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Q & A

Q: What is a CSA?

A: CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA members pay upfront for a share of the farm’s production.

It’s a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs, and in some areas of the country there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it.

Each farmer designs their CSA a bit differently, but the concept is the same. The farmer sells shares of the anticipated harvest. Local community members become members and shareholders of the CSA by making a financial commitment to the farm.

Each member pays a fee at the beginning of a growing season to meet some of the farm’s operating expenses for the upcoming season. Farmers provide members with baskets of delicious, fresh, locally grown vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Some CSAs also offer flowers, honey, eggs, meat, and dairy.

As a member, you share the ups and downs of the season.  You share the risk as well as the bounty.

Members can directly access the farm, see their food, and know how and where it is grown. Community-supported agriculture is a direct farm-to-consumer system, eliminating the middleman.

Instead of traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to arrive at a supermarket, produce is picked up by shareholders within hours of being harvested.  This provides some of the best vegetables ever tasted and also reduces the natural resources consumed in their production and delivery. And purchasing local food grown by a local farmer keeps money in the community and preserves open-space farmland as well as the farming lifestyle.

 

Q: How is a free choice, full farm CSA different from the traditional vegetable CSA?

A: There are very few free-choice, full-farm or full-diet CSAs in this country. This model makes eating as if you lived on the farm possible. Membership offers free choice of vegetables, fruit, herbs, meats, eggs, dairy, grains, and more. For members who are dedicated to cooking whole food in season, the share provides enough food in enough variety for you to eat most of your food from the farm. It is a dietary lifestyle – one tied closely to the land and community.

The traditional CSA model has members shop at the store and supplement from the farm; we are offering the majority of your diet from the farm, so you need only supplement from the store.

Free-choice means that instead of the farm dividing the harvest up equally among many CSA members, or receiving a box or basket that has been packed for you with things you may or may not use, you can choose any quantity or combination of items each week.

Members also get to take extra produce during the peak season for preserving for greater variety in the winter months.

 

Q: What does free-choice, unlimited access to foods really mean. Can we take absolutely anything?

A: Free-choice means you choose what you want to take each week. Inherently, there may be times of limitation and times of great abundance, as is the nature of life, crops, and seasonality. We are asking you to share in the farm’s bounty with multiple individuals and families. We share in peak season enough for preserving: canning, fermenting, pickling, freezing, and drying for the less abundant times.

 

Q: When do I pick up my food and how much do I pick up?

A: Members come to the farm on Tuesdays, from 3 pm to 6 pm, and take what they need for the week, in any quantity or combination they choose.
Winter months pick up is not every week but you will have enough food to get you through as well as opportunities to stock up in season.
Members are encouraged to take extra produce during the peak season for drying, freezing, fermenting, or canning for the colder months.
We sometimes limit scarce items, like prime cuts of meat, honey, certain fruits, or the year’s first tomatoes but most food is available on an all-you-can-eat basis.

 

Q: What about vegetables in the winter?

A: We harvest crops that can be stored from the field through late fall. The selection in late winter and early spring comes from storage.
We continue to grow year-round in unheated high tunnels, harvesting fresh greens every other week in winter. We encourage members to freeze, ferment, dry, and can extra produce and herbs in summer for variety in late winter and spring.

 

Q: What is raw milk?

A: Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. We encourage all members to become familiar with the risks and benefits of raw milk. Membership includes ownership of a Herd Share (where you legally own a share of the herd) so that you can have access to raw dairy from the farm. Please familiarize yourselves with the possible risks and the certain benefits of raw milk before you commit to being a member. Raw milk and yogurt are extremely probiotic and help create a good microbial community in our guts, which is essential to our health and immunity.

 

Q: When do shares start and how long do they last?

A: It’s a year-round CSA. The 2021-2022 program starts Tuesday, March 23, 2021, and is a one-year commitment and ends March 16, 2022. When you become a member, you are joining for the entire year, and our farm and farm-family count on your commitment. We welcome new members at any point in the year, as long as we have openings. Current members have the first option to renew their agreements each March before opening to the community.

 

Q: What happens if I miss a week?

A: We have calculated missing up to 4 weeks for the year in the total cost. If you miss 1 week or miss more than 4 weeks you cannot pick up later or on another day, and there is no compensation for missed weeks. 

Q: Can I just sign up for 1 share for multiple people?

A: No. Everyone in the household who's eating the food should be signing up as a member. The program is best suited for a family or household that eats together and all joins into the program together. We do not offer single shares for families that want to try out the program without fully committing to it.

 

Q: Why do I commit to a full year and pay ahead?

A: A free-choice CSA creates a close relationship between farmers and members. Farming is a slim-margin business with a lot of inherent risks. The CSA model, with an upfront payment, helps with high front-end costs long before harvest time. Purchasing of seeds and what it takes to start seedlings, livestock plans, and a commitment to a full year helps to balance our yearly budget. It also allows farmers to focus less on sales and marketing and more on growing seriously good nutrient-dense food. Finally, it gives members a connection to what they are eating and feeding their families and a deeper sense of partnership with the farm and the farmers.

 

Q: What happens if circumstances change? I cannot finish the year and/or keep my commitment?

A: If you are unable to uphold your commitment to the year-long membership, you notify us and pay a fee of 10% of the remaining balance.

Q: Can I sell, give, or transfer my membership?

A: No. We carefully choose for ourselves as well as the household whom we feel will be the happiest possible eating from our farm.

Q: What payment methods are accepted?

A: We accept checks, PayPal, or credit cards, with a surcharge.

Q: When do I have to pay?

A: Paying annually is the most affordable, but there are options to make payments bi-annually or monthly. Member agreements are renewed in March, but new members may join at any time (if there are openings).

Q: Does everything in the CSA come from your farm?

A: For some items, we partner with other small farms that we know personally and share our same values. Pork, beef, goat, lamb, chicken, and turkey are raised off-farm where there is plenty of room to range. The fruit we do not grow we forage for, or we partner with two small family orchards south of us. We source our grain from farms in Utah that we have a relationship with. We supplement eggs in peak season from a farmer with whom we have a relationship. We have had beehives on and off. We have a friend who is harvesting honey nearby. 

 

Q: How about growing practices?

A: First of all, we don’t use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. We grow our vegetables on a small-scale. We do a lot of work by hand. We practice a diverse crop rotation. Most importantly we strive for regenerative agriculture. We are a no-till farm.  Fertility and our soil are the foundation of everything we do. We do not buy or bring in any fertilizer. We use organic, biodynamic, and regenerative practices. We adopt whatever practice is best. We are a constant student of what is best practice for agriculture that will be best for us, our land, the planet, and for future generations to come. However, although we have been certified previously, we have chosen not to renew our Demeter biodynamic certification.

 

Still, have questions? Please email, text, or call us?

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Call or Text 435-865-6792

Email howdy@redacrefarmcsa.org 

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Red Acre Farm 

2322 West 4375 North

Cedar City, UT

84721

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