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Chester County Ag Council

Down to Earth Harvest: Eating Local Made Easy

A feature from the 2024 Farm Prodcuts Guide.

What is a CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture)?

When you join a CSA program, you pay a farmer upfront for products like vegetables, fruits, meats — even wine and cheese — that you receive at regular intervals during the growing season, most often weekly. Some farms have specific on-farm pick-up times while others offer a wide range of pick-up locations and times.

Joining a CSA program means lots of fresh variety, culinary adventures, and a strong connection to your local food system. For farmers, the model provides income in advance to buy seed and other inputs needed to start the growing season. It's a great way to support local farmers and take mealtime to the next level.

Check out Chester County CSA farm options on page 22 of the guide.

Down to Earth Harvest farmer Robert Todd fondly recalls how parents from a local Boy Scout Troop reacted watching their children snacking on fresh peppers during a recent visit. "The parents were like 'that can't be my son, he doesn't like vegetables,'" he laughs.

Robert ToddTodd is making a business of changing people's minds about how easy and delicious eating local can be. His Downingtown-based farm operates on a CSA (community supported agriculture) model where customers pay in advance for shares (aka boxes or bags) of produce they receive during the growing season. Todd prefers to describe Down to Earth Harvest as more of a "modern farmstand" concept thanks to flexible online ordering and payment plans which are popular with his customer base of busy families.

"There's no risk of endless kale when you join our program," says Todd. "Our members are amazed at how much fun family dinners can be. Veggie pick-up day is suddenly their favorite day of the week, and they're excited to cook new recipes."

Inspired by the works of Eliott Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier on how to farm profitably on small acreage, Todd operates Down to Earth Harvest on only 1.5 acres on the site of a former horse farm in Downingtown. From day one, he focused on building up the soil using no-till, regenerative growing methods incorporating compost made on site plus compost delivered from Laurel Valley Soils, a Landenberg-based mushroom compost and soil company.

As a small operation with two additional staff plus wife Amy who serves as the CSA coordinator, Todd focuses on growing high value crops his customers love that also do well with the farm's growing conditions. Broccolini (snack size broccoli), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and carrots are perennial favorites.

"We want to make it easy for families to make healthy choices," says Todd, a parent to three young children. "Amy and I understand the effort it takes to bring together a wholesome dinner every night. Sometimes the trick to get our family to eat better is as simple as setting out a bowl of fresh veggies and putting the chips on a higher shelf."

Todd also appreciates that customers want more variety than he and his team can grow on their relatively small plot. He has built a network of relationships with other small, family farms to achieve the thirty plus farm product selections in Down to Earth Harvest's online store each week. This means he and his team can focus on the crops they grow best while customers are able to enjoy additional fresh offerings like strawberries, melons, peaches, apples, and mushrooms, all while helping to support a larger community of local farmers.

"We want you to choose our produce because it tastes good," says Todd. "Our members tell us that flavor and ease of purchase matter most to them. We appreciate that as a busy family, too."


Down to Earth Harvest | 1585 Winfield Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335 | 267-716-3315 |