CSA Sign-up now open! please read for details and changes for our 2016 season
We are now officially open for CSA signup!! Our online signup page is live so please go there to signup or renew. We are offering a 7.5% discount to returning members until March 15 - our system uses your e-mail address to recognize you as a previous member, so let us know if it has changed and we can help you get renewed.
2015 was our best growing season by far, but we definitely had some challenges balancing family and farm life due to our weekly schedule. We have decided to streamline our CSA pickup choices in order to have more time for evening activities, family dinners, and other farm tasks like baling hay and animal chores. We realized that picking CSA shares 3 days a week was too inefficient, especially when we have wholesale orders to pick during the week as well.
The biggest change we are making is that we be pre-packaging all shares into waxed cardboard boxes, and those who pickup on the farm will get their boxes from our walk-in cooler. We had been placing our produce in crates on tables for folks to pick from (farmers-market style), and although this was the customer experience we desired, it has unfortunately cost us a lot of quality time with our children. Also, we feel your produce will gain shelf life when kept cool in our cooler until pickup, rather than in the open air on warm days.
Another change is that we have changed pickup days (for on-farm pickup). We are offering pickup on the farm and at St. Peter Food Coop on Wednesday afternoons. Additionally, you can come to the the farm during the daytime on Thursday. We are open to other pickup locations as well - basically we need about 10 members and a reliable location to deliver boxes, and we will set up a new pickup site besides St. Peter and the Farm. Please let us know if you are interested in hosting a pickup site, or can help us organize some members in your community so we can deliver to you.
For all members, we will offer pick-you-own opportunities and extras when available. We planted a large strawberry patch in 2015 that should produce well this year, and we will always have extra beans, peas, greens, tomatoes, and herbs to pick when in season.
The change in our pickup day and style will free up a lot more time for us to focus on weed management and our planting schedule. Our workweek has been a little out of balance - too much time picking and delivering, and too little time for crop maintenance. There is always room for improvement on a farm, and after 7 years of experience we feel like we are getting much closer to finding the balance.
A consequence of our busy weekly schedule and growing family the past few years has been newsletters and recipes (and blogging about the farm). We understand the newsletter and cooking suggestions are a crucial part of the CSA experience, and we did a great job at it during our first 5 years, but our time for writing and planning has been very limited since we had our last child in 2012. So along with our updated CSA schedule comes some time built into our weekly schedule to write newsletters and recipes. I am looking forward to the new year and a chance to communicate on a more regular basis with our CSA members!
Every year has brought us a new combination of unique needs based on the ages of our children (school schedules, evening activities, diapers, feeding schedules, etc.) For example, 2016 will be the first growing season EVER where we don't have a child in diapers! That alone will help us be much more effective in growing produce. As the younger one gets a little easier, the older two need more attention (especially in the evenings) and we need more family time away from the farm. This is another reason we have decided to pre-box our shares - members can come at their convenience to get their shares from our cooler, and we can focus on our children and work when needed.
We understand we may be getting some new members this year, and we have expanded our CSA offering to accommodate 60 shares (we had 40 last year). Also, some new members may have been a member of other CSA farms in the past, and we would like to know how to best serve your weekly vegetable needs. Every farm is different and we may not have focused on the same veggies as your previous CSA, but it is early in our planning stages and we can make some changes based on feedback we get from renewing and new members. There is a brief survey on our sign-up page that asks about your top 5 veggies, least favorite veggies, and fresh herbs you like to use. We will also set some member meetings in late winter and spring to get feedback on how to make this a great CSA experience. Also, you can call us or e-mail us anytime to tell us what you liked and didn't like about the CSA.
So please sign-up if you're ready, and call us at (612) 756-3971 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.