Community Supported Agriculture
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is community supported agriculture (CSA)?
- How does your CSA program work?
- Can I share my membership with another family?
- Where do I pick up my share?
- What share size should I purchase?
- Do you provide items other than vegetables, such as fruit and eggs?
- What happens if I canít pick up my share?
- How do I pay, and do I have to pay the full amount up front?
- Are you certified organic?
- What if I donít know what to do with all this produce?
- What kind of produce should I expect, and how does it change with the seasons?
- How is your produce different from what is available at the grocery store or market?
Community supported agriculture is a program in which a farm offers memberships directly to customers. Customers pledge support early in the year and then receive a weekly share of the harvest throughout the season. CSA allows farmers to receive some income early in the season when supplies are needed for the coming season, and also allows the risks of farming to be shared more equally between the farmer and the customer. In return, the customer receives a weekly shipment of farm-fresh vegetables at a discounted price.
Our CSA season is 33 weeks long, from the first week in May through mid December. In addition to a weekly produce share, members receive a newsletter that outlines the share contents and provides recipes and updates on happenings at the farm. We only grow produce for our 60 member CSA. This allows us to focus our energy on produce quality and on customer service to our CSA members.
You are more than welcome to split your share with another family. You can even take turns picking up your produce. However, we do ask that you consolidate your payments to us to simplify the paperwork. Please keep in mind that large shares are not exactly twice the size of small shares, and items in each share are not necessarily divisible by two. For example, to split a share in a given week might require cutting a cabbage or melon in half.
Shares are available to be picked up during the season at the farm in Eagle Creek (any time after 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday) and in SE Portland at the Tucker-Maxon School at Holgate and 28th Place (from 5:00-7:00 on Tuesday). The farm is located on Weitz Lane, just off Hwy 224 in Eagle Creek.
Generally, our small share is designed for 1-2 folks that eat a lot of fresh produce or a small family that cooks from scratch a few nights a week. Large shares are designed for a small family that cooks most meals at home. Small and large shares receive the same diversity of items, and just differ in the amounts of each item. In general, the appropriate share size for you depends upon your cooking habits and the number of members in your family. If you give us some specific information about your family size and cooking and eating habits we can help you pick the correct share size.
Currently our main focus is in growing vegetables. In the past we have given out small amounts of fruit (apples, cherries, and plums) from our fruit trees when they are available. These are considered a bonus to our vegetable offerings. We do have young fruit plantings that should start producing in a few years. We will not be selling eggs in the 2011 season.
You may ask a friend to pick up your share for you. We donate unclaimed shares to the Estacada Food Bank. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer refunds for unclaimed shares.
Payment is accepted in the form of cash or personal check. At this time we do not accept credit cards. We require a $100 deposit early in the season to secure a membership. One half of the remaining balance is due on April 1, and the final payment is due on August 1. We are happy to consider alternative payment plans if it is a financial burden to make such large payments.
No. We are not certified organic by an accredited institution. However, we do follow the National Organic Program which outlines organic production as defined by the US Department of Agriculture. We grow all our fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, use certified organic seeds when they are available, and apply only certified organic amendments and our own compost prepared using organic methods. Nutrition of the food we grow is also central to our practices. Therefore, we pay great attention to balancing the soil chemistry of our fields to ensure you and your family enjoy fresh produce that is as nutritious as possible. This means we select vegetable varieties and apply organic inputs with the health of your family in mind.
A part of your CSA membership includes information on how to prepare and cook your vegetables. Weíll give you information on how to store and prepare your veggies, as well as recipes that help you prepare meals with your share. In 2011 we are preparing an electronic directory of all the produce we grow, so that youíll have a central place to get information on the vegetables that are in your share. Weíre always happy to discuss ways to prepare your vegetables. Just ask!
The amount and diversity of vegetables are lowest in spring, highest in summer and fall. Expect lots of greens in spring and root crops in fall and a little of everything in between. A large share is approximately (not always exactly) twice the size of a small share. You can also visit our blog and look at old newsletters to get an idea of what we've given out at different times of the year in the past. The pictures of each week's share shown on the blog are for small shares. Hereís what you might expect in a typical share by season, for a small share.
Our produce is generally fresher, more flavorful, and longer-lasting than whatís available in a large regional or national chain grocery store, because it hasn't been travelling through a distribution chain for days or weeks. However, because we donít use chemical sprays on our produce, occasionally youíll notice a little pest damage or find a hitchhiker or two on your produce. Generally, this shouldnít detract from the taste or storability of your produce. If youíre ever unhappy with the quality of our produce, please let us know, and we will offer you a replacement. We like to be notified when our members receive veggies that don't meet their expectations.
- Big Leaf Farm, PO Box 24, Eagle Creek, OR 97022
- (503) 367-8124 firstname.lastname@example.org