Keep It Local: Farm Markets and CSAs in Butler County, PA

Freedom Farms
Freedom Farms

Eat seasonally and locally through CSAs and farm markets. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. You can invest in local agriculture by enjoying top quality products when you create a partnership with a local farm. Plan to eat an array of whole foods and fresh products this year by signing up for a CSA today.

The perks of CSA programs are endless. CSAs promote access to healthy foods, as well as strengthen sustainable food systems. By purchasing a CSA, you support the local economy by investing in a farm ahead of their season. You can also grow and develop a relationship with the farm by learning more about their processes and what they grow, become exposed to new vegetables and ways of cooking, and have the opportunity to eat fresh food with amazing flavor and vitamin benefits.

Harvest Valley Farms
Harvest Valley Farms

How A CSA Works:

A local farm offers a certain number of “shares” to the public, sort of like a subscription service, where consumers purchase a share for farm products like vegetables and eggs. 

There is shared risk within the CSA model which means that members pay up front for the whole season. By investing in the season, you are enabling your local farmer to prepare the fields for harvest, buy seed, fix farm equipment, and more. This shared risk creates a sense of unity between farmers and community members. Items vary throughout the season and include products such as ears of corn, a quart of strawberries, grass fed beef, and so much more!

There are several places in Butler County to purchase CSA’s:

  • Harvest Valley Farms grows over 160 different varieties of fruits and vegetables using sustainable practices and picking as much daily produce to market within 24 hours. Their 22-week CSA program runs from the beginning of June to November and the community can pick between a full or half share. Pickup each week is set up like a farmer’s market, where local members have the ability to personally choose their vegetables. In addition, two products that have reached the main season crop are mandatory choices each week. This gives members the opportunity to choose products, as well as try vegetables that are in season. Harvest Valley also has a cheese CSA, as well as an Organic Shade Grown Coffee CSA that are partnerships with other local businesses around Pittsburgh. Each week, CSA members receive a weekly email newsletter highlighting the “vegetable of the week,” a recipe, and updates on the farm, crops, and employees.
  • Freedom Farms has the goal to provide fresh, nutritionally dense food and family-friendly service to the local community. Their 24-week CSA program runs from May to October every year. They offer three types of CSAs: meat, produce, and dairy, as well as the choice between a full season or a single season CSA giving you options for what is right for your family. The CSA share is modeled, where you simply receive the freshest and most bountiful products each week and you are not able to pick and choose what is in your share, which creates an opportunity for you to experience a variety of products throughout the season. All CSA Members receive optional add-ons to purchase every Monday via email with items such as a dozen eggs, bars of homemade soap, one of Lisa’s homemade salads, or more. In addition, members receive weekly recipes that can help you learn to use the different items in your share that you may not be familiar with such as leeks or simply give you inspiration for a new way to prepare a dish.

Here are other places that offer farm markets seasonally or year-round. Visit our farm market page for more information and support local agriculture. A few local farm markets include:

Each farm market offers a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to meet your every cooking and baking need. In addition, many markets carry other local products from vendors like dairy products, baked goods, a variety of specialty food and snack items like kimchi, cured meat, or cocktail mixes, garden decor, and so much more.