Rachel's Table

One GOOD Thing About Winter

This morning I woke up to a dark bedroom, hazy and gray with no light forcing its way between blinds and through curtains. Rationally, I thought it was 3 am and I still had hours of sleep ahead of me. A quick glance at my phone told me a different story; slumber was over and it was time to face the day. Looking outside, I saw a steely slate sky and the misty drizzle of cold rain.  Seeing as “day” decided to skip out on the world, I thought I should do the same and curl back up under the covers.

But I took the more noble route and reluctantly got in the shower, dressed, and headed for work.

That’s when I discovered something good about winter.  All my local Delawareans out there will be happy to know that Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative is offering a WINTER CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which means 12 weeks of fresh, Lancaster County grown produce in the middle of winter.

I might be grasping at straws here, but the thought of fresh, organic winter vegetables grown by mostly Amish farmers melted my tiny winterized heart.

Here’s the facts about this CSA:

  • Cost is $250 for 5-8 items of fresh produce per week
  • Pick up locations are at Home Grown Cafe in Newark, Harvest Market in Hockessin, or Boyd’s Flowers in Wilmington
  • “Add-ons” are available, including cheese, bread, eggs, meat, canned goods, and even tofu
  • Online ordering is easy at lancasterfarmfresh.com. They even have payment options, so you don’t have to pay the entire $250 up front

Lancaster Farm Fresh’s summer CSA is AMAZING. Here’s a picture to prove it.

Full summer veggie share. WOW!

Photo from a shareholder with a full summer veggie share. WOW!

I can imagine the winter share is just as breathtaking with all those lovely root vegetables I adore roasting or adding to soups. It’s nice to know that even in winter when local choices are limited and grocery store produce is shipped and tortured just to get it on the shelf, I can count on area farmers to provide a superior alternative. I like to know how my food arrived on my plate. Reminds me of a Michael Pollan quote:  “At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind.”

The deadline to order is tomorrow, January 17, by 2 pm. 

Foreboding clouds and miserable rain be damned; winter is looking up!


  1. Do they ship to California? 😉 Actually, I’d like to get some of that Amish butter. But otherwise, I did pretty well at the Santa Monica farmer’s market this morning…

  2. Alice

    Del–aware–delightful.I live in farming country–but the market here is not always a positive experience. One farm charges a membership fee and summer produce fee totaling nearly $700 for the season–prohibitive for most incomes. Hoping for a productive garden.

    • I believe the summer farm share fee is quite a bit more expensive but it goes for double the weeks. Sometimes if you calculate what you’ve spent on organic produce at farmers markets or the grocery store a farm share is less expensive BUT coming up with all that money at once is not easy! I’m excited about my expanded garden this year, too!

  3. Oh that is great; I even prefer to buy veggies and fruits from farmers market as they are fresh ‘n’ cheap and the best part is this thing is available throughout year on one particular day of week.

  4. Coolllll. And not cool like this crappy weather, but cool like when are you cooking for me?

    But I’m curious, since I’ve never done this before, how does the cost compare to buying produce at the store? $250 sounds like a lot, but I’m having trouble visualizing the actual volume. Like, say, is 1 ear of corn an item? It can’t be. Then you’d be paying over $20 for 5-8 ears of corn.

    • Yes, you are correct. It’s 5 to 8 items. Like maybe a bunch of carrots, beets, kale, a pound of potatoes plus more stuff. Then in early spring I might get different kinds of lettuces, herbs, radishes, spring onions and other things. It works out to about $20 a week for the twelve weeks. I can’t find a variety of local organic produce for that amount of money at my grocery store. I’d have to drive 35 minutes to Whole Foods and probably spend more than $20. So CSAs are very economical if you are willing to pay up front.

  5. CSA’s are great if you can get onto one. Ours is a bit more one-on-one and WAY cheaper than the grocery — especially Whole Foods. Here’s what I got for $11 last year (http://wp.me/p28k6D-8V). I rarely spend more than $10 when I visit. And that was with a dozen eggs. When I go with my own shovel and pocket knife and gumboots and pick my own? Less than that. He ROCKS.

    Reminds me. Time to go cut some greens. (Those are $1 per bag.)

    • I just clicked your link and saw all you got for only $11. Dang! Lucky YOU! I have an idea for my own type of CSA this summer (to supplement by expanded but still tiny garden) BUT I can’t share it yet. 🙂 I found kale the other day for only $2 a bunch and I thought that was a good deal.

      • $2 is a good deal! Love kale. But even in our grocery, organic (not terribly local) mustard, collard, or turnip greens are only $0.89 a bunch (which cooked down will feed just me, or two normal people).

        The point is it’s cheap to buy NUTRITION (a/k/a/ plants). Too cold and wet to go get anything from the farm right now, I begrudgingly do like everyone else in the winter and shop the grocery instead. But as I walk out with two large (reuseable) grocery bags FULL of food for a mere $25 (no meat, dairy, or eggs, anything “processed”), the person next to me will have half that and spend over $100. It boggles my mind.

        And I’m feed six faces, three times a day, and then some. (My husband packs his lunch every day.)

      • I agree that it’s cheaper to eat vegan. Especially since whole grains like quinoa or legumes like lentils are inexpensive too.

        I can eat my weight in greens too. 🙂

  6. I had never heard of this until a co-worker signed up last year and was away on vacation for one of the weeks, and asked if I would like to pick up her weekly take for myself, since she has already paid upfront, it would just go to waste if she didn’t get it, and the pick up location just happened to be 5 minutes away from my house. It was a no-brainer, obviously. I got so much stuff, I was shocked!! I mean, obviously I didn’t have to pay for it, so it might have been different if I did, but truly, it was a huge bounty. And the stuff was so fresh and delicious!! I also liked that if you didn’t want one of the items, you could trade for more of something else. And they also had local breads, eggs, cheeses, etc. to add on. It seemed like a good deal.

    Enjoy your winter harvest! I’m sure it will be delicous and totally worth the price. Glad it’s perked up your winter doldrums. 🙂

    • You can trade what you don’t want or won’t use at this CSA too. I’m just excited to not have to think about what I’m going to find that’s local at my grocery store, which is nothing ever. I like the surprise element of not knowing what you’re going to get each week.

      It’s funny that something as simple as winter veggies can put me in a better mood. I swear I would spend all my money on food instead of things like bills, clothes, and mortgages. I’d dress like a pauper and live in a cardboard box. But only if the box had a decent kitchen.

      Would you ever purchase a CSA for your family?

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