Enterprise Center farm share puts fresh food at fingertips
Nothing beats summer’s juicy peaches, fresh watermelon, delicious tomatoes, and vibrant herbs. All season long, tasty local fruits and vegetables are at the fingertips of Penn faculty, staff, and students, thanks to West Philly Foods CSA.
West Philly Foods CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is a farm share program run by the Community Development Corporation arm of the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit started by Wharton School alumni 25 years ago.
Every Thursday afternoon for 21 weeks from May 26 through Oct. 13, participants pick up boxes of pre-paid fresh goods from one of four delivery sites in the West Philadelphia area. All the items come from several local rural and urban farms, including West Philly Foods’ own quarter-acre farm, the Walnut Hill Community Farm, at 46th and Market streets.
Vegetable and fruit shares are offered in full (good for three or four people) for a $640 base price, or in half (good for one or two people) for $375. An average half share for one week in the summer will include one pound of tomatoes, four peaches, two ears of sweet corn, one bunch of basil, one head of lettuce, one cucumber, two peppers, and half of a pound of green beans. A full share might include larger portions of the aforementioned, as well as some additional goods such as leeks and blueberries. The produce changes weekly.
Carly Freedman, West Philly Foods manager, says this will be the fifth season of the CSA program, which is open to 150 participants. Until that number is met, registration to join will remain open.
“It’s such a great program because it’s so locally based,” says Freedman. “All of our produce, if not from local, urban farmers, comes from farms within 100 miles. You really can make a big impact when joining this CSA.”
The CSA program also supports up-and-coming small businesses in West Philadelphia by offering seven different “value-added shares,” many of which are produced in the Center for Culinary Enterprises, the Enterprise Center’s kitchen incubator. Items include jam from Spruce Hill Preserves, beer from Dock Street Brewery, cheese and dairy from Valley Milk House, pastries from Fakira, fruit and nut bars from Happy Hippy, and bread from Mighty Bread Co.
The bread share, which is delivered bi-weekly for an additional $70, and the fruit and nut bar share, delivered once per month for an additional $80, are brand-new this year.
Freedman says the closest pickup site for most Penn employees would be at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 3401 Civic Center Blvd., but other locations include West Philly Foods’ Walnut Hill Community Farm, Renewal Church at 47th Street and Cedar Avenue, and University of the Sciences at 600 S. 43rd St. Pickup times vary. Visit West Philly Foods’ website for additional information, and to fill out the application form to sign up.
Not looking to commit to the CSA? Walnut Hill Community Farm operates a stand outside of the Penn Bookstore on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.