasonal, weather dependent, pest dependent glut and shortages is important to us and the growers. This is the foundation of the CSA model.

Oftentimes, CSA members get premium items and what we have limited quantities of. Your upfront commitment ensures you get first dibs on the best we have at the time. Now, sometimes the market stand will have small amounts of items we don't have enough of to include in even one CSA route. You will see a more diverse offering at the markets because as items are just starting to be harvested, or on their way out, often quantities are very small.

We don't really like to advertise this next one as we'd rather focus on the quality of the produce and the entire CSA experience but with the traditional CSA, since you're buying in mass with all of the CSA members, the price is reduced when compared to regular retail or farmers' market prices. The savings to you is substantial.

Especially for 1st time members it's of great value to experience the whole Pennsylvania growing season and get exposed to new and unfamiliar items you may not choose at the market, therefore expanding your pallet and cooking abilities. In addition, the weekly CSA newsletters and recipes are helpful to many folks who aren't familiar with such seasonal eating. The CSA model is challenging in some ways and may feel constrictive at first, but it's also a good challenge as CSA members expand their knowledge and flexibility in the kitchen gaining lifelong skills.

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