Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative?
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC) is a non-profit organic farmers cooperative of 90+ small-scale, Certified Organic family farms in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Chester Counties. We focus on creating healthy, quality food from our highly maintained and enriched soils.
- Are LFFC member farms Certified Organic?
Yes, LFFC member farms are 100% Certified Organic. Each farm keeps meticulous records of all activities on Certified Organic land, from weed control to seed suppliers and compost methods. We have very strict standards here at LFFC. Our farmers are constantly building up soil, testing plants, and consistently maintaining a healthy environment for our products.
- Are there opportunities to visit LFFC farms?
During the summer and early fall, LFFC will offer several opportunities to visit an LFFC member farm. Shareholders will have the chance to tour the farm, share a meal with LFFC farmers and staff members, and enjoy Lancaster County’s beautiful rural landscape.
- What is CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a vegetable subscription program wherein individuals and families can purchase a weekly share of the harvest, sharing the intrinsic ricks and benefits of small-scale organic farming. CSA members pay for their shares when they apply at the beginning of the season and receive weekly portions, or shares, for the duration of the season.
- What will I receive in my share?
CSA shares are delivered on a weekly basis, and share contents are based on what is in season and available from our farmers. In May and June the shares are very light, filled with lots of greens, mushrooms, radishes, and spring onions. In July, August, September, and October the shares are much heavier, bursting with cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and squash. In November, production slows and cool-weather crops like winter squash, cooking greens, lettuce, and root vegetables prepare our pantries for winter.
- How much food will I get?
In the Full Vegetable Share, you can expect to receive 7 to 12 varieties of vegetables per week. We recommend the Full Vegetable Share to families and culinary enthusiasts. In the Half Vegetable Share, you can expect to receive 4 to 9 varieties of vegetables per week. We recommend the Half Vegetable Share for students and small households.
- Will fruit be included?
When abundant, fruit will be included in Vegetable Full Shares. We also offer a fruit share in the Spring-Summer season, which consists of one to two varieties of seasonal fruit or valued-added products each week. LFFC member farmers grow berries as well as heirloom melon varieties. LFFC sources other varieties of fruits, such as apples, apricots, peaches, pears, etc. from local farms that are Certified Organic, chemical free, or use IPM methods.
- What is CSM?
CSM stands for Community Supported Medicine. The model was created by LFFC member farm Lancaster Farmacy. Similar to CSA, it is a subscription program for individuals and families to purchase a weekly share of the harvest during the Spring-Summer season. CSM shareholders pay for their shares in the winter and early spring, and receive local, organic medicinal herbs and prepared herbal products through the fall.
- What is IPM?
In this region, tree fruit is extremely difficult to grow organically. Some of the fruit that you will find in your fruit share is grown using IPM methods. IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, an environmentally sensitive method of pest management that combines actions that prevent pest problems, such as rotating between crops or planting beneficial crops, with actions that control pest populations, such as trapping or weeding. Chemical treatments are used as a last resort. We will always tell you when an item of fruit is grown using this method.
- How does the price of a CSA share compare to shopping at the grocery store?
Conventionally grown produce that is available at the grocery store is sometimes less expensive than purchasing Certified Organic produce from LFFC. However, there are many “hidden costs” associated with conventionally grown produce. This produce is heavily treated with chemicals and increasingly genetically modified, negatively affecting our environment and our health. Certified Organic produce that is available at the grocery store is far more expensive than purchasing Certified Organic produce from LFFC. This produce is often marked up 50 to 150%, and much of it isn’t even local! Because the CSA model connects consumers directly with farmers, the price of each item in a share is comparable to wholesale pricing.
- How will I know what is included in my share each week?
Transparency is very important to us here at LFFC. Each week, on the morning of your share delivery, you will receive an email detailing each item of Certified Organic produce in your share, including the name of the farm that grew it!
- Will I know what will be included in my share in advance?
Yes, on the Saturday before delivery you will receive a “Harvest List,” containing a prediction of your share contents for the week. This list may change slightly due to crop shortages, but it will give you a general idea of what to expect.
- How will I know what day and time the pick-up is at the location I’ve selected?
You will not know the exact time of pick-up until very close to the start of the CSA season. This is because our route planning is based heavily on the number of participants at each of our pick-up locations. When the time is determined, we will send an e-mail notification to our membership, and post the information on our website. You will also receive a member handbook detailing everything you’ll need to know prior to your first pick-up day of the season. We do recognize that this can be difficult in terms of scheduling, and we will work to provide this information as soon as possible. We certainly appreciate any patience that can be afforded as we work to communicate this information to all of our members. Please note that if the pick up day and time does not suit your schedule, you will be eligible to switch to a more convenient pick-up location or refunded your payment in full.
- Are recipes provided?
Absolutely! New recipes will go out each week in our CSA newsletter, The Compost. Shareholders also have the opportunity to share recipes on the LFFC CSA Recipe Group Blog. (provide link)
- What happens to my share when I go on vacation?
We ask shareholders who are on vacation to find a family member or friend to pick up in your absence and to please let your site host know to expect a new face. If you are unable to find someone to pick up your share, your share will be donated at the end of the evening at the site host’s discretion.
- How do I sign up?
Please visit our Application page. You can fill out and pay for your CSA Membership Application online with our brand new account management software.