Cool Beans is a CSA based at Stoney Creek Valley Farm in Dauphin, PA. The majority of the food for the CSA is grown here, but a few things are contracted out to nearby farmers with similar practices and values. Your Cool Beans produce will be raised sustainably and organically, with respect for the land and the people involved in the process. I have not filled out all the forms and paid the (substantial) fee to be officially certified organic, but I do follow organic practices.
At its most basic, a CSA (community supported agriculture) is an agreement between a farmer and an ‘eater’ in which the customer pays ahead of time for a weekly share of seasonal produce from the farm, sharing in both the risks and the windfalls of the farm’s year. Cool Beans has tweaked that basic formula just a bit so that our members don’t receive overwhelming amounts of any one item by setting up informal agreements with other sustainable farmers. If I grow too much of one thing and not enough of another, or if something fails here, I’ll swap with another farmer I trust so that things even out a bit more for our Beans. (I don’t want to eat Swiss chard twice a week all summer, either.)
Winter CSA shares are offered every two weeks from the end of December through the end of March. There are eight deliveries in the winter CSA.
There are numerous CSA programs in the southcentral PA area, and we think highly of all of them. We are occasionally asked why the Cool Beans CSA would be the best choice for someone considering a CSA, and the simple answer is that it might not be the right one for you. Each CSA has a slightly different twist – different pickup options, different share sizes, etc. – and we encourage everyone to look into all of the local options before choosing a CSA. Cool Beans tends to offer more different items per bag, but smaller amounts of each item, than many local CSA programs.
The Cool Beans farmer is committed to providing members with the same fresh, healthy, safely grown food that she feeds her own family. The things we don’t grow ourselves are purchased or bartered for from farmer friends we trust, so that our members have a wide range of items each week. Our bags will include vegetables, fruit, and occasionally value-added items, such as freshly ground wheat flour, baked goods, or cheese. (I do not include meat products in our CSA, but I can point you toward several wonderful farmers in the area who raise safe meat.) My goal is to introduce members to the wide range of locally available options for awesome food.
I have several pickup options. These are all on Tuesdays:
At Katie’s (Stoney Creek Valley Farm, 1170 Stoney Creek Rd, Dauphin) after 3 pm
- Harrisburg (Penbrook area, 304 N 30th) 3:30-8:00 pm
- Camp Hill (19th St, near the library) 4:00- 8:00 pm
- Mechanicsburg (108 E Locust St, 4:30-8:00 pm)
- New Cumberland (2nd St) after 7 pm (or at the NCTB rehearsal Tuesday nights
It’s impossible to include everything here that you might want to know – so please don’t hesitate to email with any questions you might have. You may also wish to read through some of the blog entries, which range from informative essays on my philosophy about food safety to hastily dashed-off last minute messages to members on delivery days. Cool Beans also has a Facebook page (Cool Beans CSA) which is easier for me to update from the field or from the delivery truck than this page.
The 2016 season will be third for Cool Beans; we’ve just finished the fifth regular season. I can safely sum up my CSA by telling you that I love what I do, I work my butt off, I mess up sometimes but always do my best to fix problems, and I truly love my members.