What is a “CSA”?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially you spend a fraction of your grocery money and we supply fresh, seasonal produce from May through November. A CSA is a farm share: a way for you (the community) to create a relationship with us (the farm) and receive a weekly share of our harvest. We love selling our foods directly to you and, as a farmer, it is comforting and economically advantageous to know that a portion of your crops are "spoken for" or already purchased by your CSA members. It means we can spend less time hustling and marketing and more time farming and caring for your flowers, fruits, and veggies.
How Does It Work?
CSA Members are packed a "share" of the healthy, sustainably grown produce from the week's harvests. All food was grown at Crabtree - any exception will be clearly labeled and usually offered as an "Add On" - like apples or cheese. You choose your Frequency and your Pick Up Location. Note that Wednesday shares always pick up at the Farmers Market and Saturday shares always pick up at the farm:
· Frequency: Weekly or Biweekly
· Pick up Location/Day: Wednesday or Saturday
What are the prices?
· Each CSA box is packed with at least $25 worth of fresh produce in it. So your base cost each week is $25. We tack on a smidge to cover the logistics and extra materials needed when you choose a more customized option, like Biweekly or Flex Box delivery.
· A Weekly share receives 29 weeks of deliveries (29 x $25 = $725).
· A Biweekly share receives 14 weeks of deliveries (14 x $26.75 = $374.50).
· A Flex Box share receives 4 weeks of deliveries (4 x $27.50 = $110).
· Each delivery site has a weekly packaging cost associated with it. Wednesday is $2.25/week and Saturday is $1.25/week. Wednesday is more because we have to buy fancy plastic totes in which to pack Wednesday's shares. Over the course of the season, we hope that the additional $1/week will offset the cost of buying plastic totes.
· You may pay for your WHOLE season up front. Or you may choose recurring billing and pay every 4 weeks. The weekly packaging cost will be added at checkout. Since our seasons aren't divisible by 4, your last payment will be less than $100.
· Paying reserves your place in our CSA.
· New this year is Market Credit. It isn't a CSA share, it is a "product" you can buy. Read more details in the Market Credit FAQ.
What if I can't pick up my box?
· New! Hold: You can login and schedule vacation holds. You will not be charged for that week. Note: if you paid for a WHOLE season, that may mean you will have credit on your account. You can use the credit at the market or farm stand.
· Donate: If you HOLD a box, you have the option to Donate that share. If you choose this option you will be charged for that week and your produce will be divvied into our weekly donations to: Food Not Bombs, Ronald McDonald House of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and/or The Bethlehem Center.
· Friend: As always, you can send a friend or neighbor to pick up your share. Give them good directions - they sometimes get lost. This is a lovely option if you have a friend or coworker you really wish would try a CSA, but they haven't taken the plunge yet. Or, with advanced notice, shares can be held at the farm for a day or two. With no notice the produce will be redistributed the next morning. We cannot switch your pick-up between Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season.
· Call: With advanced notice - call or email your Farmers - your share can be held at the farm for a day or two. Due to space restrictions in the walk-in, your share will be disassembled after 3 or 4 days. We cannot switch your pick-up between Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season.
· With no notice the produce will be redistributed the next morning. We cannot switch your pick-up between Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season.
· We cannot switch your pick-up days between Wednesdays and Saturdays. Balancing harvest pressure on our crops is both an art and a science. As such we work hard to balance the harvest evenly between CSA, market, and wholesale over the course of each week.
What is Market Credit and how does it work?
Unlike a CSA subscription, Market Credit is a "product" you can purchase at any time in $100 increments. You can then draw against your Market Credit when you choose produce at our farmers market booth or farm stand. No tablets or cards to swipe, simply give your selections to the farmer to total and they write down how much you spent and subtract it from your running balance. You can check your available cash balance by logging in. We'll have your balance updated by Friday evening. Need a quick example? See the two example scenarios below:
· You shop at our booth at the Wednesday Farmers Market, you hand your tomatoes, squash, peppers, basil, and flowers to the farmer. Your total is $22.50. You tell the farmer your name and that you'd like to pay with Market Credit. They pull out the clipboard with all the Market Credit accounts, find your name, see that you have $38 of Market Credit available, and write in $22.50 with the date. Later in the week you login to your account and see that you now have $15.50 of Market Credit left. It's that easy! No cards, cash, checks. No hassle.
· Same scenario as above. Your total is $22.50. You only have $20 of Market Credit available. You pay the $2.50 difference with cash, check, card, or token. Later that evening, you login and purchase more Market Credit. Super easy, no fuss, no frills.
Can I pick what goes in my box each week?
Nope, our CSA philosophy is truly that you are sharing in whatever is available for harvest that day. It is freshest and helps ensure none of our food goes to waste in the field. That said, we work hard to make sure you have a number of different crops in each box. However! If you want more choice you may wish to consider the following options:
· Market Credit: You can certainly choose what and how much of our tasty fresh food you take home with you by choosing the Market Credit option and then picking out your "share" at our market booth or farm stand. You can challenge yourself to stay within a $25 limit each week, or you can go hog wild!
· Add Ons: These are products you can choose to add onto your CSA share or purchase by themselves. They are products either from our farm (eg. Box o' Heirloom Tomatoes or 1 lb basil) or they are products from other local farms and food artisans (eg. Eggs, Meat, Cheese, Apples). We'll get all your extras together in one place for you on Pick Up day.
· New! Tomato CSA: We plan to not only offer extra tomatoes as Add-Ons during the season. We plan to offer a Tomato-only CSA. Stay tuned and check back as tomato season approaches.
· CSA Hack: With our new Flex Box option - recurring payment options and rolling enrollment - you should be able to design your CSA in such a way that you can opt to only get boxes when you want them.
What is an Add On?
These are products you can choose to add onto your CSA share or purchase by themselves. They are products either from our farm (eg. Box o' Heirloom Tomatoes or 1 lb basil) or they are products from other local farms and food artisans (eg. Eggs, Meat, Cheese, Apples). Because we have to special order them from each vendor for you, the cut-off times for changes are several days out from the delivery date. This ensures you are getting the freshest product from everyone.
I've never seen or eaten this vegetable before. Do you have recipe suggestions?
Short Answer: Yes! Check out our website, there is a recipes section with a new recipe posted each week.
How can I best keep my fresh farm veggies fresh at home?
HERE is a document that briefly covers how to keep each type of fruit or vegetable freshest once you've brought it home. If you have a method that works well and isn't included, send us an email - we'd love to capture your ingenuity and share it with others. You can also chat with our farmers. Every staff person at Crabtree Farms enjoys a Half Share in our CSA and so, between their farm knowledge and practice in their own home kitchens, they usually have some great ideas.
Is a CSA Member considered a Member of the farm?
Absolutely! As a CSA member, you will receive a membership card in the mail for this calendar year. You are entitled to enjoy all the great perks of membership: early plant sale shopping, a 15% discount on produce at market and the farm stand, and member pricing for events and workshops. Of course, we'd still love a donation to support our education programs ;)