Shares delivered each Thursday to your home or office in insulated totes.
At least 5 to 7 items different vegetables and/or melons, equivalent to one/two grocery bags of produce, with two/three bags during peak season;*
Our weekly e-newsletter sent out prior to your share being available to let you know what is on the harvest list;
Access to our online recipe and crop knowledge base;
* Every household is different - how you prepare your items, whether you’re packing a lunch every day and how hungry you are will all impact how long your items will last. While your mileage may vary, we are committed to helping you understand how to store and preserve the harvest so that nothing goes to waste.
Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.
Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits;
Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking;
Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season;
Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat;
Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin;
Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow;
Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
There is an important concept woven into the CSA model that takes the arrangement beyond the usual commercial transaction. That is the notion of shared risk. It is the idea that "we're in this together". If a hailstorm takes out all the peppers, everyone is disappointed together, and together cheer on the winter squash and broccoli.
At its best, a CSA creates a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your farmer; cooperation, connection, and full bellies all around. When a farm has earned your loyalty, your annual CSA membership is a great contribution to your local food system.
As a CSA member, your yearly commitment to Honest Eats Farm means a lot to us! It contributes to our farm's stability and capacity for growth.
Many of us have gotten so used to grocery store shopping that we don't know what month that the local tomatoes get ripe. This lack of knowledge can lead to disappointment.
If you're new to seasonal eating, it's a good idea to check out our crop availability list to see what kinds of foods to expect when, so you can pace your anticipation.
Most CSA members supplement their CSA box with a few items from the produce aisle, as many families want to eat more than is provided in their box, or find they need more staples like onions and garlic. Most people find themselves eating a wider variety of vegetables with a CSA, but if you find yourself missing some of what you're used to getting at the supermarket, by all means supplement.
Farmer John Peterson of Angelic Organics in Caledonia, IL says "The food is just the result of the farm; it's the overflow from the farm. The most important thing is the farm itself". He recommends that CSA members allow themselves to be curious about the people who live and work on the farm, the culture of the farm, how the work is done there, and what it's like for those who do it.
We encourge you to come out and spend some time on the farm. Don't worry; you won't have to do any work unless you want to get your hands dirty.
After enjoying the great food, this is probably the most important aspect of getting the most out of your CSA experience. Talking with the people who run your CSA is what takes the experience beyond the transactional and creates that sense of belonging to the farm that so many CSA members value. It also offers the opportunity for mutual understanding and that can nip any potential frustrations in the bud.
Kerry Glendening, LocalHarvest's site coordinator, has noticed that many of people's complaints about CSAs result from members trying to make last minute changes to their delivery and being disappointed when farmers can't honor them. In the hours before a CSA delivery, farmers feel a lot like you do in the hours before your entire extended family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner. We may not be able to respond to last minute requests, but are often able to be flexible with more notice.
For some, a CSA is a great match and becomes their new way to eat. Other people discover that they don't like to cook nearly as much as they thought they did, or that they really only want to eat a few kinds of vegetables.
Maybe our CSA is not the right fit but another local CSA may be a better fit for you and your family. Maybe buying from local farmers at any of the Farmer's markets in the area is a better match.
Getting the most out of your CSA comes down to having realistic expectations, getting to know your farmers, and talking with them right away if something is amiss.
Like any long-term relationship, your relationship with us at Honest Eats Farm will require communication, especially if issues arise. Are you getting too much produce and thinking of leaving the CSA because you don't like to waste it? Talk with us! Getting what feels like too little for the money? Talk with us! Your feedback is the only way we can improve what we do.
Many concerns can be worked out if addressed directly; if left un-communicated, they sometimes grow into a general sense of dissatisfaction, which doesn't serve anybody.