CSA – 2014

As of May 2014, our CSA is full.  Since it’s our first year on the land, we want to be cautious with how many people we agree to grow food for.  If you still want to join, send us an email and we might have an opening later in the season if our crops do well.

The basement is full of seed trays, garlic and favas are sprouting in the field, and the plum trees are blooming in the orchard, so it seems like a good time to start planning this year’s CSA. If you want to just get on with signing up, skip down to the bottom of the page to find the form.

(If you are in the Surrey area and looking for a CSA to join, a couple of Surrey-based CSAs I can recommend are Zaklan Heritage Farm and Rodriso Farms. Also Clover Valley Organic Farm will continue to have gate sales on Saturdays in the summer, give them a call for more information: 604-576-1790) .

If you’re wondering just what a CSA is, you can check out 2012’s CSA post. Short answer: CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a way to support farmers and strengthen your connection to the lands and people that grow your food. At the beginning of the year, you buy a “share” of that year’s harvest. In our CSA the harvest is shared in weekly boxes.

Cost
This year’s CSA will run from late May through mid October, approximately 20 weeks. A basic share will be $475, which works out to less than $25/week. If you have a larger family or are sharing your box with friends, a “1.5X” share costs $690, and a double share costs $900. In addition to containing more of the same produce found in the basic share, these larger shares will also contain a few other crops that might not make their way into the basic boxes. This includes odds and ends like artichokes, coriander seed, methi (fenugreek) and shelling beans that I don’t grow in huge quantity.

A sample “basic” box from, say, late July or early August would be:

1-2 lbs cucumbers
1-2 lbs zucchini
1 bunch beets
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch green onions
2 heads lettuce (usually romaine, butter, or leaf)
1-2 lbs potatoes
1 bunch kale
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 bag salad mix
1 or 2 small bunches of herbs (parsley, dill, basil, or cilantro)
1/2 lb green beans
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow plums
and maybe more… if peas, cabbage, cauliflower, fava beans, or broccoli are still hanging on, they might be in there. If tomatoes aren’t ready, then maybe baby leeks will be. Or tomatillos… or zucchini blossoms… however the season shapes up there will always be something delicious and fresh. You might just find your new favourite food you’d never heard of before. The value of the boxes that I aim for is around $30. Sometimes early in the season the boxes start out a bit light, but if that’s the case I strive to make up for it when abundance begins. Just check out the box from last September below!

CSA box from last September

CSA box from last September (top to bottom/left to right):Swiss chard, kale, a bag of green beans, zucchinis, carrots, beets (hidden) green onions, arugula, mizuna, 2 heads lettuce (crisp head and butter), a bag of New Zealand Spinach, tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, and plums. I think there was a bag of salad mix in there somewhere, too.

Eggs
CSA customers will get first shot at our distinctive free-range pastured rainbow chicken and duck eggs when they are available.

Very pretty dozen of eggs. And the two on the right are duck eggs from Dimwit.

No, not easter eggs. Just eggs laid by our motley flock of Rhode Island Red, Ameraucana-cross, and Marans hens (and two white duck eggs).

Logistics

CSA harvest days will be Tuesdays. We can only offer delivery for specific circumstances and in most cases the shareholder will have to pick up at the farm in North Saanich. If there is a lot of demand and the fields are producing well we can add an additional group on Thursdays.

The harvest schedule for the year will depend on weather and soil conditions. We farm on a fairly heavy clay soil so we must avoid cultivating it when it’s too wet. But here’s an estimated time-table for different crops:

May/early June boxes: Greens! Mixed baby greens, kale, spinach, mustards, pac choi, lettuce, green onions. Also, radishes. And maybe the garlic scapes will be out early!

June: The greens keep coming, along with the arrival of peas, turnips, kohlrabi, and new potatoes. I’m trying to get cabbages and broccoli in early, too, so they should show up in the boxes by late June. Weekly plantings of lettuce and green onions fill out the boxes.

July: Cauliflower, beets, and carrots will be sized up for harvest, and by the end of the month we’ll probably be swimming in cucumbers and zucchini. I’m doing an extra planting of kale to try to keep the quality up during the summer, but if that doesn’t succeed the Swiss chard should be thriving by now.

August: Garden fresh heirloom tomatoes. Really, that’s all that needs to be said, but there’s also basil, sweet corn, green beans, tomatillos, globe onions, and maybe even artichokes. That’s in addition to the succession plantings of beets, carrots, green onions, and lettuce.

September: Sure, it seems like summer is almost over, but there’s still the arrival of melons, peppers and eggplant (hopefully!), winter squash, pumpkins, leeks, storage onions, and cured garlic.

October/end of season: For the last boxes, some spring crops like peas, spinach, cabbage, and broccoli return. If things go well, we might even squeeze in some Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and parsnip at the end.

Of course, things don’t always go according to plan. Especially since this is our first year growing on this land we expect there will be some unforeseen pest issues. But with so many different crops the chances are good that the boxes will be overflowing even if conditions aren’t ideal.

Whew. That was a lot to write. And read, too, I’m sure. If you’re interested in sharing in our harvest this year, please fill out the form below:

After I receive your information I will contact you about payment options, which are: cash; cheque; or Paypal. A $100 non-refundable deposit holds your place in the CSA, and the remainder of the balance is due May 1st. If you’d like to come visit the farm before paying, that’d be great! Please email or call to make arrangements.

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