CSA FAQ

Following is a list of frequently asked questions and their answers about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Courtesy of Paige Hill (Urban Patchwork of Austin, Texas).

What is "CSA" and how does it work?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows people to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  A local farm offers a certain number of "shares" to the public that typically consists of a box of vegetables and other fresh produce.  Sometimes eggs, meats, breads and dairy products are offered.  Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.  Members may pick up their shares at a designated site.

Who are the farmers?

In the fresh veggies, your farmers are your neighbors.  The farm is located within Brampton city limits, surrounded by new sub-divisions.  A team of full-time farmers and volunteers grow delicious food for you.  We use sustainable agricultural practices to farm 4 acres of land.  We do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other harmful chemicals.  We only use compost, crop rotation and green manures to maitain healthy, productive soil.

What is the seasonal schedule?

Currently we break the growing year up into three seasons based on typical Ontario growing patterns.  We may slightly adjust this schedule each year depending on weather and demand.

Spring    May to June
Summer    July to September
Fall    October

How much food is in a weekly CSA share?

Weekly share boxes vary depending on what types of food are available each season.  Typically members receive approximately 10-15 generous servings of seasonal vegetables plus a variety of herb bunches each week.  Members may also purchase any surplus veggies at a set price per pound/unit.

Can I choose what's in the weekly CSA share?

There is an option to purchase surplus produce each week, but the basic share basket will be determined by seasonal availability.  Produce is most nutritious when grown in its natural temperature range rather than forced by artificial chemicals or environments.  So some things are only available when they are "in season".  To help with meal preparation we provide recipes, storage tips and meal sharing opportunities to members.

Are your vegetables "organic"?

Three years of hard work, sweat, blisters, and tears.  Enormous support from our customers, appreciation, encouragement and kind words made it all possible.  Finally on November 15th, 2011, we received Certified Organic status by Ecocert Canada.

Why are shares for sale months before I'll get my first basket for the season?

the fresh veggies operates a fairly traditional CSA which relies on supporters to prepay for CSA shares.  This prepayment allows seeds, supplies and tools to be purchased and labor to be arranged.  A number of crops are started in greenhouses well before the season and most supplies need to be purchased months before the first harvest.  Labor has been arranged and in some cases farm workers are already being paid.  The CSA model, with it's prepayment and shared risk/bounty elements, allows these farmers to focus on growing healthy food and tend to soil health rather than worrying about marketing and administrative chores in the middle of the farming season.

How much does a weekly share cost?

Shares in the fresh veggies are priced similarly to what you might pay for the same amount of produce at an average grocery store.  Currently, shares average out to a value of $31 to $34 per week (pick-up) if you purchase early, and $34 to $37 per week if you subscribe closer to harvest.

Members pre-pay for shares on a seasonal basis.  If this payment schedule is prohibitive for you, please contact us.  We are open to working out an alternative plan.  For CSA registartion and payment visit CSA Registration page.

Do you sell half shares?

We sell full shares only.  Each share is sized for a small family to eat two to three vegetable servings per day depending on how often you choose to eat at home.  If that is more than you prefer to eat, consider splitting a share with a neighbor or donating the excess.  In the future, if the demand is great, we may begin to offer small and large shares.  Email us if this is something you're interested in.

When do I receive my weekly CSA share?

Weekly shares are available for pick up on Friday afternoon.  Shares should be picked up from the farm between 5pm and 7pm.  You can also pickup your share at one of our four farmers market stalls.  For CSA veggies box pickup locations visit CSA Pickup locations page.

How do I join the CSA? Can I sign up on-line?

We want registration to be quick and simple.  You may sign up online, and payment is easy through Paypal.  You may also register in different ways, if you prefer, by contacting us directly.  For CSA registartion and payment visit CSA Registration page.

What is your refund or cancellation policy?

Because your share dollars are used to buy seeds, nutrients, water, supplies, and equipment, there are no refunds.  If you are disappointed in the quality of our produce, or we are at fault for a missed pickup, we want you to be compensated.  Our goal is complete satisfaction.  If you move, change your situation or have a personal need, please contact us and we will do what we can to work with your situation.

What happens if there is a crop failure?

We plant successions of a variety of crops.  It is rare that we will have a complete crop failure.  Joining a CSA creates a relationship between the farmer and the shareholder where each has a direct interest in the other.  Each experiences all the bounty and risks inherent in farming.  On weeks when crops are abundant, shares will be larger.  On weeks when crops are slim, shares may be smaller.  It should balance out over the season.

How do membership renewals work?

Once you become a member you are automatically reserved a spot for the following season which you may pay for any time prior to the start of the next season.  If you choose not to renew we ask you to send a cancellation notice at least 30 days prior to the next season so we can invite people who are on the waiting list.

Do I need to donate time to the CSA?

We encourage all members to volunteer time to the programs and tasks of the CSA.  While it is not required, volunteering is an important way to give back to your community even in a seemingly small way.  It not only enriches others, but yourself.  We find that "many hands make light work" and always find spending a few moments with neighbors feeds the other parts of us that are not fed with the nutritious veggies.

Are there any events or activities associated with the CSA?

Yes! As we continue to grow there will be programs, workshops and demonstrations for members and non-members.  We can also schedule farm visits and always welcome new ideas and volunteers for activities.

Can I visit the farms?

Yes!!! Just contact us to arrange a visit.  We are working to create a demonstration farm where members and neighbors can also attend demonstrations and workshops.