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What is CSA?

“CSA” means Community Supported Agriculture. CSA lets consumers support family farms directly, provides access to fresh, high quality food in season, encourages sustainable agricultural practices, and helps build a sense of community and land stewardship among everybody involved. In CSA, members buy “shares” of the production from the farm in advance of the season. This early infusion of cash allows the farmer to finance the year’s production without a loan, and assures that all the production from the farm is sold before the seeds are ever planted. This risk sharing between the members and the farmers is a huge benefit to the farmers, and allows them to concentrate on producing lots of healthy and delicious food for their members.

If you decide to join Serious Farms CSA and have never eaten from the garden before, this will be a new experience for you. You will enjoy the pleasures and risks of eating seasonally and locally. You will be getting the freshest and most nutritious food possible, harvested at the peak of its maturity. It may taste differently than you expect, probably better. Sometimes there is so much of something that you actually get tired of it (“Mom, do we have to eat green beans again?”). Worse yet, sometimes there is just not enough of something that you really, really love. We will give you ideas to get you through the times of abundance, and use good farming practices to reduce the number of times you are disappointed and to extend the time that each vegetable is available.

Here’s a link to a video called “What to expect when you join a farm”.  You might find it helpful.

How does Serious Farms CSA work?

Farmers Harvey and Jen do most of the work. They grow and harvest the food and get it ready for distribution to the members. The season lasts 20 weeks and will start as early as possible, hopefully the week of May 20th, depending on the weather up to that point.

We pack shares into boxes and bring them to Selinsgrove on Wednesdays from 4pm-6pm and Northumberland on Sundays from noon-1pm . Members pick up their share of that week’s garden production. If you decide to join the CSA, you select either Selinsgrove on Wednesday or Northumberland on Sunday for your regular pick-up time during the summer.

Your veggies will be packed into a box, and we ask that you return the previous week’s box. Some things will be washed, although most will still have some field dirt on them. There will be plenty of vegetables that we have in large supply and less of the things that don’t grow so well. Whatever we have, we share it among everybody. When there is an excess of certain crops, we put them in a Sharing Basket. You may take as much extra as you need from the basket. Also, if you dislike a certain vegetable, you may remove it from your own box and place it in the Sharing Basket for someone else to enjoy.

While we wash a few vegetables like potatoes and carrots, you should wash them again at home before you eat them. Many vegetable will store better with less handling until the time you are ready to prepare them. We don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, however there are naturally occurring bacteria and germs in the soil, so you should always wash garden produce before you eat it.

What is included in the shares?

Check out our crop list, so that you can see what we expect to harvest. Besides vegetables, your share also includes herbs and flowers.

What does it cost?

In 2013, a share costs $525, or $26.25 per week for 20 weeks.  One share should be enough food for two adults and two or three children, or two good vegetable eating singles. The season will begin as soon as possible, likely the week of May 19th.  The last pickup of the season will be 20 weeks later, probably the week of September 29th.

If you are seeking a half share, we recommend finding a friend and joining together. You may decide to divide the contents of the box every week or you may decide to alternate pickup weeks so that you each pickup a full share every other week.

It is important to Jen and Harvey that everyone have access to good quality food. Payment plans are available. Please talk about this with Jen or Harvey when you register. We are figuring out how to accept SNAP benefits. We will update this once we’ve figured that out.

If you are a person who is financially secure right now, you may want to pay a little extra to help subsidize a share for somebody who can’t afford to pay the full price. If you want to make a gift to this fund, just please make a note on your registration form.

What if I miss a vegetable pickup?

Vacations, busy schedules, and sometimes plain old forgetfulness might cause you to miss a pickup. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult for Jen and Harvey to make many adjustments to the schedule to accommodate missed pickups. If the pickup time ends and there are unclaimed vegetables, we will send them to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

If you know ahead of time that you are going to be gone, the best solution is to send a neighbor or relative to pick up your vegetables for themselves or to save them for you.

If you forget, be happy knowing that your good food won’t be wasted. Either some hungry person or some other member will be enjoying at least one nice meal that week thanks to you!

Where can I find recipes?

Jen and Harvey give each new member a vegetable cookbook at the beginning of the season. The cookbook includes seasonal recipes and basic storage and usage guide for most types of veggies. There are many great vegetable cookbooks, and we list a few of our favorites in our library.

As a bonus, Jen often includes links to favorite online recipes in the weekly newsletter.

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