Spotlight on McConnells’ Farm and Market in Southwestern PA

Spotlight on McConnells’ Farm and Market in Southwestern PA

McConnells’ Farm and Market, located in the Aliquippa area, is one of several CSAs in southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s one of our favorites. According to Calvin McConnell, the history of this family’s multi-generational and sustainable 180-acre farm goes back as far as 1787 by word and the early 1800s by a paper trail. McConnells’ Farm and Market has participated in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model for the last eight years. The CSA model provides much-needed committed funds to the local farm and delivery of high-quality fresh farm produce for CSA participants.

The McConnells family was gracious in sharing their story of family farming with One Planet Life. The family appreciates their CSA members (75% are repeating yearly members), their seasonal clientele, and the land where they grow their food. Their peaches are the best that we have ever tasted, and the fruit has been their specialty since the 1930s. Various fruit trees, vegetable produce, and beautiful sunflowers and hollyhocks are grown on nearly 50 acres.

Old McConnells Farm

According to McConnell, the farm is not certified organic; however, their growing practices range from non-certified organic to integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on common-sense practices.

The McConnells are involved in every stage of crop production. Their home is on the farm; they drink the well and spring water and consume what they grow. This makes them highly aware and conscientious of safety precautions for their family and clientele. The farmers rely on crop rotation, planting ground covers to regenerate soil naturally rather than depleting it, drip irrigation, hand picking in place of herbicides, as well other techniques associated with sustainability.

McConnellsFarm Barn

Several years ago, they built a barn, adding much-needed space to showcase the variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown on the farm. A large CSA chalkboard informs customers what is available and defines mandatory and value-added items weekly. Local artisan products such as soap, candles, pottery, and canned goods are also available for sale, along with canning supplies and canned goods. 

McConnells Market is a wonderful experience with an authentic country mercantile atmosphere.

McConnells’ CSA season begins in July and ends in November. Two plans are available to 180 members; a weekly Plan A and bi-weekly Plan B. Members also receive a discount on other farm produce and items for sale in the Market. To learn more, please visit their website.

McConnells Market

To learn more about CSAs, read our blog, Community Supported Agriculture A Win For Farmers and Families.

To find a CSA in your State, please explore our OPL INSIGHT: CSA Farms By State Map.

Community Supported Agriculture A Win For Farmers and Families

Community Supported Agriculture A Win For Farmers and Families

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a growing, mutually-beneficial partnership between local farmers and their community. Small farmers secure essential income at the beginning of the growing season, and people in the seasonal shares get weekly or bi-weekly access to fresh, local produce throughout the growing season. CSA provides farmers financial security, and community members get good quality food from local farmers.

There are roughly 4,000 CSA programs across the United States.

Most of the CSA shares supply a 3-5 person household. During the approximately 15-30 week season, each CSA box contains a variety of fresh food depending upon the harvest. A weekly selection can include fresh produce, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains. Each weekly box provides a new opportunity to explore new recipes and new ingredients. If you find that your share offers more than you can eat, share it with friends, freeze, pickle, or can your fresh produce. Now is the time of year to sign up for a weekly or bi-weekly subscription.

Some CSAs offer a self-pick operation.

A selected area of blueberries, apples, peaches, pumpkins, cucumbers, grapes, and other produce and flowers is available for members to pick on certain days. Members are always the first to receive the best selection before opening up to sell to the general public.

Picking up your weekly CSA share is fun and educational for the whole family,

Children can gain an understanding of where and how the food they are eating is grown. They also become appreciative of how fresh local grown produce tastes.  Now is the time of year to sign up for a weekly or bi-weekly subscription.

To find a CSA near you, explore our interactive map.
OPL Insight Map CSA Farms
The Time is Now for Plastic to Be Gone

The Time is Now for Plastic to Be Gone

Our world is contaminated with plastic. For too long, we have looked away while this big business has convinced us to use single-use plastic for convenience. We are all paying the price for this petroleum-based product that does not decompose. It breaks into microplastic fibers that are in everything – fish, animals, air, water, and even humans. Does it make sense to you to use a product that stays on our planet or oceans forever?  

We applaud the March meeting of the UN Environmental Assembly to end plastic pollution, and forge an international, legally binding agreement, by the end of 2024. The meeting was attended by 175, and we need global progress. Some countries are leading the way, such as Kenya, the UK, and China, with regulations in place. In the US, California and Hawaii have state-wide bans. Meanwhile, cities and towns are taking action in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and more. Great start, but we have a long way to go.

We call on our One Planet Life community to join the cause to reduce single-use plastic.
Reducing plastic is a TRIPLE PLAY. It reduces climate change, nature loss, & pollution. Use OUR APP to select plastic-reducing joyful changes and track your progress.
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    Begin with small changes to reduce your plastic footprint.

    Then move on to refusing plastic whenever possible. Start by buying and using reusable items. Bring reusable bags when shopping, say no to straws, and bring reusable cutlery, water bottles, and containers when you are out and about. 

    Support cities and local communities that are banning single-use plastic.

    Tell everyone you know what you now know and ask them to join in.

    Amina Mohammed spoke at the UN Environmental Assembly on March 2, 2024, and her words are important. “Today, no area of the planet is left untouched by plastic pollution, from deep-sea sediment to Mount Everest. The planet deserves a truly multilateral solution to this scourge that affects us all. An agreement that speaks from source to sea.” 

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