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.
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.
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.