Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutually beneficial relationship between a local farm and the community of people who receive the food the farm produces.
Members purchase a share of the harvest at the beginning of the season and in return receive a basket of fresh certified organic vegetables during the growing season. CSA provides a model that enables small farms to compete in a market dominated by industrial agriculture. Shareholders agree to share the inherent benefits and risks of the growing season.
People are increasingly separated from the source of their food. CSA is a creative response to this crisis. It is a model that emphasizes locally grown, which promotes a local economy, and a safe food system. Participation in a CSA leads to a deeper understanding of our interdependence on one another and the land. The farm supplies not only fresh, nutritious food, but an opportunity for a community to reconnect with one another and the rhythms of the seasons. Advantages include:
- Eat veggies packed full of nutrients and vitamins
- Get exposed to new vegetables and ways of cooking
- Kids typically favour food from their farm—even veggies they’ve never been known to eat!
- Develop a relationship with the farmer that grows your food and learn more about how food is grown
- Lighten your carbon footprint by eating food from our off-grid farm
For The Community
- Strengthens your local community
- Protects your environment; water ways, soil fertility, bird and animal habitat and genetic diversity
- Fosters a healthy culture of food and eating
- Encourages young people to enter into farming
- Food from a known source is safer for your health
For Your Farmer
- Get to spend time marketing food in down season before 12+ hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season when most expenses are incurred
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Shareholders receive an assortment of 7 to 10 freshly harvested, seasonal, certified organic vegetables, including familiar varieties and flavourful heirlooms. The share size is the same whether you pick-up weekly or bi-weekly. A base share contains five to seven items selected by the farmer (ones we know are most everyone's faves), the remainder is made up of choice items (with the exception of the beginning of the season when crops are just starting to produce). Choice items are on a first come, first serve basis (i.e. if we need to harvest 100 shares that week, and the choice is beets OR broccoli we harvest 50 of each so there is no waste left at the end of the day).
What’s in season when?
- Early-season: salad mix, spinach, arugula, peas, radishes, sweet turnips, green onions, kale, chard, fresh herbs; cilantro, parsley, basil etc.
- Mid-season: the above plus tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, string beans, garlic, onions, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, beets, potatoes
- Late-season: the above plus apples, elderberries, watermelons, leeks, winter squash, cabbage, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes
How many people does a share feed?
A weekly share can feed one voracious vegetable eater, two veggie lovers, three healthy eaters or even a family of four. It is dependent on your households weekly fresh vegetable consumption, how much you eat out, if you are growing your own garden etc. Past CSA members find that they begin eating more veggies when they participate in CSA because the flavours are so fresh and delicious. We recommend a weekly share or a double share for those who want to incorporate a good amount of veggies into their diet. The size of a share may vary slightly throughout the year with the season, weather, and other variables.
1 bunch of radishes
1 bunch of salad turnips
1 pint of peas
1 150 bag of salad mix
1 150 bag of spinach
1 head of broccoli
1 bunch of beets
1 bunch of green onions
1 bunch of garlic scapes
1 bunch of kale
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 pint of peppers
3–4 summer squash/zucchini
1 bunch of carrots
1 quart of string beans
1 bunch of basil
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of red onions
1 bulb of garlic
1–2 winter squash
1 bunch of beets
1 150g bag of arugula
1 quart of potatoes
1 head of cabbage
1 bunch of carrots
1 bunch of swiss chard
1 bunch of leeks
Who can pick up my share?
Anyone! However, we recommend you come to at least the first pick-up to meet us and familiarize yourself with the pick-up system. If you are sending someone who has never picked up a CSA share before please brief them on how the pick-up works.
How do I know what will be in my share each week?
On Sunday we do a walk about of the farm to visually assess which crops are ready for harvest. On Monday we send out a newsletter listing the contents of that week’s share. Sometimes what you receive may be slightly different from what is listed in the newsletter as when we do the actual harvest on Wednesday morning, we may find yields are slightly more or less than anticipated. Please see above for the lists of what we grow, and example baskets.
What if I’m away or forget to pick up my share?
If you’re away consider having a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbour pick-up for you. No need to give us any advance notice. If you forget to pick up your share we will donate your veggies to a local family in need, give them to the pick-up host, or compost them. We do not keep shares beyond the designated pick-up times.
Are your veggies pre-washed?
Most of the soil is removed from the vegetables. We recommend that you treat our produce like you pulled it out of your own garden—wash it before consumption.
How do we decide what goes to market and what goes to CSA?
There is actually really very little decision making that goes on in this area. In fact, in the dead of winter we make a separate plan and do separate plantings for each venue. The plantings may be right beside one another but we have some nifty programs that allow us to estimate the number of ‘row feet’ we need to plant of each crop, like carrots. From there, we always plant about 10-20% MORE than we think we’ll need to account for poor germination, pests or disease etc. Sometimes, if we have a really good crop of something intended for CSA we will bring the surplus to market but if something else doesn’t do well we will harvest what was intended for market and give it to CSA.
Can I purchase additional shares from time to time?
We sometimes get requests for members to purchase additional shares. The reason we have steered away from this is that we don’t really know what we should charge. The average cost of a basket is $35 ($700/20 weeks) but that is not how CSA works as some baskets are a bit bigger and some a bit smaller depending on the season and some week’s have more ‘valuable’ crops than other weeks. The idea behind CSA is that folks commit for the season and we over the four months they get a share of our weekly harvest but the ‘value’ is definitely not exact from week to week. Also the way our planning works is that we try to produce an almost exact amount to be grown based on the number of CSA shareholders we have signed up in the spring and most vegetables need to be harvested every week—not just once. All that said, in any given week we may have a bit extra and may be able to accommodate your request so it’s always worth sending us a quick email to find out.
What if I am not familiar with some of the veggies you grow?
Have no fear. We will hold your hand throughout your CSA experience. Each week we send a newsletter with our CSA harvest list, storage tips and lots of recipe ideas (especially for less familiar veggies). We’ll also be on hand at the pick-ups to answer any questions you might have.