Our CSA Farmer Reuben DeMaster is an entrepreneurial farmer who is always busy adding to his offerings. For instance, this year he has added a Saturday farm market to his delivered CSA where he not only features his own organically grown produce, but local farm products from other organic growers (such as grass fed beef and honey), his own roasting chickens, lamb, pork, eggs, and some lightly sprayed fruit from nearby farmers. Because his farm is tucked into the Northwest corner of Lehigh County, PA, he also features some unique and unusual products to entice customers to travel to him. These include whole grain breads, desserts, and pizza baked in his wood fired outdoor brick oven. When we arrived he was busy making a Margarita pizza.
Reuben and his brick oven. Photo by Mike Hartman.
Reuben making pizzas. Photo by Mike Hartman.
This year he is also adding in a fall CSA. (Now accepting members.) He also creatively added a chef this spring to make Saturday evening dinners featuring seasonal dishes created from products grown on the farm, as well as teach cooking classes. Alas the chef left before we could take advantage of his expertise. He hopes to add in more children’s education and activities in the future.
We have participated in his wife’s yogurt making class which was delightful.
His farm, Willow Haven Farm, is included in the Naturally Grown organization as a member, with stricter standards than the government defining organic practices.
Reuben’s intern of two years Imbert, indicated that moving his family out from the city to become Reuben’s Intern was the best decision he had ever made in his life. This man grins from ear to ear when you meet him at the farm.
How we found Reuben is a short story involving both the Lehigh County Annual Farm Tour and my slow realization that our backyard garden/mini farm needed to morph into something different than annual vegetables and weeds. At the time, our internet connection was slow and frequently disrupted, making it difficult to do research, so when our local paper advertised the annual farm tour, my hubby and I went to enjoy the day. We were impressed with him and his farm and signed up to receive several boxes of vegetables that fall. The initial vegetables were terrific and in January we signed up for his summer CSA. Having the vegetables delivered to our home made the CSA doable for us. If we had needed to travel out to the farm to pick them up, it probably would not have worked for us. Currently we are in our second year of participating in his CSA. Reuben has a great cooperative spirit and has worked out arrangements with some local families to deliver the vegetables weekly on Wednesday afternoons to his customers in exchange for their own shares. He also works other arrangements out for people who choose to help out on the farm. Please check out his website listed above for more details, but know from a customer perspective, he has done a lot of creative thinking and implementation. Each time a box is delivered to us it is like getting a little bit of Christmas – always a delightful surprise!