Taproot Farms CSA

Taproot_Farm_CSA.jpgThis past summer I participated in my first CSA with Taproot Farms. All I can say is: wow. The quality and consistency of the vegetables all summer was incredible, and the variance in crops was astounding. I received vegetables I had never even heard of before, which I will not list in order to save judgment from the more hardcore members among us. Trust me, the assortment was impressive.

The CSA made every Thursday like Christmas, and Wednesday Christmas eve. We waited patiently to receive the email informing us of what would be in that week’s share. Thursday we rushed to our pick-up location, which was conveniently located in downtown Bethlehem at Lux Hair Salon on New St. As soon as we got the box home we eagerly inspected its contents, which was stuffed with items like escarole, Swiss Chard, kale, spinach, beets, carrots, potatoes, Sunflower shoots, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, watermelon, beans and much much more. The only problem we had was what to do with all this goodness!

Participating in a CSA had two profound impacts, one self-seeking and one more altruistic. First, healthy options were always on hand. We know vegetables are good for us, but it can be difficult to make the traffic-ladened drive to a supermarket every week in order to have fresh produce on hand. This was never a problem for us. I would say my vegetable consumption is higher than average, and it was even greater this summer. Suddenly healthy foods were more easily accessed than processed alternatives. Second, our participation in this CSA played a small role in sustaining a local farmer who never sacrifices quality for quantity. We played a part in keeping an ethical farmer profitable and competitive against larger industrial giants. What else could you ask for?

The farmer behind Taproot is George Brittenburg, who opened in 2009. His farm rests on over 8 acres outside of Shoemakersville in Berks County, just a short drive from Bethlehem. George’s family serves farmers’ markets and customers alike from Philadelphia to the Lehigh Valley. The Brittenburgs are committed to organic practices as they view them as environmentally and socially responsible. If there was ever a doubt that small-scale, organic farming can feed the world, I invite you to join this CSA. Your problem won’t be a lack of food, but an overabundance of it.

The farm also partners with other local providers to deliver eggs, breads, cheeses and fruits. I participated in the egg share, and was pleased with the consistent quality all summer long. Next year, I’ll most likely opt into the bread share as well. It is incredibly convenient, and gave me the opportunity to enjoy vegetables I may not otherwise have access to at “standard” supermarkets. I can’t help but think about this experience in relation to the food co-op, where we can stock the shelves with all the variety and quality that we desire. We can also help sustain farms like Taproot, and become a powerful player in supporting an entire network of local vendors. In this way, the collectivization of our individual efforts such as joining a CSA will be magnified and concentrated so as to exponentially increase our impact. Joining a co-op is a powerful vote for local, sustainable practices. So is joining and participating in food co-ops!

Just like my experience with Taproot, membership in the Bethlehem Food Co-op will be personally beneficial as well as benefit our community. Yes!

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