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.)
Deliveries are weekly, and begin for the 2016 season in the third week of May. You’re guaranteed 23 bags, although I’m hoping for 24 and have delivered 24 each of the last few years. There are five delivery locations on Tuesday (here at the farm, in Camp Hill, in Hbg, in Mechanicsburg, and in New Cumberland). There is a delivery site on Fridays, at the Radish and Rye stand at the Broad St. Market.
There are many local CSA programs and I think highly of all of them. I encourage you to investigate all of your options to find the perfect fit. If our delivery day or pickup sites don’t work for you, someone else’s might. I’m often asked why Cool Beans is ‘better’ than other CSA programs, and it’s not. We each have a different niche. Cool Beans offers more items per bag than several other CSAs but in smaller quantities. The price is lower than some of the other local CSA programs, but I believe that everyone is offering good value for the cost. If I were not a farmer, I would be happy to join any of the other CSas in the area.
I am committed to providing members with the same fresh, healthy, safely grown food that I feeds my 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 (grown locally), 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 THIS YEAR: Middletown (in town) 5:30-8:30 pm
- New Cumberland (2nd St) after 7 pm (or at the NCTB rehearsal Tuesday nights)
2016 will be the sixth year that Cool Beans has been serving members of the community, and this year is the start of a partnership with an area non-profit. There will be more details on that program, and how Cool Beans members can help, as it unfolds – it’s still in the planning stages. 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.