Reviews for: Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm
Great CSA Run by a Fantastic Family
By: Martha Becton (Sep 20, 2012)
We did a half-share all through spring-summer-fall in 2010, picking up at the DoT farmers market.
I've missed it ever since. The value was good and kept me on budget through a lean year with our young daughter. The quality of the produce was great. If you've been a farmers market shopper, you understand fresh and local produce is a different experience than big chain super market produce.
The Kecklers pack their CSA boxes with variety all through the season. They send a weekly email listing that week's produce and any extras you can add that week a la carte (meat, dairy, eggs, preserves, honey, herbs, etc). There were quite a few items included that I've eaten at restaurants but had not bought myself. A quick chat when you pick up your box answers any questions you have on "How do you guys like to eat/cook this?" You'll NEVER get a box filled with only one or two items. EVER.
One of the most useful things I learned from the Orchard Country Produce CSA is that I don't need three heads of kale from the farmer's market each week. I realized having a wider variety with smaller quantities (like what I received in the half-share) meant I was more likely to use all the produce each week. Even though we aren't currently with any CSA, I shop every Sunday at our neighborhood farmers market with the Keckler's weekly box in mind. I struggle to come close to the variety they packed for the money I paid:)
What a great experience!
By: Mark Woodworth Jeanne Dussault (Oct 29, 2011)
We tried a CSA for the first time this year, based on the recommendation of friends who were already repeat customers of Orchard Country Produce. We chose the full 21 weeks, and a half share for the two of us. It was all we could do to eat it up. It has been a truly enjoyable and educational experience. And dealing with Gregg Keckler and family has been wonderful.
We've had the chance to try vegetables and fruit we had heard of but never tasted, such as collard greens and kohlrabi, and enjoyed old favorites like Bartlett and Bosc pears and eggplant. It's really neat to take something out of the cooler and say, "Now, what do you suppose this is exactly?" Both the variety and the quality of the produce has been outstanding. The sweet corn finally ended--well after the last of the corn elsewhere--and it was just as sweet and tender as the first corn of the year. Northern Spy and Ginger Gold apples, wow. Farm-fresh sweet potatoes....mmmmmm. And the apple cider is really the best we've had in years.
The 21 weeks have raced by. Today was the final week, and we look forward to more great eating in 2012. Thanks again, Gregg!
diverse and delicious
By: Lisa M Adkins (Jul 18, 2011)
This is my second year subscribing to the Orchard Country produce CSA. First and foremost, the produce (both fruit and vegetables) is fresh and delicious. I find that we eat a much more enjoyable variety of produce now when compared to the produce we typically bought from the grocery. Sour cherries, beets, and tomatillos have been especially fun and scrumptious. In addition to eating the food raw and cooking with items, I really enjoyed putting food up. Some of my favorites include, pickled asparagus, cucumbers, and green beans; strawberry jam; sour cherry jelly; and sweet cherry chutney. This CSA is a great value for the quality, quantity, and diversity of produce.
Excellent produce, wonderful people!
By: Kelsey (Mar 4, 2011)
The 2010 season with the Keckler's was my first experience with CSA, and I was so pleased with everything! The fruits and veggies were always very high quality. Even with a half share, I could rarely finish all of the delicious foods included in it (it was just me, but a couple or a small family would probably have no problem finishing everything off). The boxes always had standards that I loved and also forced me to experiment new foods that I wasn't as familiar with--kale is now one of my favorite foods! They are great about suggesting recipes if you're not familiar with some of the items. One fun thing they do is at the end of each 7-week period, they have a pick-your-share day, where you get to choose your foods off the table up to a certain price. I also liked the jams, honey, meats, and cheeses (and sometimes wildflowers!) they had available off the table.
Aside from the tasty food, the family that runs it is wonderful. Because of my work hours, I started coming to the DOT drop-off early--before the tables were set-up and when Gregg and his son were still just in the van waiting to set up. They always were there waiting for me with a smile and even had my share pulled for me, knowing I was coming early! Bottom line: I 100% recommend working with the Kecklers. You will not be disappointed!
By: Laura Duos (Nov 9, 2010)
During the past year I have made an effort to buy local produce as much as possible. The Keckler's CSA made this task much easier than I thought it would be. I signed up for a half-share of the full 21-week season. I picked up at the DOT market and it was quick and really well organized. The amount of produce in the half share was plenty for two people and offered a nice balance between both fruits and veggies. The communication was great. Every Monday I received an email listing the week's produce so I could plan my weekly menus accordingly. (I even learned to like a few leafy green vegetables that I otherwise wouldn't have tried). They included a number of fun extras: jellies, honey, cider and horseradish. I also could pre-order extras such as eggs, beef and an occasional chicken. At the end of each of the three 7-week seasons we received a credit at their market stand and could pick the items we wanted for the week.
The quality of the produce was consistently good and exceeded the quality of similar produce in grocery stores. This was my first CSA experience, so as with anything there was a bit of a learning curve. Some produce lasted much longer than the same produce I used to buy in a chain grocery store, while other things spoiled faster than I was used to. It was, however, an easy issue to resolve once I learned what I needed to cook quickly and what I could keep for a week or two.
Overall it was a great experience! Thanks to the Keckler's for running such a great CSA and I look forward to seeing you next year!
Couldn't be happier
By: Joshua (Nov 2, 2010)
Gregg and Louise Keckler (the owners of the farm and proprietors of the CSA) are incredibly accommodating and generous. Fall of 2010 I signed up for the Orchard Country CSA because of the great reviews that I read here and because of the convenient drop off locations in and around DC. The signup process is pretty simple although when I signed up there was some ambiguity regarding the exact nature of the full/half shares. A quick email sent to the Keckler's quickly resolved any questions I had about payment, pickup, and the contents of my CSA share.
The quality of the produce is fantastic. Throughout the year the Kecklers have also offered various cuts of beef and other "specialty items" such as cheeses, bologna, eggs, and several other items I would highly recommend. I have definitely expanded my palette as the diverse nature of the items in the CSA continue to impress me week after week.
I wish we lived in a more temperate climate so I could subscribe to a year-round CSA, however, given the circumstances in DC I can't wait until spring rolls around so I can start up my CSA share again.
You can't go wrong with Orchard Country. Gregg and Louise are caring, honest, and hard-working. Thanks for everything.
By: Laura Samuel (Nov 2, 2010)
This has been my first year consistently shopping at the farmers market as well as joining a CSA. It is fun to get such a huge variety of high quality produce. I appreciate that this farm seeks to grow food in a manner that preserves the environment while also providing unsprayed berries and vegetables. Each share was plenty of produce for a family of 4. Their apple cider is the best I have ever had. They grow an apple called Northern Spy that makes an amazing pie and a tasty snack. I bought 5 boxes of seconds tomatoes as well as a bushel of firsts and they created wonderful salsas and sauces. The heirloom tomatoes added a tasty change to the typical salsas and sauces. I have also bought eggs and grass-fed ground beef which have been top quality.
Good variety, low quality
By: Jen Bl (Oct 8, 2010)
This was the first time I ever tried a CSA and I've been quite disappointed with the fall shares. The produce quality is inconsistent but mostly quite disappointing. Many of our apples look like they've been kicked around - covered in bruises and spots. Our carrots were two inches long and with bits rotted away. Our kale was completely coated in bugs. Many of the green beans had white mold inside. The apple cider went bad (undrinkable) on day 2 in the fridge.
Needless to say, I've been scared off CSAs for a while and I'll be going to farmer's markets instead where I can choose decent produce instead of getting the bottom of the barrel, which seems to be what Orchard Country is giving its fall shareholders this year.
Comments on this Review:
Gregg Keckler says: (Oct 25, 2010)
First of all, we are very disappointed that the above reviewer did not mention her dissatisfaction with our CSA to us personally. If CSA members communicate any sort of complaint to us about the shares, we are quick to make things right whether that be refunding money, or replacing damaged produce. If we dont know that there is a problem, how can we possibly know to address it? That being said, we can vouch for the quality of our produce. It is fresh off of our farm and we make all efforts to sort apples, beans, anything that goes into the CSAs shares. If a damaged apples makes it into a share, we trust that our CSA members will be honest enough with us to e-mail and let us know so that we can replace it. We would like to emphasize that our cider is unpasteurized (something that cannot be found in any grocery store or even at most farmer's markets) and we make our CSA members well aware of this fact in the weekly e-mails. CSAs were informed that the cider would become hard quickly since it was not pasteurized and that if it DID go bad before being consumed, it could simply be boiled on a stove and would return to non-hard cider. Finally, we have had many returning CSA members who love the fresh produce- quality, quantity, and variety. As with any type of relationship in life, the more communication and honesty that exists, the better the experiences. Gregg and Louise Keckler Orchard Country Produce