FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative?
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC) is a non-profit organic farmers cooperative of 75+ small-scale, Certified Organic family farms in Lancaster County, PA. We focus on creating healthy, quality food from our highly maintained and enriched soils.
Why aren’t your farmers and the names of their farms listed on your website?
The majority of our farmers are old order Amish. Because of their religious beliefs, they’ve asked us not to include any personal information about them or their families online. They also do not allow their photos to be taken and so they will not allow any photos of themselves on our website. This is same reason you won’t be receiving any calls personally from our farmers. The co-op is farmer owned and the farmers choose to hire staff to take care of business needs for them. This allows the farmers time to enjoy working on their farm and life with their families. Our members are of course invited to attend any of our six on farm potlucks throughout the spring/summer CSA season. Once a month, one of our farmers opens his or her home to our members for a meal, tour of the farm and an opportunity to participate in harvest activities. There’s also a question and answer session so our members have an opportunity to hear directly from our farmers.
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.
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 us and 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, 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 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.
Can I pay for my CSA share in installments?
Yes, payment plans are available upon request. Please email the CSA Team for more information.
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, 2-4 days before delivery you will receive a "CSA Shopping 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 day and time of pick-up until very close to the start of the summer 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 day and 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. Our Vegetable Field Guide is also a great resource that contains vegetable identification, storage information, as well as recipes from LFFC farmers, staff, CSA site hosts, and wholesale customers. Shareholders also have the opportunity to share recipes on the LFFC CSA Recipe Group Blog.
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.
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 are the Fall and Winter shares?
Depending on location, the Fall Share is available as an eight week extension to the main spring/summer CSA Season. The Fall Share will contain items such as root vegetables, storage onions, herbs, winter squash, and a variety of other late season produce items. Our winter share is available mid-January through mid-March and includes a variety of local, organic milk, cheese and butter, winter vegetables and organic pastured eggs and local pantry items. The winter share also offers vegan, meat and bread share options.
How do I purchase additional
items from LFFC farmers?
Our Co-op Store allows CSA shareholders the option to purchase humanely raised pastured animal products, prepared items, and baked goods. Orders are placed online and delivered weekly with CSA shares. For more information, click here.
Sounds Great! How do I sign up?
Please visit our Sign Up For 2012! page. Payment can be made by check, money order, credit card, or direct bank transfer.