Food Books

CSA Frequently Asked Questions


What type of food is in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box?
The Penn’s Corner CSA boxes contain a wide variety of fresh, seasonal food from local farms. Each week the CSA box contains a different assortment of seasonal vegetables, and there is usually at least one type of fruit as well. Our goal is to provide you with top quality produce in quantities that you can use. Remember, all the food is locally grown, which means that there will not be corn in May or strawberries in September. CSA equals seasonal eating, and that means eating everything in its prime season and peak flavor! In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, the CSA box will also have regular installments of other farm products included—gourmet mushrooms, wild honey, local cheese, free-range eggs, fresh pasta, etc. The following link has some examples of CSA boxes from last season: CSA Menus.


How much food is in a weekly CSA box?
Each CSA box contains about 7-11 items a week. The variation depends upon the season and the specific items. If there are more high-value items in a particular week (such as peaches or salad mix or cheese), the number of items may be around 7 or 8. If there are more standard crops that week (such as cucumbers or peppers or onions), the number of items will be 10 or more.


How many people can a CSA box feed?
Depending on your eating patterns, a box will feed approximately 1-4 people, usually 2-3 people is a good number. But it is flexible. Some members use the CSA as their sole source of produce during the season. Others use it to supplement what they are already buying at farmer’s markets or the store.


When are the CSA pickup days and times?
CSA pickup days and times will be confirmed closer to the beginning of the season. The proposed days are Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on location. The pickup times vary by location as well. Usually the pickup window is between 3-7pm.


What if I can’t pick up my box during the allotted time?
It is important to find a way to get your box during the stated time frame. If you cannot get to the pickup location on time or are out of town, we suggest sending a friend or family member in your place. It’s a great way to introduce the CSA to others. We cannot guarantee that CSA boxes will be available outside of the stated pickup time. However, letting us know of your schedule conflicts ahead of time may help us make arrangements.


Is Penn's Corner CSA organic?
Incorporated in 1999, PCFA did not organize as an organic coop. Therefore, our growers use a variety of agricultural practices. Although not many Penn’s Corner growers are certified organic, many of them do follow the organic practices and principles. Some of them are Certified Naturally Grown, which is an alternative certification program to organic. So, the CSA does include quite a bit of pesticide-free & herbicide-free produce. However, we also include produce that is not necessarily grown organically.


Where is the CSA food coming from?
Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance is a cooperative of Southwestern PA farmers that market together in the Pittsburgh area. PCFA farms are in Allegheny, Washington, Beaver, Butler, Mercer, Armstrong, Indiana, Cambria, & Westmoreland counties. The CSA produce comes directly from the farms to your neighborhood. The produce is collected and boxed on our member farms, and then taken directly to CSA pickup locations. The produce is never held in a warehouse or off-site facility.


Can I choose what’s in the CSA box?
At this time, there is not an option to choose what’s in your CSA box. We do, however, make exceptions for vegans or others with health concerns. Other than that, we believe that with a good recipe (which we provide in the e-newsletter and on the website), you’ll learn to enjoy the diversity of produce in the CSA. Most members find new favorites in the CSA box.  Plus, the newsletter we send out to you has a list of what's going to be in the CSA box in the coming week.


How can I find information about cooking the produce in the CSA box?
The weekly CSA newsletters always have recipes related to the specific items in each box. These newsletters arrive via email 2 days before you receive your box, so that you have time to plan your shopping and your cooking based on what will be in each CSA box. The website also has some seasonal recipes to use. In addition to that, the internet is filled with wonderful recipes based on seasonal produce.


Where are the pickup locations for the CSA?
We keep an updated list of CSA pickup locations under the CSA tab of the website homepage. The exact locations are available upon request or during membership confirmation.


Can I be a CSA host site/pickup location?
Yes, we are looking for members who are willing to be a pickup location for CSA deliveries. We are specifically looking for neighborhoods north of Pittsburgh (in the I-79, I-279 corridor), west of Pittsburgh (along the parkway), south of Pittsburgh (in the Collier Township & Scott Township areas), and east of Pittsburgh between Regent Square and Monroeville. However, any reasonable suggestion will be considered.


What is required to be a host site/pickup location?
The short answer is, not much. It can be at your home or business. The CSA boxes simply need a cool, protected place that is easily accessible to members. It is not required to be present during the pickup, but it necessary to provide contact information in case we need to reach you. The members will return their empty boxes to the pickup location, so it is also necessary to have a bit of storage space for the CSA boxes. We typically accept sites with room enough for 10-20+ boxes (approximately 17”x 13”x 11” each).