- Fast Facts
- What's in a Fruit Share?
- Pickup Locations
- Pricing and Payment
- CSA FAQs
- Growing Practices
- The Fruit Share starts in July or August (depending on location), when we have a lot of variety available to give to members.
- Share options and length vary depending on pickup location.
- We have many different pickup locations in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware and Maryland.
- Each week the share will have a balanced mix of seasonal fruit including peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears, Asian pears, and seedless grapes.
- The share contains a nice amount of fruit for a couple or small family, or for a single person who LOVES their fruit!
What is the size of a share?
- A share contains a nice amount of fruit each week for two fruit-loving adults (who each eat about 1 or 2 pieces of fruit per day) or for a small family. If you have a larger family, eat a lot of fruit, or tend to do a lot of entertaining, you may wish to consider buying an additional share.
- The number of pieces of fruit and weight of the share will vary, based on the fruits available (grapes & plums vs. Asian pears, for example), but we stick with the above guidelines to provide a nice selection. Total weight typcially ranges between 7 and 8.5 pounds during the main fruit season.
- Fruit Share members also have the opportunity to buy extra fruit if they need it.
What will be in a share?
- What you receive each week will vary over the season, depending on what fruit is ripe.
- We always plan to give you a balanced mix of fruits each week (rather than just 8 pounds of peaches all at once!).
- Fruits in the share will include white and yellow peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears, Asian pears, and seedless table grapes.
Examples of what you'll receive over the months include:
- Mid-August: 'Delight' European pears, 'Summer Blaze' and 'Golden Supreme' apples, 'Glowing Star' peaches, 'Mirabelle' plums, and 'Shinsui' Asian pears.
- Early September: 'Encore' and 'China Pearl' peaches, 'Posey' plums, 'Jupiter' grapes, 'Crimson Crisp' apples, and 'Hosui' Asian pears.
- Late October: 'Magness' European pears, 'Sugar Snap', 'Winecrisp', and 'Golden Russet' apples, 'Niitaka' Asian pears.
- There are many pickup locations throughout Chester, Lancaster, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery, and Lehigh counties, as well as a locations in northern Delaware and Maryland.
- Select locations have a couple Fruit Share options as well as a Veggie Share option.
- The pickup location at our farm in Cochranville also has add-on CSA options including the Veggie Share, plus Eggs, Mushrooms, Kombucha, and Cheese.
If you are not sure which to choose, please contact us.
Please review the share options available at your desired CSA pickup location.
For greatest savings, a weekly share paid in full by check when you sign up is the way to go.
If you have further questions, please contact us.
The prices listed below are for payments made by check/cash.
In parenthesis is the amount if you pay by credit card (includes a convenience fee).
Veggie Share Prices
Weekly Share: $650 ($668) for 25 weeks of veggies. Pickups start the first week of June (May 31st for Wednesday members).
Home delivery members pay $725 ($747), which includes delivery.
Alternating Weeks Share: $364 ($375) for 13 weeks of veggies. Pickups start the first week of June (May 31st for Wednesday members).
Home delivery members (through Logical Living Fresh Expreess) pay $390 ($402), which includes delivery.
Fruit Share Prices
12-Week Share: $260 ($267). Pickups start the first week of August.
15-Week Share: $315 ($324). Pickups start the first week of August.
Home delivery members pay $345 (355), which includes delivery.
17-Week Share: $340 ($350). Pickups start in mid-July.
Alternating Weeks Share: $184 ($190) for 8 weeks of fruit starting the first week of August.
Home delivery members pay $192 ($198), which includes delivery.
Other Options (available at NSO farm pickup only)
Egg Share Options: Provided by Lindenhof Farm. Enjoy a 25-Week Share $112.50 ($116), Alternating Weeks Share $58.50 ($60.50) for 13 weeks, or a 17-Week Share $76.50 ($79). One dozen eggs per option chosen. Sign up on our CSA form.
Kombucha Klub: 15- or 25-Week Share. Prices vary depending how many bottles (1, 2, or 3) you'd like each week (priced at $3.50 per 12oz. bottle). Flavors vary through the season, selected and provided by Baba's Brew. Sign up on our CSA form.
'Shroom Share: 24-week share $345 ($355) for 1 pound a week or $175 ($180) for 1/2 pound a week. Mushrooms provided by Village Crest Farm. Enjoy beautiful oyster mushrooms which come in a large number of varieties including: elm, golden, brown, blue, and pink. Other types may make guest appearances during the season. Sign up on our CSA form. Pick up every other week is an option as well, for half the price.
Bread Share: Details and pricing TBD
Cheese Share: 22-week share consisting of two cheeses each week, ranging from cheddar-types to spreadables and aged cheeses. Deliciously hand-made from the farm's Jersey cow milk. Information & signup directly with Hillacres Pride Farm.
If you have questions which are not answered here, contact us.
1. Why should I become a member?
- You'll know exactly where your food is coming from. You will be supporting small-scale local farming and helping to maintain some of the few remaining acres of farmland in this area.
- Because we are local, your food will be as fresh, ripe, and flavorful as it can be.
- Receive a weekly email detailing what is in your share each week. Hints and tips regarding use and storage are included, as well as recipes for some of the more unusual items you may receive.
2. Where and when will I pick up my share?
Consider carefully which of the pickup locations is most convenient for you when you sign up to become a member, being sure you can get to that location weekly during the times specified. Due to the nature of CSA (freshness of the food and delivery logistics etc.), it can be difficult to switch pickup locations or days around.
3. What happens if I can't pick up my share on a particular week?
- We suggest you have a friend, relative, or neighbor pick up your share.
- If, for some reason, you cannot pick up your share on a given day, please let us know in advance. In that case, we may be able to arrange a different pickup option for you or double up your share on another week. Or we could donate the share The Chester County Food Bank. Over the past few years, we have donated over $10,000.00 worth of food and cash in this manner to hungry Chester County residents. Thank you!
4. Can I choose which items I get in my share?
- We will choose the items for you, selecting those we think you will find to be the most enjoyable and interesting.
- Members who pick up at our farm will have more choices available for their Veggie Share, so they can pick out items more suitable for their family.
- Selections each week will consist of a balanced mix of what our farm has ripe and ready.
- You will be able to order extra items when you need them.
5. What is my commitment? Am I expected to participate on the farm in any way?
- We do not require any work commitment from our members.
- We do ask that you make the financial commitment and pay in advance for your membership. This eases the early-season financial burden for us tremendously.
- We may ask you for feedback from time to time in a survey or questionnaire. Many of the varieties we grow are either new or heritage varieties. Your comments and preferences will influence the future of what we grow on the farm.
- Encourage your friends and neighbors to buy local. If they are not local to our CSA or farmers' market locations, a great resource for nationwide sources of local food is localharvest.org.
6. What happens in the case of a crop failure?
Because we are a diversified farm with a very experienced farmer at the helm, it is highly unlikely that a total crop failure, farm-wide, would occur. Occasionally, certain particular crops or varieties may not do well due to weather conditions such as hail or extreme cold or drought, but where some crops may fail, others often thrive. Diversity is the key to ensuring a good supply of produce through the season.
As a member of a CSA, you are assuming some amount of risk. The threat of total crop failure due to disastrous weather conditions or major pest invasion is there, but unlikely. After growing crops for 24 years without any major failures, we feel confident that the supply of produce you receive will be what you'd expect. However, if we get completely nailed by a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, which literally destroyed fall crops on farms in New Jersey in 2012, we know you will understand that is completely out of our control and we may, in extreme circumstances, not be able to supply what you were expecting.
The 'good years', of which there have been many, more than make up for the occasional 'bad year'. As a member, you join us in sharing that risk.
This is the fifteenth season we've offered a Fruit Share!
The Fruit Share was started in 2003 to supply members with some of the finest and most unique varieties grown here at North Star Orchard.
Members often receive special varieties which we have in limited quantities and are not necessarily available to market customers. When we have limited quantities of Asian pears, plums, and peaches, for example, CSA members get them first.
Farmer Ike's experience growing fruit dates back to his high school days when he worked at a small local orchard. Since then he has been growing fruit wherever he has been able to (including in his college apartment!).
Since starting North Star Orchard in 1992, he has been able to focus his interests not only on fruit growing in general, but on growing very unique and heritage varieties, fruit breeding (to develop his own varieties), and using the newest technologies in training and pest management systems.
Are we organic? No, our fruit is not certified organic.
We grow most of our fruit using what Farmer Ike calls "Certified Sensible". We mindfully select what we consider to be the most sensible approach to crop protection to protect ourselves, our customers, and the environment by:
- Planting disease-resistant varieties
- Monitoring and trapping insects
- Encouraging insect-eating birds by providing more than 90 appropriately-sized birdhouses
- Participating in an insect-eating bat study being conducted on the farm by the Rodale Institute
- Using OMRI-certified (Organic Material Review Institute) spray products
- Using conventional chemicals when needed, if a traditionally organic approach is not available or effective
Many orchards call what they do "IPM" (Integrated Pest Management), which when properly practiced includes all of the methods above.
(The picture here shows some of the gadgets and gizmos we use for insect monitoring and trapping.)
Why not organic? In our climate on the East Coast, we have growing conditions (in particular, high humidity, wet weather, and newly-introduced insects like the brown marmorated stink bug) which make it very difficult to grow truly high quality fruit consistently using only organic methods.
In making our decisions in fruit crop protection methods, we take into consideration both environmental and safety concerns. Every year there are new and better products that can be used (both organically approved and conventional), and we constantly re-evaluate and update our methods.
Due to all of these decisions, and our concern about safety and the environment, we have an orchard which provides us with relatively undamaged fruit. Plus, the farm is abundant with insect, mammalian and avian life, all of which we like to see! (and we've got plenty of naturally-occurring grass and weeds, too)
"We have had the awesome opportunity to be members of the Fruit CSA for several years. The team at North Star Orchard love their orchard. It is evident in the fruit, the emails, the photos, and their new beautiful barn. The selection of fruit we receive is amazing in taste, freshness, and selection. We regularly purchase 'extras' to hold us over till the new year and each jar of apple sauce and peaches is like opening up sunshine on a cold winter day!" -CSA Member Christine D., 2017
"I love all your fruit. It taste so much better than grocery store fruit. So glad that I got a share." -CSA Member Carol, 2015
"This is one of the best investments we've made!!!" -2010 Member Erin B.
"Your fruits are the most delicious I've ever tasted! I'm so excited to receive them, and greatly appreciate all your hard work!" -2014 & 2015 CSA member Jim F.
"Your fruits are wicked good!" -2005 Member Shelly R.
"We found the fruit CSA to be a great way for the kids to explore new fruits and their varieties! There was always something for everyone and usually a great balance of fruit types!" -2015 Member Kelsey J.
"The quality of the fruit from your farm is outstanding." -2010 Member Stephanie
"The fruit this summer is just fabulous!! Thank you so much!! I thought I hated white peaches because they were always completely lacking any flavor other than sickeningly sweet. But yours are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Peachy and sweet and juicy and perfect." -CSA Member Kathleen, 2015
"I just wanted to let you know how fabulous it was to get the first delivery of your incredible, amazing fruit this week! I was so looking forward to it, and now am savoring every single bite. It's so wonderful to bite into a peach and have it taste like a peach rather than sawdust (some of those market peaches look so gorgeous, but YUCK, are such a disappointment to the tastebuds!). And those plums... Yummmmm. I ate several of them straight from the bag; they didn't even make it into the bowl on the counter! Anyway, just a note to thank you and tell you that your orchard continues to EXCEED expectation!" -2009 Member Vicki S.