Share This Page

Eastmont churches partner to offer fresh local produce

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
A stack of Penn's Corner boxes await pickup at Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastmont.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
Above, fresh produce awaits pickup at Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastmont. The church has partnered with the Parkway Jewish Center and Penn's Corner Farm Alliance to offer a community-supported agriculture farm share open to the community.

Churches in the Eastmont area, which straddles Penn Hills, Wilkins Township and Monroeville, have been working with one another on interfaith initiatives for nearly three decades.

The latest initiative promises to bring locally grown produce to the east suburbs.

Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastmont and the Parkway Jewish Center have partnered with Penn's Corner Farm Alliance to offer the Eastmont Community-Supported Agriculture Farm Share.

Residents can sign up to have a box of fresh fruits, vegetables and produce delivered weekly, and can pick it up at the Emmanuel church, on Jefferson Heights Road.

“We've had a longstanding and good relationship, so it seemed like a good mutual project,” said cantor Henry Shapiro from the Parkway Jewish Center.

Pastor Linda Theophilus from Emmanuel said she jumped at the idea when Shapiro suggested it.

“In both congregations, we have members who very much want to support local farmers and who recognize the value of locally produced food,” Theophilus said.

“Having a pickup site that's so convenient is really cool. Doing it jointly allows us to have it here locally to benefit the congregations and the communities we serve.”

Coincidentally, as Theophilus and Shapiro were planning the farm share, one of Penn's Corner's regular pickup sites in Monroeville stopped receiving deliveries. This allowed Emmanuel to step in as the new site.

“It was pretty perfect timing,” said Penn's Corner CSA Manager Karlin Lamberto.

Penn's Corner offers multiple options for its summer CSA program, which begins June 11 and runs through Nov. 19.

Subscribers can opt for 24 weekly ($610) or 12 biweekly ($320) pickups.

There also is a vegan option that does not include offerings like fresh cheese.

In recent weeks, Theophilus said, pickup boxes have included tomatoes, apples, bib lettuce, honey, eggs, potatoes, cheese, watercress and watermelon radishes.

Shapiro said the CSA program, which Penn's Corner has run for about a decade, benefits local residents and area farmers.

“Let's say you're a local farmer with a few acres,” he said.

“To go to a farmers market basically takes the whole day. You pick in the morning, take it by truck to the market and sit around … this is more time-effective for the farmer. And for consumers, you could go to a farmers market regularly, but just to have a time each week when you go and pick up your food is certainly an effective way to do it.”

Roughly 70 to 80 percent of produce offered in the CSA program is fully organic, Shapiro said, and comes from more than 30 Western Pennsylvania farms.

“People are thinking more in terms of eating healthy, so for myself and others, this is just generally good food that we can share in,” Shapiro said. “And you're not sure what's going to come in the boxes every week, so it's almost like a treasure hunt.”

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.