This season Reeger’s Farm is distributing its produce through two separate operations: the farmer’s market and Penn’s Corners Farm Alliance. The farmer’s markets we run ourselves. Packing up the produce and setting up our tent, we get to sell directly to the folks who are looking to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. While this method is effective, there are not enough customers in the local Indiana area to buy everything that we can grow. This is where Penn’s Corners comes in.
Penn’s Corners is a food co-op that helps connect over 30 farms with customers that would otherwise be unreachable. Even though there are many restaurants in Pittsburg looking to buy local ingredients, we don’t have the time to drive all the way to the city during our work week. We are busy growing the food, you see. Penn’s Corners delivers food through three distinct operations.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Through a CSA, customers can sign up to buy a share of a farm or a group of farm’s produce. Each week Penn’s corners will collect food from their farmers and organize it into even shares. Then they will drive it out to distribution sites around Pittsburg where customers can pick up their shares. As the growing season goes along customers can expect something a little different every week depending on what the farmers are growing.
The Farm Stand is a weekly distribution that is similar to a CSA. The difference is instead of a customer signing up for an unspecific share of whatever is produced, Penn’s Corners announces ahead of time what they expect to receive and customers can pre-order specifically what they want that week.
Finally, Penn’s Corners delivers orders to upscale restaurants around Pittsburg. Chefs are often more than willing to pay a premium to smaller farms if it means fresh, quality food. Each of these three divisions of Penn’s Corners pick up produce on different days. Every week we sell something a little different to each one. It all depends on what we have and what they need.
This week the Restaurant division needed strawberries so we delivered 40 quarts we just picked. Usually we would simply meet the delivery truck at the local butcher shop to drop off this order, but this week I rode along with the delivery truck all day to see the inner workings of how Reeger’s farm strawberries end up at a restaurant in Pittsburg.