By Michael Buck and Michelle Pittman
It will soon be time to pluck juicy tomatoes, firm green peppers and massive jalapenos from our backyard garden. One thing we learned from our first attempt at gardening: we possess some sort of a green thumb.
If you’ve got more of a brown thumb– everything you try to grow dies–there are still some great options available to get fresh, locally grown goods on the regular. That’s where your local farms come in. Most of them have community supported agriculture programs that supply their members with fresh veggies, and sometimes fruits, for about half of the year.
Here’s how they work. Early in the year, while the snow is still on the ground and spring has not yet sprung, local farms begin to sell shares of their program. Typically, farms will sell half shares (good for a couple or one vegetarian) and full shares (good for a vegetarian couple or family). The prices vary among CSAs, but you can expect to pay between $300 and $700 for 20 to 30 weeks worth of veggies.
Howard Klein, owner of Hidden Splendor farm in Lower Mount Bethel Township, says the right time to sign up for a CSA is in April. Now, about 10 weeks into the growing season, most CSAs have closed their membership or have sold out of shares.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start some research for next year. There are plenty of local farms to visit to find out which you like the best. Be sure to ask about their pickup options. Some CSAs have specific pickup days and times at their farms, while others allow you to pick up at local farmers markets. So check them out, find one you like and save your pennies for a steady supply of delicious veggies.
If you go to a local farm, you’re likely to find potatoes, the first crop of tomatoes, beans and corn. We bought some of these items last week at Clear Spring Farm. Check out what we made at Feaston.
Clear Spring Farm, 206 Garr Rd., Easton; 610-258-5050
Heritage Farm; 410 Klein Rd., Easton; 610-559-4967
Hidden Splendor Farm; 801 Riverton Rd., Bangor; find them at the Easton Farmer’s Market
Reeder Farms, 4450 Richmond Rd., Easton; 610-252-4276
Blue Blaze Farm, 1081 North Rd. Danielsville; find them at the Easton Farmer’s Market