By now, you’ve probably heard about the community supported agriculture (CSA) trend. If not, here is a primer. A CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between a farm and a community of supporters. CSA members make a commitment to support a farm throughout the season—primarily by helping to cover the yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest early in the year. In exchange, the farmer provides members with locally grown produce throughout the season.
Yellow Springs Farm offers both fresh and aged artisanal goat cheeses using age-old French and Italian traditions. What makes their cheese so special? The extraordinary milk that comes from their Nubian goats. Their herd browses their pastures and are only fed local hay and grains.
Last month a few of us at Kimberton Whole Foods had the opportunity to visit Yellow Springs Farm in Chester Springs, just a few miles from our Kimberton store. The road to the farm winds down into a valley where old meets new. Stone barns, farmhouses and modern developments dot the hillside, all well integrated into the landscape. As we pull into the driveway, we see several goats enjoying breakfast in the pasture and Catherine Renzi waving, welcoming us to the farm.
For over a century, Yellow Springs Farm was one the largest dairy farms in the Philadelphia area, providing dairy products made from cow’s milk to all of Chester County. When Al and Catherine Renzi purchased the farm in 2001, they made sure that the land would stay true to its heritage by securing an easement with French and Pickering Conservation Trust to protect it from development, and to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy it. The Renzi’s have made it their priority to “connect sustainable landscapes to sustainable food systems,” and it comes through in the way that they have transformed the farm while remaining loyal to its roots. They paid homage to the history of the farm by continuing to produce dairy products made from the nutrient rich milk of their herd of 60+ Nubian goats. They have also chosen to honor the land by starting a native plant nursery, raising plants that are indigenous to the area to help to support the natural ecosystem.
For Immediate Release:
Yellow Springs Farm Announces 2014 Goat Cheese CSA Availability
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Makes Eating Locally Easy and Helps to Support Local Farms
Chester Springs, PA – February 14, 2014 – Yellow Springs Farm LLC (YSF), a family run organization that is focused on selling to local communities and restaurants, is offering for the fifth year a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. YSF’s specialty CSA is a convenient solution for people who love the taste of artisanal cheese, but lack the time to shop, or the knowledge of where to find specialty goat cheeses. CSA shares can be purchased for as little as $11.00 per week. YSF accepts credit cards and PayPal, as well as cash and checks.
YSF is offering cheese shares for the 2014 season, beginning in mid-May through November with pick-ups every two weeks at various locations throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Every other week, CSA members will receive three different kinds of artisanal cheese, including both fresh, pasteurized milk cheeses and aged raw milk cheeses, made from the milk of Yellow Springs Farm’s Nubian goats. The CSA is great for families who love cheese, but businesses and co-workers can also purchase a CSA share to split between employees in the office.
Never mind that Nectar is essentially a pan-Asian restaurant. I'm willing to concede chef and co-owner Patrick Feury his desired "eclectic" status if he continues to make his exceptional goaty twist on burrata-style stuffed mozzarella. Feury, who's long been a proponent of local dairies and has studied cheesemaking in recent years, decided to use goat's milk from Yellow Springs Farm for his take on the indulgent, cream-stuffed Italian classic.
Catherine Cosentino Renzi ’86
Award Winning Cheesemaker
Catherine Cosentino Renzi and her husband, Al, milk 30 Nubian goats on 8.5 acres in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. They produce 30 varieties of goat cheese, many of them seasonal. Yellow Springs’ motto is “Connecting sustainable landscapes to sustainable food systems since 2001.” Renzi’s personal motto hangs on a magnet on her refrigerator: “Leap and the net will appear.
Watch the "FYI Philly" news segment below to see Yellow Springs Farm featured in this piece on Chester County cheese.