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Hello, Conscious Eaters!
Last week, some of our team got to visit our friends at Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative for a day of farm fun. Let me tell you, it was so cool. If you don’t know much about Lancaster, they’re a co-op of 100+ family farms in Southern Pennsylvania. The cooperative was founded as a way to support these small farms who were struggling to compete with Big Ag. Lancaster takes care of the marketing and ordering logistics so the farmers can focus on what’s most important: growing and raising amazing food.
We’ve been working closely with Lancaster for quite a while now, and we love their zeal for local, sustainable agriculture. Founder Casey and our rep, Jimmy, carted us around the town and introduced us to a few farmers whose food might end up in your box this week! We got to tour four Amish farms, all organic and simply bucolic. Each was run by a different family. We saw peppers, carrots, kohlrabi, bok choy, green and white cauliflower, you name it. We got to pick a couple of things to take home, and ate some right from the field! A Carmen pepper eaten fresh off the vine is truly something else. Plus, we got to see how truly pasture-raised our turkeys are. Don’t forget to reserve yours for Thanksgiving before they're all gone ;)
The co-op is strengthened by the close-knit nature of the whole community. Folks lean in where help is needed, within individual farms as well as across the whole group. They’re an amazing example of what a cooperative community looks like. For example, a farm in the co-op lost their organic certification when drift from a neighboring conventional corn farm landed in their field. While they worked to earn the certification back, another farm in the co-op allowed them to harvest their organic carrots so they could still make money that season. It takes a village!
I’ve visited Lancaster’s farms a few times now, and I am always really impressed with how the team is able to communicate so effectively with many different farmers. Especially considering that the Amish don’t use cell phones! (Or most other forms of electricity, for that matter.) Per their customs, work that might typically be done using electricity is accomplished using gas, wind, solar power, or with the help of animals like horses and mules! Being there firsthand and seeing how the reps and farmers communicate with one another really shows you how complicated the process is.
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into life on a Pennsylvania farm! We can’t wait for the next trip.