Here are some answer (more or less) to some commonly asked questions. If you want a more complete answer to one of these questions or have a question not included below, please get in touch with us.
Are there guidelines for entries in the pie contest?
We take a liberal view of what constitutes a pie. It has to have a crust and something filling the crust, but we really don’t go beyond that in defining what a pie is. While most of the pies entered over the year have been of the more familiar sort (with apple the most common), there is nothing to stop you from concocting any sort of filling–and any sort of crust. You could make a quiche or a vegetable tart or a parsnip pie (I made one once; I cannot actually recommend it)–or whatever strikes your fancy.
Can CSA members visit the farm?
We encourage members to visit the farm. We think that visiting the farm is a basic part of the value of a share. It is fairly uncommon in this country to know where your food really comes from, let alone be able to visit that place. Of course, a lot of food in this country is made in places only an industrial chemist would find scenic. But presumably you joined the CSA at least in part because you like the idea of eating food that you know has come straight from the farm. And what better way to really understand that than actually to see the farm itself and see your food growing in our fields, which is a site anyone, even an industrial chemist, can enjoy.
Can I change my pick up site during the season?
Yes, you can switch to a different site for the remainder of the season or just for some portion of it. Even for one week. Just be sure to let us know before the delivery day on which you want to change so we can be sure to send your box to the right place.
Can I pay for a share in installments?
Our default plan requires payment of the full share price by June 1. We are, however, happy to work out an installment plant with members who prefer that. With the basic installment plan, members send in their balance in three payments due on June 1, July 1 and August 1. We can, if necessary, make other arrangements to suit the requirements of members. As general rule, we do ask that any installment plan not involve a lot of payments and that the balance is paid by the middle of the season. To arrange an installment plan simply contact us, and we will work it out.
Do I have to pick up my share at a specific time?
At most of our sites, you do not have to get your share at a specific time. We give a schedule of what time we will arrive at the various sites, but there is no need for members to be at the site at that time. It is simply the earliest time you can get your box of vegetables. You are free to pick up your share thereafter at your convenience. Well, up to a point. After a while (usually a couple of days), the site host is likely to dispose of any remaining vegetables.
A few of our sites handle distribution internally. If you are at one of the hose sites you will most likely hear from someone at the site about the timing of the share distribution.
Wherever you pick up, we recommend you get your vegetables as soon as you can. We send out fresh produce and we try to pack it in ways that will keep it in good shape for as long as possible, but if you wait until Friday afternoon to get your share it will not be as attractive as it was when we delivered it.
Do you have work shares?
Years ago we offered work shares (reduced price shares for people who committed to do a certain number of hours of work on the farm each season). But few of our members wanted one, and scheduling work shifts for those who did proved complicated, especially since the few times members could come out to work were usually the few times that we are not working. So we have stopped offering work shares. We do, however, try to schedule at least one farm day a month for members. It is a chance for members to tour the farm, meet the crew and participate in some farm activity, which might be weeding, but could also be a tomato tasting or hot sauce making. And if you really want to do some farm work you are more than welcome to join us during any work day.
Do you want the boxes back?
Yes, we would like to get back the boxes. It is our intention to reuse them as many times as possible to reduce the amount of packing we use and to keep our packing costs manageable (each box costs more than a dollar; if we had to use new ones each week it would cost us around $4000 dollars, a cost we could only bear by putting up the share price). We understand that members cannot always get the boxes back to us right away. We have enough boxes to handle that. But please try to return them within a couple of weeks. Or even better, bring a bag to the site and put your share in it. That way, you never have to give another thought to returning your box and you get a quick view of the tasty produce you will be enjoying that week.
To return your boxes to the farm, simply undo them (please try to ease out the tabs so they do not tear off, which makes the boxes unusable), flatten them and return them to your pick up site. There should be a container for them at the site.
How many people will your share feed?
The basic answer is somewhere between one and twelve people, which we recognize is not very helpful even if it is true. A better answer, however, is somewhat hard to come by because it depends on all sorts of factors that have at least as much to do with how you cook and eat as they do with what we grow and hand out. How often do you eat at home? How much do you eat? Do you like to cook? What portion of your diet consists of vegetables? Do you enjoy discovering new things to eat? We probably cannot answer these questions for you. Well, we can, but not necessarily with any great accuracy.
What we can say is that our shares are usually in the 8-12 pound range (they are sometimes lighter the first few weeks and often heavier in the heart of the season). We hand out familiar vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, squash, basil and potatoes more often and in larger quantities than we do the less common ones. But we try to include a good mix each week (your box might contain as many as 15 different crops) and we try to change the variety from week to week (though when they are in season we hand out tomatoes every week, about which we have yet to receive any complaints).
What vegetables do you grow?
We grow every vegetable we think we can get away with in this climate, including the occasional artichoke. Well, almost every vegetable. We have not grown tomatilloes in a few years, though we do have husk cherries. We are out of the okra farming business, probably for good because most people don’t like okra and it makes our arms itch when we pick it. And we don’t grow sweet corn. Sweet corn requires a lot of nitrogen, which is not cheap or easy to put in the soil when you farm organically; it is well liked by bugs, especially ear worms; and it takes up a lot of space. So there are three vegetables we don’t grow, which leaves us with only about 70 different crops. And in most cases we grow a number of varieties of those crops. For instance, this year we have nine kinds of potatoes, ten kinds of onions, 14 kinds of lettuce and 25 different tomatoes. Some of these varieties may be familiar, but in many cases you would never find them in a store. For instance, we grow yellow, white and purple carrots, black tomatoes, red turnips and striped cucumbers.