7 Pittsburgh Area Farms Where You can Order Produce Now
A roundup of our favorite Community Supported Agriculture shares.
photo courtesy Penn's Corner Farm Alliance
After months of mostly brown palettes on the plate, spring is finally here, and with it, the prospect of a hefty dose of greens. If you’re looking forward to spring peas, summer salads and late season fruits as much as I am, consider supporting a local farm by signing up for a CSA share.
CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are shares of a farmer’s yield that can be purchased prior to the growing season, guaranteeing the farmer advance capital and the consumer tasty, fresh, local produce throughout the year. In the United States, community supported agriculture was introduced in the mid-'80s and has become increasingly popular since. Surrounded by farmland, Pittsburgh enjoys solid options, many of which include locally-raised meat, eggs and flowers.
CSA sign-ups are quick to fill up, so here are few farms on my radar for 2019. (But don’t despair too much if you’re late to the game. Some farms have waiting lists, or start later in the season.)
Blackberry Meadows Farm
Gregory Boulos and Jen Montgomery bought this beautiful farm in Natrona in 2008, inheriting its organic status and one of the first locally established CSA programs from Jack and Dale Duff, some of Western Pennsylvanians early adopters in 1991. The couple often invites CSA members to cook in the farm’s outdoor kitchen and participate in the harvest. Customers can choose between half and whole shares, which include seasonal produce, fruits and herbs. Pasture-raised meats are available for separate purchase. Blackberry Meadows also offers unique “garden shares,” which are seeds and seedlings of the vegetables in their farm shares that are distributed at planting time, helping the customer with their own garden planning. June-October, $200-1,750
7115 Ridge Rd., Natrona Heights; 412/226-3939, blackberrymeadows.com
Cherry Valley Organics
This USDA certified organic farm was founded by Jodi Danyo in 2001. Danyo farms a five-acre space that produces vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and cut flowers as well potted plants, herbal teas and herbal body products, all of which are grown or hand-made at the farm. Its CSAs range from a basic produce share to boxes with teas, flowers and body products. Boxes, which can be ordered in weekly or bi-weekly shares, often include recipes or notes from the farm staff. Pick-up can be arranged by neighborhood.
June 9-Oct. 26, $250-500, additional cost with add-ons
518 Joffre Cherry Valley Rd., Burgettstown; 724/947-0170, cherryvalleyorganics.com
Clarion River Organics
The farm was founded in 2001 by five Amish farmers. In 2009, it became Clarion River Organics, a growers cooperative of 16 family farms that works with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance to offer an all-organic CSA with a wide variety of produce ranging from asparagus to rhubarb. Their CSA, which is offered in both small and standard sizes, is delivered weekly through Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance. Clarion River also supplies Penn’s Corner with grass-fed beef and pastured pork for their meat shares.
June 5-Nov. 13, $504-696
824 Whitmer Rd, Sligo; 814/205-6060, clarionriverorganics.com
Harvest Valley Farms
Harvest Valley Farms is a fourth generation family farm in Gibsonia. Customers can pick between a market share or a typical CSA in large, regular or half shares. Market shares allow the subscriber to pick their own items from the farmers market selection and can only be can be picked up at their stand at Lawrenceville farmers market. The typical CSAs have pick-up in multiple locations, including the farm. Subscribers have two mandatory items but can select the rest themselves. All CSAs offer a choices of fruit, grass-fed beef from Broad Run Farms, breakfast sausage and pastured eggs. Shares include seasonal vegetables and fruits and the farm also offers a cheese share, in both half and whole sizes. All the cheeses are sourced from independent family-owned Western Pennsylvania creameries, such as Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy and Pasture Maid Creamery.
6003 Cunningham Rd, Gibsonia; 724/898-3276, harvestvalleyfarms.com
Kretschmann Family Organic Farm
The Kretschmanns have been running this 80-acre organic farm since 1978 and offering CSAs since 1993. They’ve expanded their business with a 3-acre apple orchard and by using high-tunnel greenhouses to extend their growing season. They offer CSAs with organic vegetables and fruits in light, standard and plus sizes, which are versatile enough to meet the needs of a single to a family of four. Boxes are delivered weekly to satellite pick-up locations around Pittsburgh.
June-late November, $500-750
57 Zeigler Rd., Rochester; 724/452-7189, kretschmannfarm.com
Who Cooks for You Farm
This family farm is run by wife-husband team Aeros Lillstrom and Chris Brittenburg. Lillstron has a strong family background in farming, growing up just a few fields over from Who Cooks For You. For the 2019 season, they’re offering a market share in four sizes, to be picked up at any of their farmers market locations. Shares will include vegetables and herbs and CSA subscribers will receive 10 percent of the cost of their shares back to spend at the market stand on additional food.
May-November, Prices to be announced.
383 Mill Seat Run, New Bethlehem; 814/256-3858, whocooksforyoufarm.com
Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
Penn’s Corner is a farmer-owned cooperative that was founded in 1999. There are more than 30 member farms that work together to provide produce, free-range eggs, pasture-raised meats and local cheese to CSA subscribers. The standard CSA from Penn’s Corner includes produce and there are options for adding egg, cheese and flower shares. CSAs come in a variety of sizes and delivery frequencies from one-time ordering to weekly pick-up. Check out the quirky UglyCSA, a collaboration between Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance and 412 Food Rescue that makes boxes out of produce that might not meet perfect cosmetic standards but still tastes delicious.
150 54th Street Pittsburgh; 412/363-1971, pennscorner.com
For a list of CSAs, access the digital edition of Farm to Table's Western Pennsylvania Food Guide or download a free copy here.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story listed an incorrect price for Cherry Hill Organics. We regret the error and have updated to reflect the actual price for its CSA shares.