Penn Pantry is now a drop off location for a local CSA and people ask all the time, "But what is a CSA and why do I care?" CSA stand for Community Supported Agriculture and you can find a bunch of them in western PA. When you join a local CSA, you buy a "share" of fresh produce from local farmers. Each week, the CSA drops off a box of food at your drop off location, which could be a store or someone's home, and you get the freshest produce from local people leaving the smallest carbon footprint.
1. Fresh Produce - All CSA products are grown in your surrounding area on local farms. This gives you fresh food because nothing has to travel across the country or get picked before it ripens to sit on a grocery shelf. If you never tasted fresh farm food, it is amazing how much better it is.
2. Local people - In buying your share, you commit to a local farmer that their hard work will pay off. It gives them a returning customer whom to prepare and work hard for. These farmers are often local people who want to live a cleaner, simpler, and healthier lifestyle. Not only do they have this goal for themselves, but they are grateful for the opportunity to share this lifestyle with you.
3. Smaller carbon footprint - Whether or not you believe in global warming, we can all agree to using less gas to transport food locally is better for our planet. Instead of large processing plants filling trucks, CSA gives local farmers the opportunity to put a small amount of produce in a small truck and drive it just a few miles.
This year, we have partnered with a local CSA in two ways. First, we are their Harmony pick up location. When you sign up for our CSA, they drop off your share every Thursday afternoon for you to enjoy. Secondly, they are providing us with product to sell out of our cooler. Now you can purchase farm fresh items at the store. This week we have lots of lettuce and onions that just flew out of the door.
The more I spend in this shop small, buy local community, the more I am overwhelmed with the need to support local business. Not only do they need you, but quality of your items is so much more than a mass produced anything. Stop buy your local whatever store and see what greatness they have to offer.