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  • Writer's pictureMarne Platt

Community-Supported Agriculture: Delicious, Nutritious and Gluten-Free

Do you know about Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)? You should! These programs are wonderful for celiacs looking for safe, healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables. My sister is a member of the CSA at Restoration Farm on Long Island, and I joined her for a visit recently. What a treat!

Restoration Farm is part of the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in NY. Community-supported agriculture programs are basically co-ops: as a member, you pay an annual fee to the farm, giving the farmers some assured income. In return, you get regular access to incredibly fresh fruits and vegetables. My sister has been a member of the Restoration Farm CSA for years, and she gets delicious seasonal vegetables and fruits all year round, even during New York winters.

"Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a cooperative model that puts farmers and eaters in direct, intimate contact. By sharing the risks inherent in farming, CSA members enable growers to avoid debt, employ organic methods, and build farms that are deeply connected to the communities they serve."

Not only do they have fresh produce that ripened in the ground, you can pick your own fruit or vegetables, depending on the season. All of their produce is raised without herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizer. The fruit and vegetables taste like actual food, not cardboard cut-outs. It even smells like real food! We left with peaches, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a quart of blackberries I had picked myself.

Dessert that night? Peach-blackberry crumble. Just peaches and blackberries coated with cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar, and a simple crumble topping (see the recipe below). It took 10 minutes to assemble, 45 minutes to bake, and 10 minutes for us to demolish after dinner. Ah, the taste of summer!

Many CSAs also partner with other local providers; we got fresh eggs from free-range hens, and there was locally brewed beer available, though it was not gluten free and I don't drink beer. Best of all, I knew that the vegetables were not coated with or in contact with anything that would cause a problem for me. Delicious, nutritious, and safe...what more could I ask for?

If there's a CSA near you, ask about joining, or see if you can shop at the farm as a non-member. It's worth it.

Here's a picture of the crumble, along with the recipe. Enjoy!

Spontaneous Summer Blackberry-Peach Crumble


6 juicy ripe peaches, sliced

1 pint fresh blackberries, rinsed

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 T GF flour -whatever you have will work

cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to taste


1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill® All-purpose mix this time)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 T cooking oil

Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.

First make the filling: Put the fruit into a deep baking pan (something like a brownie pan works well). Mix together the brown sugar, flour and spices and the mix them into the fruit, coating the fruit well. if your peaches aren't very juicy, add up to 1/4 cup of water to the pan.

Then make the topping, combining all of the ingredients. The topping will have a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle this over the top of the fruit.

Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5-10 minutes to brown the top. It's ready when the top is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling.

Enjoy warm or cool, plain or with ice cream or whipped cream. Yum!

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