CSA details

CSA Details for 2018

WHAT IS A CSA SHARE?CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In short it is a subscription to our farm. Members pay in advance for a weekly share of our harvest. CSA is our backbone and without it, our farming style would not be possible. Subscriptions help us cover many of the up-front costs associated with farming such as seeds, compost, and equipment as well as the labor of us farmers. We grow a wide variety of crops, and it is precisely this diversity that is integral to sustainability. Unfortunately today’s economies of scale encourage most farms to specialize in only a few crops which lead to monoculture and the collapse of many healthy ecosystems.

2018 will be the seventh season of our CSA program. We are a small family farm and a lot of our labor is done by hand, and with small sized equipment that is suitable for our scale. CSA farms are putting the family back on the farm and are closer to what agriculture was in the beginning half of the 20th century. We are a chemical free operation, following in the footsteps of Jimmy’s grandparents and their contemporaries, who were all technically “organic” farmers.

HOW FARM FARM CSA WORKSOur farm is not USDA Certified Organic, but we follow all of their guidelines. In exchange for your payment, you will receive a variety box of super fresh and chemical-free produce once a week for 19 weeks in the main season, with the option to join a 6 week winter extension program. We have two share sizes to fit your needs, a description and prices can be found on the sign-up page. Just like most subscription services, we provide a discount off of the ‘cover’ price, making it a great value for some of the freshest and most responsibly grown produce. Our goal is to provide 20% more produce than the cost of the share in the summer, and 10% more in the winter.

We harvest on Tuesday and Wednesday for Thursday CSA delivery, and have ten pick-up location options in the surrounding area, including Delano and Minneapolis (full list found on the CSA sign-up page) for you to pick up your share. Simply bring the empty and collapsed box from the previous week to your pick-up site during the allotted hours and grab a full one packed just for you! We will email you a list of what we are planning to put in the week’s box on Tuesday so you will have some time to plan what you’ll do with it. This list should be at least 75% accurate, but a lot can happen overnight on a farm. If the Tuesday list differs from what is actually in the shares, we will email you an amendment on Wednesday evening.

We are a local farm. The farthest we deliver any of our produce is 36 ½ miles away. We try to source as many of our inputs as locally as possible which keeps our money (and yours) in the community. You will have the opportunity to become part of our farm through our farm update newsletters, volunteer opportunities, and hopefully farm visits/ potlucks. You will know about our challenges and successes and there will be no more mystery in where your food comes from.

IS CSA RIGHT FOR ME?This is the golden question! We understand that a CSA share isn’t going to work for everyone so here are a few things to think about before signing up:

CSA members view their kitchens as a creative space and are not afraid to try something new; loving the idea of transforming the freshest ingredients available into the most delicious meals possible. It’s hard to please everyone at the same time, but we do our best to put together a weekly box that is both interesting and approachable. There will be a focus on the more popular and well known items, but you are going to get the occasional ‘weird greens’, Daikon radish, Napa cabbage, hot peppers, and even kohlrabi. If you do not like to try new things, and prefer to only eat a few select veggies, then CSA might not be for you. We are always an email away for cooking tips for that veggie you may have never tried before.

As a CSA member you would get a box of produce every week, and it may take some time for you to get into the swing of things! CSA members who return year after year love to eat well. They understand the importance of fresh, local, and organic food and go out of their way to get it. If you prepare a lot of your own food at home using fresh ingredients, than CSA might be a good fit for you. If you only have a couple nights a week to cook, maybe the farmers market or local co-op grocery store is a better fit for you.

When harvest time arrives we carefully decide what goes into that week’s box for the Full and Half share members respectively. There is no customization of CSA boxes. If you can think of five veggies off the top of your head that you will not eat under any circumstances, or if you prefer to pick and choose your items each week then our CSA program might not work for you. If you are aspiring to eat better and cook more, than try out our CSA share. We try to be as helpful as we can with cooking tips, but eating your way through the CSA share each week is up to you!

We understand that no one likes to waste food, and would like to mention that when you get your produce directly from a farmer through CSA you are eliminating much of the waste inherent in other options for purchasing fresh produce. CSA allows farmers to grow in proportion to demand thanks to the commitment of members, instead of investing money and labor into crops that they then must find a market for. Aside from growing your own food, buying a CSA share is one of the most conscientious ways you can eat; it is the shortest route from our field to your table. This means you should feel good about it, that it will be fresh, taste great, and have more nutritional value than something that sat on a truck and or shelf for days or even weeks.

Not all of the produce you will find in the CSA share will look like it came from Whole Foods or Lunds, although it will taste at least as good. We do our best to produce high quality vegetables and our main concern is freshness and flavor. Carrots can have appendages, bell peppers can be odd shapes, tomatoes can crack, sometimes the spring flea beetles turn into summer flea beetles, and if we get several inches of rain in an hour, produce might need some extra elbow grease when you wash it at home. We do our best not to include veggies that are over-ripe or damaged to the point that it affects storage life. We wash most of the produce that will go into your box, unless doing so shortens its shelf life (most herbs) or can easily bruise it (tomatoes, melons).

By becoming a CSA member you are supporting a small and local farm a whole step further than by simply buying our produce—you help make our farm possible! We cannot stress enough how passionate we feel about the need for small farms growing food for human consumption without the use of chemicals, especially in a time when the modern agricultural practices are encouraging the exact opposite. Being a CSA member means letting us grow good food for you and there is nothing we would rather do. There will be names and faces behind the produce you eat and we hope you will feel like part of the farm. With your payment, you are contributing to the success of the ever-growing local food movement.

SHARE THE BOUNTY, SHARE THE RISKVegetables grow outdoors and are exposed to wind, rain, heat, cold, animals and bugs, hail, tornadoes, excessive rain, drought, escaping livestock from neighbors, meteor showers…. It can be risky business. Therefore we must do everything possible to guarantee a successful harvest. Our livelihood depends on it. We have constructed five unheated field tunnels that help protect some of our produce from the elements. We irrigate in times of drought, grow in raised beds to help with drainage, cover crops with anti-insect netting, use electric fence to deter deer… but no matter what we do, there is always the chance of unforeseen loss. And with an ever changing climate, the unpredictable Mid-Western weather is becoming more erratic. This is one of the reasons we strive to create diversity on the farm, not only in the crops we grow but in the varieties of those crops as well. Each one responds differently to environmental pressures presented by weather, pests and diseases. They also possess the ability to form beneficial relationships with other species (fellow plants, birds, animals, insects, and microorganisms) in their environment that strengthens their chances for survival. A diverse garden grown without use of chemicals makes for a healthier, more resilient ecosystem.

By signing up to our CSA program, you are agreeing to share in the many risks and rewards of a small scale, local and chemical-free farm. We grow a wide array of veggies not only to cover a broader spectrum of growing niches and enrich the soil, but also to help ensure an interesting and delicious box for you weekly--even under the less than ideal growing conditions nature sometimes throws at us.

WHY CHOOSE FARM FARM CSA?We are one of many CSA farms in the area, and choosing the right farm to grow for you might not be easy. While we can’t say our farm is better than any other, we want to highlight a few aspects that make our CSA program successful.

We are a CSA farm first and foremost, and growing quality produce for our members is our focus. 2018 will be our seventh season growing. Most of the farm’s revenue comes from CSA subscriptions and we spend the majority of our time on the farm ensuring that we are growing the best possible produce for our members. Without the support of our members, we wouldn’t be a farm.

Looking at what a CSA farm grows can help give you an idea if they’re the right fit for you. Many grow a number of crops in common but have some unique offerings that set them apart. For example we do not grow sweet corn, sweet potatoes, or strawberries. We encourage you to check out our crop list and compare it to other farms if there are certain things you are hoping to get (or not get) in your share.

Like several other growers in the area, our CSA shares are available in two sizes, Full or Half, to fit your household’s needs. Some farms only offer an every other week option for their Half share, we deliver both Full and Half shares every week of the nineteen week CSA.

When preparing the different items for the boxes, we take the time to divide everything into portions so every share is as equal as possible. This also helps us keep track of the value that goes into each share (cost of the share plus 20% in the summer) to ensure you are getting what you paid for and more!

Our season begins early and ends late. We start the first seeds for our transplants at the end of February in a heated greenhouse, and we start seeding into the unheated field tunnels in early March when there is usually still plenty of snow on the ground. A majority of our field tunnel production is dedicated to the CSA shares so we typically have spring crops a few weeks earlier than we would otherwise, and often our tomatoes and peppers are ready as early as July. There are only a few local farms that offer winter CSA and we are proud to be one of them. Our winter CSA shares for the past three years had freshly harvested produce in their last box in mid December.

WHAT GOES INTO THE SHARES?We choose our crop varieties based on how tasty and vigorous they are, and grow them seasonally. We harvest carefully to maintain quality and deliver promptly to guarantee freshness. It is in our best interest to put together an interesting and diverse box so you’ll want to stay with us season after season. More popular items and staples will be in your boxes most often with specialty crops spread throughout the season to add interesting flavors and flair. The spring shares will start with salad items like lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, carrots, sweet turnips, beets, and other oddities like kohlrabi. With summer come the fruiting veggies: ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and spicy peppers, zucchini, summer squash and eggplant, the juiciest and most amazing melons, and crisp beans. The fall rounds out with storage crops like potatoes, storage onions, shallots, the sweetest and most tender spinach, crisp carrots, and squash of all shapes and sizes. For a complete list of our crops, see below.

CROP LISTThis list is an overview of most of the crops that we hope to include in the 2018 Shares. It shows the months that we anticipate being able to include them in your boxes. This is not a list of when we will include the different crops, just when they are in season. The list is subject to change due to weather and pest pressure, and other unforeseen circumstances.
(Items marked * will only be in the winter shares.)

Crop

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Arugula

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Beans (snap)

 

x

x

x

 

 

 

Beans (dried)*

 

 

 

 

 

x

x

Belgium Endive*

         

x

x

Beets

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Broccoli

x

 

 

x

x

x

 

Brussels Sprouts

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

Cabbage

 

x

x

x

x

X

x

Carrots

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Cauliflower

 

 

 

x

x

x

 

Celery

 

 

x

x

x

 

 

Collard Greens

 

 

 

 

x

x

 

Cucumbers

x

x

x

x

 

 

 

Daikon Radish

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

Eggplant

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

Garlic Scapes

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Bulbs

 

 

x

x

x

x

x

Greens, Asian

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Hakurei Turnip

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Herbs

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Jerusalem Artichoke*

         

x

x

Kale

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Kohlrabi

x

 

 

x

x

x

x

Leeks

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

Lettuce, heads

x

x

 

x

x

x

 

Lettuce Mix

 x

 x

x

x

x

x

x

Muskmelon

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

Napa Cabbage

   

x

x

x

x

x

Onions

 

x

x

x

x

x

x

Onion, Shallots

 

 

x

x

x

x

x

Onion, Scallions

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Parsnip

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

Peas (snap)

x

 x

 

 

 

 

 

Peppers (sweet & hot)

 

x

x

x

x

 

 

Potatoes

 

 x

 x

x

x

x

x

Radish

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Romanesco

 

 

 

x

x

x

 

Smoked Jalapenos

     

x

x

x

x

Spinach

x

 

 

x

x

x

x

Summer Squash

 

x

x

x

x

 

 

Swiss Chard

x

x

x

x

x

x

 

Thai Chili, dried

         

x

x

Tomatoes

 

 x

x

x

x

 

 

Tomatillos

   

x

x

     

Turnips, Purple Top

 

 

 

x

x

x

x

Watermelon

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

Watermelon Radish

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

Zucchini

x

x

x

x