Spiral Path Farm: It Matters What We Eat and How It’s Grown
Jun 01, 2014 12:42PM
● By Nancy Somera
Terra and Mike Brownback, owners of the 255-acre Spiral Path Farm, in scenic western Perry County, were pioneers when they began their community supported agriculture (CSA) program in 1994. CSA, a model by which members pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm and in turn, receive a weekly share of the harvest during the local growing season, has grown in popularity over the years.
This growth is due in part to people taking control of their health through the food they eat and wanting to connect to its source. “Food is fundamental to personal and environmental health,” says Emily Gilmore, CSA coordinator at Spiral Path Farm. “It does matter what we eat and how it’s grown.”
The family-run Spiral Path Farm is Pennsylvania certified organic and undergoes a rigorous annual inspection and organic certification process to ensure that their produce is free of harmful chemicals. The Brownbacks are committed to practicing sustainable farming techniques that promote a living soil, which allows them to grow healthy, nutrient-dense, flavorful nutritious food.
With more than 40 pickup locations throughout South Central Pennsylvania and Silver Spring and Bethesda, Maryland, members can choose from among full or medium-sized share options and can conveniently sign up anytime throughout the growing season at a prorated price. Spiral Path offers a total season share, which runs from mid-April through mid-December, a summer share that begins this month and a June-only sampler share. For the summer share, members will receive a weekly box of a wide variety of local, in-season foods harvested at their peak of ripeness during the months of June, July, August and September.
In addition, Spiral Path Farm hosts open farm days, each with a special theme, throughout each season to give CSA members and their families an opportunity to connect with the farm and “get their hands dirty,” as Gilmore states. “The dedication and amount of hard work that goes into a CSA of this size is impressive [2,300 members in 2013]. The Brownbacks’ mission and goal is to continuously provide the community with produce that contains the highest nutritional value possible.”