What is CSA?
CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a model in which members pay up front for a portion, or share, of the season’s harvest. The farmer uses the funds to help cover the costs of growing the food, and, in return, the member receives a regular supply of produce throughout the season.
In the spirit of Community Supported Agriculture, the member is connected to the highs and lows of the farm. With their investment, members share the inherent risks associated with farming, as well as the potential rewards of a bountiful harvest.
Benefits of CSA?
CSAs help farmers by guaranteeing a market for our crops and providing cash flow to help cover the season’s growing expenses. Members benefit by enjoying a “share” full of high quality, fresh, healthy, local produce—becoming attuned to what can be grown seasonally in their region.
By purchasing directly from our farm, our members partner with us in becoming stewards of the land. They also invest in their local food system—and their local economy—and help our family farm and our employees thrive. Ultimately, members forge a relationship with the farmers who nourish their family, gaining a greater understanding of where their food comes from, how it’s grown, and what it takes to go from seed to plate.
“The Boldly Grown CSA is the best such program we have experienced, from the quality and variety of produce to the consistently strong communication (weekly emails and newsletters). Being able to visit the farm in the Fall and witness first-hand all of the thoughtful farming practices is a bonus.”Nancy
How do I know if CSA is a good fit for me?
CSA—which stands for Community Supported Agriculture—is just one way you can access authentic, quality food and support local farmers. Reflecting on these five questions will help you decide if it would be a good fit.
- Is the relationship to the actual farmer important to you? (Do you want to support a farmer?)
- Joining a CSA means that you’re committed to staying with a farmer through an entire season, come thick or thin. Inherent in this arrangement is the understanding that there’s a risk. Mother Nature may send too much sun or rain, bugs or disease, and a certain crop or crops may not appear in your share that season. On the flip side, there may be a bumper crop that you get to enjoy.
- And, this relationship goes both ways. When you join our CSA, we make an attempt to cultivate a connection with you, too. We try to add value to your life by teaching you about your food’s story and how to prepare it—we want you to succeed at eating our food and get the most out of your vegetables! We also connect through our regular updates and farm visit opportunities. This doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of these connection points. But when you do, your CSA experience becomes more rich.
2. Do you value having quality vegetable ingredients that actually taste good?
- An important quality of folks who stick with CSA is that they love food. Real food. Food that tastes like it should, because it’s grown in quality soil. In fact, CSAs often create food snobs, because customers finally experience how a carrot should really taste, and they cannot go back to the watered down version from the grocery store.
- If you really love cooking and you really value taste, then you’ll probably LOVE being in a CSA. Because CSAs are all about providing high-quality vegetables that make your home dining experience feel like an event. You’re paying for that taste experience when you join a CSA. If you’re just looking for a basic celery and carrot at the cheapest price, CSA is not your gig.
3. Are you willing to try new foods? (Really?)
- CSAs will push you to try new foods and explore variety in your kitchen. You’ll discover new veggies you love, and you’ll discover new veggies you have to learn to love. We know that if left to your own devices, you would never purposely put a kohlrabi in your box. (Or would you? If you would, then you would definitely click with CSA!).
- It’s all part of the great goal in CSA of developing food diversity and teaching our communities (and our kids) how to eat seasonally again. If you want to grow in the kitchen, you have to push yourself to try new ingredients. We’ll be there along the way helping you out.
4. Do you need control in your menu planning?
- CSA members have to learn to be flexible with their menu and make things work in the kitchen, because you often don’t know what you will get in your box until just before the pick up. Some people love this spontaneity. Others will be stressed by it. Think hard on this: Are you willing to give up some control over what goes in your box? Or do you need to live by your plan?
- If you really want to stick with your plan, then you may be better off supporting a local farm via the grocery store or farmers market. A common reason members leave CSAs is that they didn’t get enough of the veggies they wanted.
5. Will you be traveling a lot during the season?
- Our winter CSA is only 10 boxes. If you already know you’re going to miss more than one box, you might want to consider whether it’s a good fit for you right now. We’ll pro-rate your share cost for up to one absence that you communicate to us prior to registration. However, once you’re registered, our CSA isn’t the kind that credits your account if you miss a week, and we don’t hold your boxes after the pick-up window. So if you have to miss multiple pick-ups, it may not make financial sense for you to sign up for a CSA right now. Plus, you’ll miss out on the full range of veggies we have to offer.
How many people does one share feed?
This is tough for us to answer, as it depends on factors such as:
- the size of your household (adults/kids)
- how much you cook at home versus eat out
- if you incorporate vegetables into most of your meals
- if you have any vegetarians in your household (or alternatively, vegetable haters—we see you, toddlers!)
Keep in mind our biweekly box essentially contains two weeks worth of veggies. If you do a weekly summer CSA worth $20-$30, we think you’ll be happy with our share. If you’re not sure, try pushing the boundaries of your produce consumption—we can all probably stand a few more veggies in our diet. Plus, the dark days of winter are a great time for cooking and trying new recipes!
Do you offer a half share or mini-box?
We don’t. We think a half share would miss out on too many of our great veggies. If you think a full share would be too much food, consider upping your veggie intake or sharing with a friend (see below!). We also provide a CSA handbook that contains tips on storing your veggies so they don’t go to waste!
Can I split a CSA box with a friend?
Yes! We’ve had members do this with success, and it can be a good option if you have dietary restrictions, as we don’t offer customized shares. Just keep in mind some items may not divide up easily, and sharing a box will be a bit more work on your end. We will need one person to be the primary contact, and you’ll need to divide up the items and coordinate payment amongst yourselves.
Are the boxes customizable?
We offer a traditional CSA model in which we share with you the bounty of the season. Our boxes are not customizable, but we work to ensure you receive a diversity of items. If you’re concerned about being able to eat all of the items in your box due to allergies or dietary restrictions, we encourage you to consider sharing a box with a friend.
Is all the produce from your farm?
For the most part, yes! Our program is a traditional CSA in the sense that we do not aggregate products from multiple farms. You are directly supporting our family farm with your participation in our CSA. There are certain crops we don’t currently grow that we still feel should be part of a winter CSA program in the PNW. We have partnered with other local, certified organic farms to source these items in order to provide a more diverse share.
Is all your produce organic?
Yes! We are certified organic by Oregon Tilth, and any other produce we include from other local farms is also certified organic.
Do you accept SNAP/EBT?
At this time, we can only accept SNAP/EBT for on-farm members because we have a card reader on site. We hope to expand this option to all our sites in the future!
When and where do you deliver boxes? Can I host a drop site?
We have a range of drop sites in Seattle, Skagit and Whatcom. The most updated list can be found on our registration page, along with each drop site’s delivery day and pick-up window.
And yes, we are open to adding new drop sites! We also do workplace CSA drops. New drop sites must have a minimum of 10 members, ideally with capacity for more. Contact us at [email protected] to find out more about becoming a drop site.
Is there a deadline for signing up?
There’s no official registration deadline, though our software will cut off any new registrations the week before a delivery date. If there’s space available, we’ll accept sign-ups throughout the season at a prorated amount based on the remaining deliveries.
Keep in mind that our program filled up last season. Early registration reserves your spot and helps your farmers (that’s us) with our production expenses during the season.
What happens if I’m going to be away?
Two scenarios here:
- PRIOR TO REGISTRATION: We’ll pro-rate your share for one pre-planned absence/delivery date conflict. Use the coupon code “MISSONE” and set a vacation hold in your account for the date you’ll miss so we don’t pack you a box. You’re all set!
- AFTER REGISTRATION: The first (and preferred!) option is to have someone else pick up your share! If that’s not possible, you may receive the full value of your share as a credit in your CSA account and use it to purchase items from the web store during the season. This option is limited to two absences and must be requested no later than the Saturday at midnight prior to a CSA delivery (as boxes are planned and ahead of that time). Credits don’t carry forward to future seasons, and refunds are not provided, so make sure to use your credits to buy some yummy goods from our online store!
Unfortunately, we cannot offer alternate pick-up days as our weekly harvest and delivery schedule is already jam-packed.
Oops – I registered, but now I can no longer participate. Can I get a refund?
We plan our budget around selling a certain number of shares each season, and we don’t generally provide refunds for our CSA shares once purchased. That said, we’ll assess refund requests on a case-by-case basis. We encourage you to first try to find a friend/neighbor/co-worker to take on your share and pay you for the remaining value. See our Member Agreement for more on our refund policy.
“Wonderful selection of beautiful fresh local veggies which is so appreciated during the cold dark days of winter. Many varieties were unique and new to me and some of the best I’ve had. I wholeheartedly recommend Boldly Grown; every CSA felt like an opening a treasure box!”Lily