Frequently Asked Questions
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) promotes a sustainable relationship between farms and their customers. In the CSA model, customers purchase shares in a farm before the growing season starts and receive regular distributions of fresh produce throughout harvest time. When you join a CSA, you receive a steady supply of wholesome, locally-grown produce while connecting to the sources of your food at an affordable price.
Is the produce organic?
We are not certified organic, but we follow organic growing methods and work towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of the farm through the use of cover crops, regular crop rotations, and other techniques that promote the health of the soil and the land. Our farmer is happy to answer any questions about our growing, harvesting, and livestock management practices. Direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s in a share?
The amount of produce in your CSA share will vary over the course of the six-month season. Our aim is to provide an average of approximately $30 (for big shares) or $15 (for small shares) worth of produce per week were you to shop for similar organically-grown produce at farm stands or health food stores. If you comparison shop week to week, you’ll find that the actual market value of the produce in your share is often much higher than that, particularly if you make full use of u-pick opportunities.
We grow over 150 varieties of vegetables, offering you a wide assortment of items throughout the season. You will have an occasional choice among two or three items, but in general the items and amounts in your weekly share will be determined by the farmers. We’ll provide recipe suggestions in our weekly newsletter to help you cook with unusual ingredients (e.g., tomatillos, kohlrabi, broccoli rabe, and edamame) and to give you new ideas for serving old favorites. We even have tips to help you learn to love the items you think you hate!
Most items will be harvested and washed for you prior to pick-up in the Harvest Room, where you will weigh out the week’s selections into your own bags or baskets. In addition, Shareholders have unlimited access to our expanded pick-your-own herb garden. Throughout the season we will also offer occasional u-pick crops such as string beans, cherry tomatoes, flowers, and peas, giving you the opportunity to go out into the field and become a farmer for a few minutes. Shareholders who take full advantage of u-pick opportunities receive the greatest value for their investment, typically well above the cost of the share and the extra time it takes to harvest.
By signing CSA Commitment Agreement upon registration, the Shareholders of the Phillies Bridge Farm Project CSA “collectively assume the risks and reap the rewards of community farming. We can make no guarantee of exact amounts or availability of particular items from week to week, or over the course of the growing season. The farm cannot offer refunds, should you be unable to continue through the season.”
EXAMPLE OF SPRING SHARE (BIG)
1 bunch scallions, 2 pounds Chinese cabbage, 1 bunch chard, 1 quart snap peas, 2 heads of lettuce, 6 beets with greens, U-PICK: herbs, snap peas and snow peas
EXAMPLE OF SUMMER SHARE (BIG)
1 pound fresh onions, 3 pounds summer squash/zucchini, 2 pounds cucumbers, 1 bunch chard, 2 heads lettuce, 1 pound sweet peppers, 4 pounds tomatoes; U-PICK: beans, flowers, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, husk cherries, herbs, hot peppers
EXAMPLE OF FALL SHARE (BIG)
1 pound storage onions, 2 pounds broccoli, 2 butternut squashes, 1 pound arugula or salad mix, 1 bunch kale, 1 pound sweet peppers, 3 pounds carrots; U-PICK: Beans, flowers, herbs
What if I want a smaller share?
You are welcome to arrange splitting a share with a friend. We do not coordinate the splitting of shares.
How much is a share?
For the 2017 season, the cost for a big share is $700, and for a small share is $450. If you sign up before the 31st of December 2016 the price is discounted to $650 for a big share and $425 for a small share.
Where and when do I pick up my share (and what if I can’t be there)?
Shares are picked up at the farm weekly, during designated distribution times only (see below). When you register, you choose your distribution day for the duration of the season. Your distribution day cannot be changed after the season starts, nor can we accommodate “one time only” day switch requests. We cannot make shares available outside of regular distribution hours/days. No exceptions! We must be firm with this rule, as our small farm staff is quite busy (not often sitting by the phone), and our fresh produce is perishable. U-pick items, however, can be harvested any time during the week, at the shareholder’s convenience.
2017 Distribution Times
Tuesday: 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 12 noon
If you are not able to get to the farm during distribution hours on your pick-up day, we suggest that you ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your vegetables for you. There is no need to notify us when you will be away. A staff member is always on duty during distribution hours to assist newcomers.
After distributions, leftover produce is distributed to local food pantries or other service organizations, when possible, or used in the farm’s education programs.
When is the first pick-up?
The first distribution day is expected to be Tuesday, May 30th for Tuesday shareholders and Saturday, June 3th for Saturday shareholders. We reserve the right to change the date of first distribution in the event that the spring weather patterns have affected the crop’s readiness.
When is the last pick-up?
The last distribution day will be Tuesday, November 7th for Tuesday shareholders and Saturday, November 11th for Saturday shareholders.
Is there a work requirement?
No, Shareholders are not required to work. We offer volunteer opportunities to match the skills and availability of every shareholder. Many Shareholders choose to volunteer but there is no requirement.
What are the perks of joining?
If you join our CSA you will:
- Receive six months of freshly-harvested vegetables grown using organic methods;
- Save money over comparable farmers’ market or supermarket produce;
- Learn how to cook with a wide variety of fresh vegetables;
- Build a relationship with our farm, the community, and the source of your food;
- Enjoy our 65 scenic acres, including a children’s Discovery Garden and a nature trail that meanders through wetlands, woodlands, and pasture;
- Meet our flock of laying hens;
- Help support our mission to engage and educate the community; and
- Receive discounts on our education programs, including workshops for adults, summer camp for school-age children, and parent-toddler programs.
What about the soils at the farm? Are they healthy?
Tests were run in the fall of 2013, and everything is in good shape. The tests didn’t show any major nutrient deficiencies, and showed healthy levels of organic matter in the soils. The CSA is a bit smaller than in years past in order to grow on only 2/3 of the arable land at anyone time–meaning 1/3 of the fields will be resting (and rejuvenating) in cover crop every season. In the past it was more like 1/5 of the fields in cover crop every season. The organization applied compost to all of the fields during the 2014 season. In the past, each field got compost every three years, on a rotation. Not only are the soils in a good place, but Phillies Bridge Farm Project is taking many steps to ensure that the soils continue to improve.
Photo Credits: Steffen Thalemann (top) and Dana Devine O’Malley (bottom)