So you want to join a CSA? Well, you have come to the right place then. If you are unfamiliar with what a CSA is, here is a brief and general description of it.
Community-supported agriculture( or Community Shared Agriculture), is a form of an alternative food network, CSA is a socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farming operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit.
By joining a CSA program you are helping a farmer to:
- secure money to help with the seasons start up costs when there is very little or no income available
- more accurately develop a crop plan for the season
- develop a relationship with the people buying their food
Why join our CSA?
Thats a good question and one I think about a lot. There are as many reasons to join a CSA as there are different CSAs. So I am going to try and sum it up in one word: SECURITY.
- The security that you will have access to the best food that is coming off our farm.
- The security that you will know who is growing your food.
- The security that you will know how your food is being grown.
- The security that the food you are eating will improve your health, not degrade it.
- The security that you are getting the best value for your money.
- The security of knowing that your are helping to support local food production and securing the land that produces the food.
What will be in your box?
When opening your box each week, it should feel like you are opening a gift, you should be excited and suprised(pleasantly) and it should be something to look foreward to all week. Part of the experience of belonging to a CSA is never knowing what your box will look like until you open it. Each week your box will be full of fresh, delicious and nutritious produce. You can expect the best of what is in season at that time. This means that in at the beginning of the season, there will be lots of greens. During the middle of the season you can expect a mix of everything. By the end of the season, your box will be loaded with lots of storage produce that you can keep for many weeks to enjoy after the program has finished. Here are some of the crops that we are planing to grow this year which you should expect to find in your box at some point:basil, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, collards, cooking onions, corn, cucumbers, dill, fennel, garlic, green onions, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, parsley, parsnips, peppers, peas, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, rutabaga, salad, spinach, squash, strawberries, sunchokes, sweet onions, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini. Hungry Yet?
Last year, we posted a photo and description of each weeks box on the website HERE. Please feel free to browse this and get a feeling of what you can expect throughout the year. Note that there will be some differences as this years program is going to run for 18 weeks instead of 20 and hopefully we won’t have a large flood in our fields this season. This means that the boxes should be bigger and have more variety.
One comment/request I get from a lot of people is that they want more fruit. So, the respond to this popular wish, we will be putting more fruit in our boxes this season. Details about the fruit(and the possibility of buying in bulk) will be sent out by email before the CSA begins.
Will there be eggs available this year?
Our hens a 1 year older and therefore not as productive as last year. That means that eggs will be in short supply this year. Therefore we will be unable to supply eggs to everyone who wants them this year. If you want Glen Valley eggs, you will have to go to one of our farmers markets and hope that we haven’t sold out yet.
So what does the Pitchfork Farm CSA program look like?
For 2013, here is how we hope things will work out:
-The program will run for 18 weeks. It will begin in early June(weather dependent) and continue for 18 weeks which should take us to early October. Depending on the season, it may be possible to extend the CSA for an additional 4-6 weeks.
-Each share has a base price of $500. If you pay early, you get a discount. If you pay late, you get a penalty. If you pull out your calculator, you will see that you get a box of amazing produce full of the freshest food that our farm has to offer for only $27.50/week.
-If you cannot pay the $500 up front, a refundable $100 deposit will secure your position until we sell out.
-In order to save costs and make sure that all your money is going to the farm, we prefer payment by cheque. If you are unable to pay by cheque, it will be possible to pay by credit card but there will be a small fee to cover the addition cost which goes to the credit card companies. Cheques can be mailed to:
Pitchfork Organic Farm
8550 Bradner Rd
-Once we have your$100 deposit(fully refundable until we sell out), you are guaranteed a spot in our program. Early birds get a worm… I mean discount if you pay in full by April 1st. The regular full payment deadline is June 1st. If you are unable to pay up front in full, it may be possible to pay in instalments If you choose this last option, there will be an additional fee and the details will be worked out on an individual basis.
-We will have an open house at some point in the summer(probably in July or August) to allow everyone to come out to the farm for an organized day of food and fun. This is your chance to engage the people growing your food and see the plants in their native habitat. You are welcome to come out to the farm at any time to see your food in the field but the farmers will probably be busy growing the food and therefore unable to spend much time with you. Volunteering on the farm is possible but must be scheduled in advance.
If you are unsatisfied with our program, we will completely refund the remaining, unused portion of your share. If you would like to cancel your share before the season begins and after this CSA is full, we will completely refund your share minus a $50 administration fee.
As most CSA programs are in high demand and sell out each season, once our program is full, your $100 deposit will only be partially refundable.
How do I get my boxes?
-You will have 4 options on how to get your box:
- You can pick up your box at the farm. If you live close to the farm and want to pick up your box yourself, this is the best way to do it. There are no additional fees to pay and you can walk right into our cooler and pick up your box full of produce the day it was packed(or another day if you can’t make it).
- You can pick up your box at a farmers market. We will be able to deliver your box to one of 4 farmers markets that are supplied by producers at Glen Valley Organic Farm. These include the Langley market on Wednesdays, the New West Market on Thursdays, the Lonsdale Quay market on Saturdays and the White Rock Market on Sundays.
- You can be a host which means that you will be a depot for other CSA members to pick up their box at. One advantage to this is that you will get your box delivered to your door free of charge. Please indicate on the signup form if you want to be a depot location.
- You can pick up your box at a host depot location. At the moment, we have a limited number of depots for people to pick up their boxes. As signup continues and people offer to become depots, the list should grow. A current list of depots is listed on the signup form, please choose one of these. If there is not a location close by to you and you are unable to be a depot, please indicate that you would like to wait and see if a location near you becomes available.
Ready to sign up? Go to our CSA Signup page and complete the form to get involved! Once you sign up, you will receive an email shortly. Please do not send any payment until requested to do so.