1. What is a CSA?
CSA is an abbreviation for Community Supported Agriculture. A relatively new way to market farm products, CSA’s first started popping up in the United States around twenty-five years ago. The system is based on the farmer and consumer sharing the risk of each growing season, allowing people to increase their involvement in the food system while simultaneously guaranteeing financial security for the farmer. At the beginning of each growing season, the consumers (or members) pay upfront for a share of the year’s harvest. Each week the members pick up or are delivered their shares and either enjoy the bounty of a bumper crop or weather the storm of a tough growing season together, with the farmer.
The benefits of the CSA model go beyond just the local, fresh produce made available by the farm. Because most of the farm’s members return to the farm each week to pick up their shares, it creates a community of like-minded people. As a Peace and Carrots CSA member, you will have the opportunity to participate in many events and classes that will be hosted by the farm, as well as share any ideas or recipes you have with other members on how they can best utilize the food given out each week.
2. Why should I become a member?
Becoming a member at a CSA benefits not only your family, but also the region as whole. As a CSA member at Peace and Carrots Farm, each week you will take home a share of the most nutritious vegetables available in Orange County. Not only does local produce have more nutrients, it also tastes better! If you’ve never eaten a picked-this-morning heirloom tomato, you haven’t really had a tomato.
In addition to the nutrition and taste benefits, joining a local CSA benefits the entire tri-state area. One concern that a lot people voice concerning life in the Hudson Valley is the rate that open space is being lost. Each year, more and more land in the Hudson Valley is sold to developers, with Orange County leading the charge of new building permits annually. A lot of people blame the farmers for selling out, but two out of every three farms reported a loss in 2002 (and not much has improved since then). Small to mid-sized farms are disappearing all over the region and by joining a local CSA, you can help preserve our agrarian heritage. After all, the Hudson Valley used to be called the “Breadbasket of New York.”
3. Are you certified organic?
We are excited to announce that we are now Certified Naturally Grown! Similar to Certified Organic status, CNG is a grass roots initiative that is a much more affordable and manageable application process for small producers. Please visit their website to learn more about what growing practices we follow to be able to qualify to be Certified Naturally Grown! http://www.cngfarming.org/
4. What can I expect to receive?
Depending on which type of share you choose, you will receive either about $25 worth of produce for the Veggie Lovers' Share or $13 for the Party of Two Share. At the beginning of the season, the amount may be a little less, though for most of the weeks, the value will be well above those numbers. Our members agree the shares are a good value. The Veggie Lovers' Share will feed a family of four omnivores each week or two people who eat a lot of vegetables. The Party of Two Share will feed two omnivores or one person who eats a lot of produce each week. Items in the shares will vary widely depending on the season, but will include the following list of crops in each time of the year:
Spring: kale, chard, radishes, turnips, lettuce, kohlrabi, spring onions, green garlic, spinach, arugula, beets, carrots, cabbage, peas and herbs.
Summer: summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, green beans, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, leeks, and onions.
Fall: Kale, chard, collards, Brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, beets, turnips, winter squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, lettuce, celeriac, parsnips, Asian greens, cabbage, broccoli and kohlrabi.
5. How does it work?
Basically, your season will be like this:
Anytime between now and June 1: Choose which share fits your family the best and make a full payment by June.
First week of June through Last week of October: come to the farm on Monday, between 2:00 and 7:00 pm each week to pick up your portion of the week’s harvest; your share. The pickup center is on the farm, and depending on how involved you want to be in the process, pickup time is also the time to harvest any of the “you-pick-it” vegetables like peas, beans or cherry tomatoes, if available and if you choose to do that.
Peace and Carrots Farm will be offering 75 memberships for the 2017 growing season and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, though preference is given to returning members each year.
6. How much does it cost?
Veggie Lovers' Share: $650 for the 22 week season
Party of Two Share: $390 for the 22 week season
Payment plans and other options available: please ask!
We price out each week keeping in mind a minimum of $25 and $13 for the Veggie Lovers' and Party of Two, respectively. We base that number on what each vegetable sells for at local farmers' markets. At the very start of the season, the value of the shares might be slightly under target, but by the time summer squash starts rolling in (usually around week 3-5), we are consistently above target value. We want our members to feel that they are receiving an abundance of produce each week, while still feeling the shares are a good value.
7. What happens if a crop fails?
Because of the large variety of vegetables that are grown on Peace and Carrots Farm, even if there is one crop that fails due to disease or pest infestation, there will still be an abundance of other produce available for distribution. In the event of a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane, the loss is distributed over the entire membership and there will be no refunds for a shortened season due to unforeseeable circumstances.
8. What if I can’t make a pickup?
If you are unable to make it to the farm to pick up your share, due to vacation, please send a friend or neighbor to pick up your share for you. If you can’t find anyone, please try to remember to tell us you won’t be there. Due to the small nature of our farm, each share represents a fairly sizeable percentage of the work that goes into harvest. If you can’t make it and you forget to tell us, don’t worry about it: Laura has plenty of poor friends that will be more than happy to eat your share for you!
If you are unable to make it to the Pickup Center on Monday, between 2 and 7pm, we do leave the vegetables out until Tuesday evening. Please understand that while we offer this second day as a pickup day as well, the vegetables will not be in prime condition, since the vegetable displays are not refrigerated. After Tuesday, we either eat the leftovers ourselves, feed them to the chickens or goats or compost them.
9. What if I don’t like the vegetables?
You might be thinking, “What the heck is kohlrabi?!” or “Brussels sprouts? Ewwwwwwww!” Of course we don’t expect that every vegetable that is grown on our farm is your favorite, but we hope that most of the ones we do grow are staples in most of your diets and classic favorites in this region. For the elements of the harvest that might be a little less traditional, we will try our best to provide members with recipes and ideas so you never bring something home that will go to waste.
If there’s something you honestly don’t want to take home with you, please feel free to skip over that portion of the share, or take your portion and put it on the “community table,” where you will find blemished vegetables that are free for the taking. Maybe someone else will want what isn’t your favorite!
That being said, even if you think you don't like a vegetable: please give ours a try! Fresh, local veggies grown in rich soil and harvested at the peak of ripeness really are a horse of a different color!
10. How does the delivery program work?
Stay tuned for more information on our new and more-inclusive delivery programs that we're starting for the 2018 CSA season!