By Emily Ryan, The Mercury
In between meetings, phone calls, projects and deadlines, how would you like to get farm-fresh produce without leaving the office? Employees at businesses from West Chester to Wayne and beyond enjoy exactly that, thanks to a twist on the traditional CSA.
“We find that a lot of people want to be part of a CSA, or shop at a farmers’ market, or be part of the local food movement, but it’s really about convenience,” described Amy Johnson, director of agriculture for Greener Partners, which provides farm-to-office ease.
Like any CSA (community supported agriculture), people pay in advance for a share of the harvest — in this case from Longview Farm in Collegeville.
“You actually save 40-percent when you sign up for a CSA,” compared to supermarket organics. “Not to mention that it’s harvested that day,” she said. “It’s just a great way to feel connected to your farmer, to your local land, and it’s a great way to connect with your coworkers.”
Organizers even display fruits and veggies farmers market-style for a shopping experience within the workplace.
“We see a lot of people exchanging recipes and bonding over locally sourced food,” observed Sarah Padva, outreach coordinator for The Common Market Farm Share in Philadelphia. “I do think that’s a really neat aspect of it.”
The Common Market sources non-GMO, sustainable food from about 80 area farms, including Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown.
“It’s a great way for people to try new things and also experience things that they’ve had before that may taste better than they were expecting,” she explained. “Our Asian pears are a huge hit.”
A basic share: one dozen certified humane eggs and “six to eight produce items” like a bunch of carrots, a head of lettuce or kale sprouts — a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts.
“They were so good,” Padva said. “Everyone was like, ‘Where can I find these?’”
“People have definitely become more adventurous,” agreed Katie Peters, wellness coordinator at Einstein Healthcare Network and farm share site host for its Philadelphia, Elkins Park and East Norriton campuses.
“I get to interact with employees every other week when they come to pick up their share and see how excited they are,” she noted. “I have nothing but good things to say about this.”
So does Jen Ireland, director of human resources at CardConnect in King of Prussia. The company itself pays for Greener Partners’ deliveries.
“We’re looking forward to the summer share — all the watermelon and tomatoes and summer crops,” she said. “Everyone that we’ve dealt with has just been so enthusiastic. They care about what they do. They care about the farm and their crops and bringing it to local organizations.”
Strawberry & Rhubarb Breakfast Crisp
1½ cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups strawberries
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon buckwheat (or white) flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup oats
½ cup buckwheat (or white) flour
½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Large pinch of salt
1/3 cup coconut oil (can substitute butter)
Yogurt, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking dish, combine rhubarb and strawberries with lemon juice, buckwheat flour and sugar. In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, almonds, sugar and salt. Mix in coconut oil with fingers or a fork until it sticks together. Crumble over the top of the fruit and place in the oven. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until golden. Serve warm with yogurt.
RECIPE COURTESY OF THE COMMON MARKET FARM SHARE, ADAPTED FROM AVOCADO A DAY NUTRITION