Power To Save: Farm Membership At Fertile Grounds
NOXEN TOWNSHIP — A lot of us have memberships in gyms, libraries and golf courses but starting this week, people in Lackawanna County can become members of a farm.
It’s called Fertile Grounds. You pay up front and the farmers do all the work to make sure you get fresh produce every week for months.
Every week of the growing season, workers at Fertile Grounds Farm near Noxen pack up boxes full of fresh produce
For several years, they have gone to hundreds of people in Luzerne County. This week, it’s available for pickup in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County.
“We are thrilled. The response actually has been amazing. All day long and for the past week, memberships have been coming in,” said Fertile Grounds owner Deb Shoval.
Members are the customers of Fertile Grounds, but really they are investors. People pay up front, and get returns every week of the growing season, whatever fruits or vegetables are ready.
The members take the same financial risk farmers do, but get the same rewards.
“They’re being guaranteed first dibs on our best produce. It’s not like we’re selling it to market and giving them the rest, they’re getting our best,” Shoval said.
Fertile Grounds plants 45 different crops that are available throughout the growing season but there’s a difference here. This isn’t conventional farming. This is all done organically.
“For example, right here,” Shoval explained. “This big mess between our Napa cabbages, these are oats. Oats build the fertility of the soil.”
There are many ways the farming is done organically. They grow many popular types of produce and some extras members may not normally buy, things like chamomile for tea.
“Someone will say ‘what’s purple kohlrabi?’ and the next week they’ll say, ‘I made this and I loved it!'” There’s a lot of enthusiasm for every aspect of what we’re doing and that’s very rewarding.”
The cost is around $23 dollars a week from June through October, but you must invest in the whole season of fresh foods when you join.