1. What is a CSA?
A relatively new way to market farm products, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms were introduced in the United States from Europe in the 1990s. Their inception began out of the need for food security and concern for the rapid urbanization of farmland. We are still faced with these same issues today, reinforcing the need for alternative options for consumers outside of our current food system.
CSAs provide a model for consumers and farmers to participate together in rediscovering what has been lost in the past century.The CSA model creates a new relationship between the farmer and the consumer. A community of individuals joins together in a partnership with their farmer to share in the risks and benefits of farming. Members pay their season membership upfront to provide the farmers with financial means and a guaranteed customer base at the beginning of the season when expenditures are highest. In exchange for purchasing a “share” in the farm, the members receive part of the weekly bounty. Members and their families can spend as little or much time on the farm as they wish seeing the vegetables grow throughout the season and experiencing the joy that only a visit to the farm can bring. Weekly produce pickups include a variety of locally and naturally grown seasonal vegetables along with herbs and flowers.
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 bounty may be a little less, though for most of the weeks, the value will be well above those numbers. As of 2018, you can now choose what your share consists of each week by using a declining credit system. 96% of 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 the start of the season: Choose which share fits your family the best and make a full payment by May 15.
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.
If you are part of the delivery group to West Point, you will need to select what goes in your box each week on our ordering website. The box will arrive on your doorstep on Monday afternoon or early evening.
Peace and Carrots Farm will be offering a limited number of memberships this year and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. A non-refundable $150 will hold your share if you don't want to pay all at once.
6. How much does it cost?
Veggie Lovers' Share: $650 (On Farm) or $660 (West Point) for the 22 week season
Party of Two Share: $390 (On Farm) or $360 (West Point) 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, no problem! With our new Credit System, you have all season to use up your credits. While they don't roll over year-to-year, when you come back after a missed week, you can use more credits to re-stock the fridge! For deliveries, if you don't place a weekly order, we will assume you're taking a week off.
If you are unable to make it to the Pickup Center on Monday, between 2 and 7pm, the vegetables will be put into storage in the walk-in cooler. From there, you'll need to call the farm before you come get your vegetables. 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 vegetables sat in the pickup center for most of Monday. We offer this option as an occasional courtesy, not as a weekly routine. After Tuesday, we either eat the leftovers ourselves, feed them to the chickens or goats or compost them and your shares are considered missed for that week.
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.
With the credit system, there's now no pressure to take something that you know doesn't suit your personal taste. Simply use your credits on something else.
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?
Each week, residents and employees at West Point Military Academy will place their orders for their custom box before 7pm Monday evening. Each week you will receive an updated balance of your remaining credits in your box.
Each share will come in a reusable container and it is your responsibility to put the containers out on Wednesday for an exchange. The shares will arrive Monday afternoon into the early evening, depending on where your house falls on the delivery route around base.
If you like having the adventure of a farm chosen share each week, that's an option too! Just select "farmers' choice" when you order your share!
If you'd like to skip a week of deliveries, you must specifically order to NOT receive a box. The default order is the Farmers' Choice box.
What if I sign up, but decide the CSA is just not for me?
96% of our customers from last season were satisfied overall with the CSA, so we don't think that's going to happen! However, if you're that rare person who decides the CSA just doesn't fit into your lifestyle, never fear! At week 6 or before, we will refund you the rest of the season, not including the weeks you've already been through, based on the average number of credits we expect people to spend each week.