By Kristy C.
If you stopped into Sweeten Alumni House this Tuesday, you were greeted with the wonderful smells of leeks, parsley, arugula and various other fresh vegetables. That’s because a group of staff members here decided to sign up for a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) subscription program through Red Earth Farms.
CSAs have been gaining popularity over the past few years, as they are a fun and easy way to obtain fresh locally grown produce in urban and suburban areas. Red Earth Farms offers a “Choice CSA”, which allows members the opportunity to choose weekly from a list of seasonal fresh produce. The produce is then delivered to a drop-off point in your neighborhood.
CSAs have a “share fee” in which you pay an amount up front for a “share” in the crops that the farm produces. CSA subscriptions typically last from late Spring until early Fall, with most farms offering seasonal treats to go along with their produce.
Charis Lindrooth (C’87) runs Red Earth Farms with her husband Michael Alhert. When I asked Charis about the benefits of joining a CSA, she stated:
“The member receives produce that has been harvested often within 24 hours of receiving their box. They enjoy the benefits of super fresh produce, they get connected with the source of their food by visiting the farm, through newsletters and through Facebook and other social media. They also know that they are supporting a local, family-owned Pennsylvania farm.”
Sounds great to me! I also asked: Why should someone consider joining with Red Earth Farms?
“We have introduced the concept of online ordering as a way of offering our customers choice in what arrives in their box. We think this is the only way to really make the CSA model a win-win solution for both the farmer and the consumer. Our customers? They love it!”
So far, I am greatly enjoying the partial share that I am splitting with Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Elise Betz. We are both fans of making green smoothies, so this was an opportunity to get the freshest local greens around! To top it off, the online ordering process has been very easy. Other staff members at Sweeten bought into the Yogurt/Kefir and egg shares, filling up their fridges with fresh farm goodness! A special thanks to Liz Pinnie, Assistant Director of Penn Alumni Interview Program, who made it possible for Sweeten to become a designated drop-off location for the farm.
We hope this is the start of a very healthy tradition here at Sweeten Alumni House.
If you want more information about joining a CSA, check out this website: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
If you want to know more about Red Earth Farms, feel free to check them out here: http://www.redearthfarm.org/about.php
Oh, and if you are looking for a simple and yummy green smoothie recipe, this is the one that I use almost every single day:
Kristy’s Kale Smoothie Recipe
(makes two large servings)
This smoothie can be made in a high powered blender
- 6-8 baby carrots
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of plain yogurt
- A few large leaves of kale (broken up into slightly smaller pieces)
- ½ cup of fresh spinach (optional)
- Blend on your highest setting until you have a well-blended liquid mixture
- Add the following into your mixture:
- 1 banana or green apple (sliced)
- 1 cup of frozen fruit (I prefer strawberries or tropical fruit)
- You can also add in 3 or 4 large ice cubes if you prefer a colder smoothie
- Mix on ice crush until it is nice and smooth