Monday, March 3, 2014

CSA PLAN

We're taking sign-ups for the 2014 CSA now.  A CSA is the next best thing to growing your own food, so if you'd like to eat the kind of food you'd grow for yourself but you aren't in a position to do so, consider joining our CSA!  The details, outlined below, are pretty much the same as last year.  Weekly CSA pick-ups can be made at the farm after 1pm on Tuesdays. Come see us at the farm!

WHY DO WE OFFER A CSA?
   We want the CSA to be especially for those customers that want to move toward getting nearly all of their food dollars out of the global/corporate/commodity food system (and all the harmful and risky inputs on which that system depends.)  Our CSA isn't intended to enrich your corporate diet; it's intended to begin the process of replacing it.  We believe small diversified farms can offer a thoroughly homegrown alternative to the whole system of supermarket agriculture.  That's how we want to eat; it's mostly how we do eat; and our CSA is how we want to bring customers into that whole system of farming and eating with us.  By partnering together more closely, we see the long-term potential to regain local control of pretty much everything we eat. If that isn't a goal you share, as we expect it won't be for most of our customers, we hope we can still find lots of common ground at the farmers' market or through farm pick-ups without the special partnership involved in the CSA.  If, on the other hand, it is a goal you share, read on!

THE CSA PLAN
   2014 will be our 10th year offering CSA shares.  Our CSA plan consists of 23 weekly boxes with a value of $21 each, for a total of $483.  If you pay in full by March 31 we'll give you the last box as a bonus, so the total cost to you would be $462.  (Or talk to us about payment options.)  We're also offering half season shares at $231 for 11 weekly boxes (covering the first 12 weeks of the season with one bye week and renewable for the second half) for first-time members to try out the CSA without making a full-season commitment. You have the option to e-mail us specific requests for your box in response to our weekly e-mail.  If you want more than $21 worth of farm products any given week, we'll have you pay for the extra in cash that week.  In addition to the regular produce items, you can also request things that we wouldn't automatically include as part of your box (plants, eggs, flowers, soap, candles, bread, beef...anything we sell from our farm.)  For things that don't fit into the weekly box (like shares of beef, honey by the case, etc.), we'll give you first dibs as CSA members.

THE PRESERVING SHARE
   As an optional addition to the regular full-season CSA share, we also offer a "preserving share."  For an average of $10 we'll give you an additional share of all one item suitable for preserving for the off-season (things that might be frozen or dehydrated or pickled or canned or simply stored in a cool closet.)  The preserving share will be deeply discounted off the regular price (typically about half price.)  It may include "seconds" with cosmetic or other flaws (e.g. odd shaped cucumbers or cracked tomatoes or misshapen carrots or onions with soft spots or strawberries with little bug bites.) Other times it will simply be an item of which we have an over-abundance that week (things like beets, cabbages, eggplant, field peas, cooking greens, okra, green peppers, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, summer squash...)  The price is an additional $160 for 16 boxes (with possibilities for continuing past the 16th box.) We'll choose from the 23 weeks when you're receiving a regular CSA box to give you your preserving shares.  We'll make sure you get at least 12 different items by your 23rd week.  If you're looking for an economical way to enjoy the same food we sell in-season during the off-season, and if you're flexible enough to deal with preserving a larger quantity of a different crop each week (occasionally with a very short shelf life), then the preserving share might be just the thing for you.  We're only offering a very limited number of preserving shares, however.

WHAT IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN OUR CSA CONCEPT BUT NOT IN THE FOCUS ON THE WEEKLY BOX?
   If you'd like to build a deeper relationship with a particular farm like ours but you're more interested in things like freezer shares of meat, eggs, honey by the case, other bulk purchases, hand-harvested grains and dry beans, maybe even cooperative milking arrangements... (perhaps because you grow your own year-round supply of vegetables already), then we don't have a prepared plan to present to you, but please come visit.  If you're serious about going beyond the farmers' market basics but don't have enough land or time to do it all yourself, there are lots of options to discuss that are too complicated or specialized for any kind of standardized offering.  Special arrangements would likely require a more serious level of commitment to local food, including notably items with much cheaper supermarket counterparts.

WHY SHOULD YOU LET US CHOOSE WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR BOX?
   If you don't e-mail us an order we'll pack your box (or if you order less than $21 we'll make up the difference ) with a full assortment of vegetables, strawberries and any other fruit we have, mushrooms, other garden and field crops (like peanuts, popcorn...), etc.  You have the option of placing an order that will cover the whole box, but there are several reasons to minimize your particular requests.  One reason is that it's a good way to discover things you might not otherwise have enjoyed.  Another reason is that we'll choose the crops that are at their peak of quality each week. Letting us choose also frees you from having to e-mail us if e-mail isn't convenient for you.  And if you let us choose, that allows us to include things that we don't have in enough quantity to offer to everyone or that didn't make the e-mail list for other reasons. Often that means extending the season for crops: for example, we may have a limited quantity of early tomatoes for a couple weeks before and a limited quantity of late tomatoes for a few weeks after the main tomato season.  It also means that we can include items that we grow in smaller quantities or perennial crops (especially the many types of fruit we're growing) that haven't reached full production yet (e.g. Asian pears, blueberries, tame blackberries, figs, sour cherries...) These are all marginal things -- the bulk of what we'd pack for you would be the same as what we list in the e-mail, centered on vegetables -- but we enjoy being able to treat our CSA members to these kinds of extras.

WHAT IF YOU'RE OUT OF TOWN OR CAN'T COME TO THE PICK-UP ONE WEEK? WHAT ABOUT EXTRA WEEKS?
   Our CSA season should run at least 26 weeks, so you should have at least 3 bye weeks (4 if you don't count the bonus week.)  If you don't want to get a box one week, just let us know by the order deadline on the day before pick-up.  If we don't hear from you by the order deadline, we'll pack you a box like we described in the paragraph above.  If you reach your 23rd box before the end of the season and would like to continue, you'll have the option of paying $21 each week to continue to receive a CSA share for any remaining weeks to the season.

HOW TO PROCEED IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN JOINING
   If you haven't ever been to our farm before, we require a visit to the farm before the start of the CSA.  (Anyone is welcome to make plans to visit or pick up an order at the farm.)  If you have any questions call (704-546-5074) or e-mail us.  If you think you're ready to sign up, contact us, and we'll send you a sign-up form. We're taking CSA members on a first come first serve basis until we're full.  To hold your spot, we ask for at least a $100 deposit. If you were a CSA member last year, we'll save a spot for you if you (1) e-mail us by February 15 to say you'll be sending a deposit and (2) send us the minimum deposit by February 28.

3 comments:

Carol said...

Is there some way or time that is mutually comfortable to talk about: 1., a visit, 2., the availability of honey now for gift baskets, and 3., joining the CSA & you for 2011?

Eric & Melissa Brown said...

We welcome and encourage anyone interested in buying from us to visit. We're actually planning a farm tour for anyone that wants to come for tomorrow, Saturday, at 2pm, along with a sweet potato variety tasting to follow, but give us a call and make plans to visit another time if tomorrow doesn't work for you. We essentially sold out of honey two or three months ago, so we don't have honey to sell at this time. We'll be glad to talk about our CSA and try to help you figure out if you want to join. Thanks!

Anna Posey said...

Thanks for your delicious and conscientious farming. I thought you might like to know I mentioned your incredible cornmeal on my blog yesterday. Keep up the good work, and congratulations on your new farmhand. http://honeybeagotheart.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/cornbread-or-keep-your-skillet-good-and-greasy/