Frequently Asked CSA Questions
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture”, a farming model in which community members purchase shares at the beginning of the season and, in exchange, receive an abundant mix of vegetables and herbs from the farm every week.
What are the benefits of belonging to a CSA?
First, the vegetables you receive as a CSA member are of topnotch quality and as fresh as it gets, being distributed just after harvest. Second, in exchange for members investing in the farm at the beginning of the season, they receive vegetables at less than farmers market prices. To our minds, the greatest benefit of the CSA model is that it affords members the chance to develop a relationship with the particular farm and farmers who grow their food and a space to foster community with their fellow CSA members–all while supporting their local economy!
What is in a typical share?
We aim to provide you with a well-rounded mix of produce every week that is interesting but not overwhelming. Since all the produce in the share is seasonal, the type and number of items you receive will vary, depending on the time of year. We work hard to include a good balance of different types of vegetables (e.g. root crops, cooking greens, salad greens, fruiting vegetables like tomatoes) every week, so that the share translates into easy cooking. We grow over 40 different types of vegetables, and many different varieties of each vegetable, so there’s a lot of variety!
It’s difficult to answer this question precisely because it depends so much on individual eating habits. We estimate that a share will provide enough vegetables for 2 adults, but of course this will vary depending on how zealous a veggie lover you are.
Are the vegetables you grow organic?
Side by Side Farm uses only organic growing practices–we do not use any synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. We use age-old, natural soil building techniques to produce vibrant, healthy produce. We do not have USDA organic certification; however, we are certified through Certified Naturally Grown, which requires compliance with the same standards used by the USDA’s National Organic Program.
To read more about what the Certified Naturally Grown label means, please go to their website at: www.naturallygrown.org. Our farm’s listing appears here on their registry of certified farms: http://www.naturallygrown.org/farms/3401
What if I am not familiar with some of the vegetables in the share?
We send out a weekly newsletter via email that includes information about some of the lesser known vegetables in the share, including recipes and storage tips. If you pick up your share and are unsure how to prepare some of the items, feel free to ask us about it, we always welcome an opportunity to talk vegetables! Over the course of the season, we also hope you’ll get acquainted with other CSA members, including veteran shareholders, who have a wealth of cooking knowledge.
How much does a share cost?
The share costs $500 for the whole season, if you pick your share up here at the farm. Shares that are delivered to our Baltimore pickup site are $525, to offset transportation costs.
When does the CSA begin?
We begin the last week of May and the season lasts for 22 weeks.
When is payment due and how do I sign up?
Although we prefer that you pay in full at the beginning of the season (this helps us cover early season expenses related to supplies, farm equipment and labor), we understand that not everyone is able to do so and we are happy to work out a payment plan with you if that’s the case. We do require a deposit at the beginning of the season, however, to secure your spot.
We have an easy online CSA sign-up page, which is set up to accept payment through PayPal.
If you prefer to pay by check, please make it out to “Side by Side Farm” and mail it to: Side by Side Farm, 21650 Keeney Road, Freeland, MD 21053
If you have any questions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 343-1196