Why You Should Give the Gift of a Cheese CSA

By now, you’ve probably heard about the community supported agriculture (CSA) trend. If not, here is a primer. A CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between a farm and a community of supporters. CSA members make a commitment to support a farm throughout the season—primarily by helping to cover the yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest early in the year. In exchange, the farmer provides members with locally grown produce throughout the season.

Yellow Springs Farm, located in Chester Springs, has taken the idea of a traditional CSA, usually consisting of fruits and vegetables, and created a way for goat cheese lovers to get freshly made artisanal cheeses on a regular basis. Really, CSAs are a win-win for both the farmers and their shareholders. Owners Catherine and Al Renzi can confidently keep their native plant and goat farm operating year-round, and shareholders get the fruits of their labor of love—amazingly delicious varieties of goat cheese.

Yellow Springs Farm offers both fresh, pasteurized milk cheeses and exclusive milk cheeses aged 60 days or more. They create more than 30 varieties a year and always strive to bring out distinctive flavors utilizing different ingredients from the farm, such as fresh herbs, nuts and honey.

So, how does a cheese CSA work?

Yellow Springs Farm CSA members receive a cheese share two times per month from May through November, for a total of 13 deliveries. Each regular share usually contains four ounces of three varieties of Yellow Springs Farm cheeses totaling 12 ounces.

Members also have unique opportunities to try new products and place special orders for extra cheese. Some CSA cheeses are exclusive varieties only for members.

Cheese shares are delivered every two weeks. Depending on your pickup site, you will receive cheese either during the first and third weeks or during the second and fourth weeks of each month.

Current pricing is $315 for a regular share, which can be picked up at Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs or at one of several other delivery locations throughout the region. Delivery sites include Forest and Main Brewing Company in Ambler, West Chester Growers Market, Weaver’s Way Co-op in Mt. Airy, Valley Forge Flowers in Wayne, Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market in Center City Philadelphia, and many more.

If you aren’t ready to commit to a full share, other options are available. Take a “test drive” and receive 4 deliveries of a regular share instead of 13. The CSA test drive costs just $110 and lets you get a feel for belonging to a cheese CSA without the full commitment. Not a chevre fan? Not a problem—choose the Everything but Chevre package, which includes six ounces of two different cheeses at a cost of $340.

Another great idea is to participate in a plus share. This is for larger families or it can be split between two different families. In this share, enjoy four ounces of four different cheeses. Current pricing for a plus share is $395.

As a bonus, you will receive tasting notes, a recipe and farm news via email each week that you pick up your cheese share. The recipes will help you do more with this spectacular artisanal product than simply spreading it on a cracker. Catherine Renzi has shared one of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes utilizing her chevre.

Penne Pasta with Arugula and Goat Cheese
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Yellow Springs Farm Chevre (Italian Herbs, Garlic and Pepper or Plain)

  • 4 cups coarsely chopped arugula, stems included

  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1 lb penne pasta

Preparation:

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente.

  • Crumble goat cheese into a large serving bowl. Add arugula, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Drain pasta. While pasta is still very hot, toss with goat cheese mixture.

Enrollment for the Yellow Springs Farm CSA begins November 1. If you enroll before the end of the year, you’ll receive a free cooler bag as a gift!

Get a peek at the farm and all it has to offer during several upcoming Holiday Shopping Days. Come out to the farm December 13, 20 or 21 from 12–4 p.m. to visit the goats and purchase cheeses and gifts.

To enroll or for more information, please visit yellowspringsfarm.com or call (610) 827-2014.

Find Yellow Springs Farm at 1165 Yellow Springs Road in Chester Springs.