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.)

Members pick up weekly shares at a pre-determined location (I offer several options). If you can’t pick up your share because of another commitment, you can have someone else pick it up instead or let us know to simply cancel it for that week. It’s important that your schedule allow you to pick up your share during the time indicated, so look over the options before making a decision. Your bags will be safe at the drop sites, but the quality of the produce can’t be guaranteed if you don’t pick them up within a few hours.

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.

Another unusual feature of Cool Beans is that members are encouraged to learn about growing their own food to the extent that they’re interested in doing so.  If you have space for them in your yard or on a deck, I’ll give you tomato and herb plants.  You can purchase other seedlings here at Stoney Creek at a special discounted price each spring.

Two sizes of shares are available this year. A full share is designed for a family or for two people who love vegetables. A small share is designed for singles or for someone who might have large backyard garden. I strongly recommend full shares as your best value and suggest that you consider splitting a full share with a friend or neighbor, and either sharing each week’s basket, or alternating weeks. A full share is $500, and a small share is $300; this is for 24 weeks beginning on Tuesday, May 14, and running until Tuesday, October 29.

An egg option is available as an add-on. For $86, you’ll receive a dozen farm-fresh eggs each week; for $50, your share will include six eggs.

Some additional items may be available occasionally a la carte as the season progresses, and I’ll make that information available to members as the opportunities arise.

There is no typical weekly basket, since it all depends on seasonal availability, but you’ll receive a variety every week, and the overall amount you receive will have a monetary value greater than the cost of your share.

I have several pickup options this year, 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)

Seventy five shares will be available in 2014 and based on feedback from 2013 members and the waiting list, I expect to sell out, so I recommend that you reserve a spot early. A fifty dollar check, made payable to Cool Beans CSA and mailed to Katie College, 1170 Stoney Creek Road, Dauphin PA 17018, will hold your spot. You’d be welcome to pay in full up front, or you can pay half of your balance by the end of February and the remainder by April. My ‘payment plan’ is a bit informal – I would like you to make the arrangement that works best for you, but which also acknowledges that I can’t purchase spring supplies and pay my helpers if you wait until the last minute. Just let me know what your plan is, so I know what to expect.  This year, it would be especially helpful if you could pay in full when you sign up because I’m financing a large farm project, but if you can’t, that’s fine.

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.

The 2014 season will be fourth for Cool Beans. 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.

20 Responses to “About Cool Beans CSA – 2014”

  1. Hannah says:

    Hi Katie!

    We are almost out of chai jelly. Is there anyway you would share the recipe, or (if you don’t want to share it) tell me how I can buy some more??

    Thanks!
    Hannah

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  2. katie says:

    Hi Hannah, I’m glad you liked it. I used powdered pectin and followed the proportions suggested for using juice, but substituted chai instead. I guess that’s not much of a ‘recipe’, but that’s what I did……it was a homemade chai, strong tea with, let’s see, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamon, cloves, and black pepper. I do have some left, and I’ll have it with me at the market in Carlisle Wed Jan 5, 3-7 pm, the Depot Building, Cherry and Louther Sts.

  3. Tricia Coniglio says:

    Hi Katie!! Can’t believe I forgot to join for 2011!! Hope it is not too late, as we LOVED being a part of it last year! I would like a FULL share + an egg share. I’m picking up at Camp Hill location. I’ll print out the form and send in with payment early next week. Thanks so much…looking forward to all the farm fresh goodies you and Judi have to offer!!

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  4. katie says:

    Oh, good! We love getting new Beans, but having our old ones return is awesome. We have a lot of great things planned for this year!

  5. shannon says:

    Are there still available spaces open? Where is the sign up form?
    And can you pay with visa?

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  6. katie says:

    Hi Shannon – there are spaces still available, and there’s a link at the top of the hope page that you can click that will take you to the contract.

    We cannot take credit cards – we’d have to pay a fee to be able to do so, and then pass that on to customers, and it would raise our prices. We could run a Paypal payment through my iris business account, though, if that would be helpful. Email me if you’d like more information on doing that.

    Thanks for asking! ~katie

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi there!

    I am very interested in your full share and egg CSA membership. What are your deposits needed and do you offer any payment plans? 575 off the bat may be tough…let me know!!

    Thanks :)

    Jessica

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  8. katie says:

    Hi Jessica. We need to have full payment before the deliveries start in mid May, so our due date for the final payment is April 30. With a $50 deposit, you can structure the payments however you’d like to that point. We’re unable to offer any other kind of payment plan.

  9. Jessica says:

    That still gives over a month to get it in! Sounds great! I printed off the contract, make sure you tell Finian to keep an eye out!! Lol This is such a great concept and I wish more folks would get in on supporting local food supply! Thank you!

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  10. katie says:

    Not to worry – Finian’s currently busy watching over the new baby chickens that just arrived. A dog’s work is never done. We’ll keep a watch for your form, though!

  11. Michele says:

    Katie and Judi,

    Thanks so much for all you do! There is so much love in the bag each week. The surprises are fun. The produce has been amazing (especially given the weather challenges!) and I have enjoyed getting to know you a wee bit through the newsletter.
    I am so pleased to have connected with you. Thanks again! Enjoy this glorious day!
    Michele

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  12. Jessica H says:

    Hi there,
    I’m new to the CSA community but very interested. Are there still 2012 spots available and do you have any sort of expected produce charts? My other question is if it’s possible to start at a partial share and upgrade after the first delivery or two?
    Thanks!

  13. katie says:

    Hi, Jessica. We do still have shares. We do not have produce charts; we hope to after a few seasons, when we can look back and post something that has some data behind it. You can expect the deliveries to be seasonal – heavier on salad greens in the beginning, other veg and fruits added as they come into season. I can’t promise that you could up-size after a few weeks but if it’s possible we’d do so. ~katie

  14. melanie says:

    are there 2012 csa shares still available?

  15. katie says:

    Yes, today’s the first delivery, but we can work something out for you……..send in the paperwork and we’ll just add a few things to the first few bags to even it out.

  16. Lois says:

    Hi Katie,
    Are there 2013 CSA shares still available? I’m new to Cool Beans CSA.

  17. katie says:

    Yes, Lois, but not for much longer, I’m near the limit.

  18. Lois says:

    Great! I would like to join. How do I reserve a share? I didn’t see a phone number to call.

  19. Lois says:

    I found the contract. Filling it out now.

  20. Maura Caddell says:

    Hi, Katie,

    We are looking forward to another year of Cool Beans – a full share and a dozen eggs. By the way, my boys had a blast designing their own pizzas this week. Thanks for the ready-to-go crusts!

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