CSA member info

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture – small farms with direct links between farmers and consumers. CSA members help support small-scale, local agriculture by paying for their share of the season’s harvest up front, which benefits farmers as most of our expenses occur before the harvest begins, and by guaranteeing a market for our produce. Members then receive 20 week’s worth of exceedingly fresh, sustainably grown produce, including over 40 different crops, and join in the pleasure of being part of the farm while knowing that their food dollars stay in their local economy. Farmers and members collectively benefit from the CSA through the community bonds it helps build. I know we are better off for all of you!

FARM PICK UP – Membership in the 20-week CSA is $800 for a full share or $400 for a half share. A full share is often the right choice for a family of 3-4 people or those who like to preserve the extra. There are some couples and individuals who buy a full share, but mostly families of two or individuals choose a half share. (Our family of four eats the equivalent of 3-5 full shares/week!) The season is 20 weeks long, running from early June through October, though beginning and end dates are in part dictated by the weather. The selection of produce will vary over the course of the season, and while it is possible some crops will do better than others in a given year, we do our absolute best to ensure a good variety of veggies each week.

Fall shares are 7 weeks long, beginning after Labor Day. $320 for a full share, $160 for half. Please note that the fall share is NOT in addition to the regular season, it’s the tail end of the 20 weeks, for those who are away for the summer.

An add-on bonus – Tomato Shares! If you know our farm, you know we love tomatoes. As unlikely as it may seem, this can cause some problems. While most of our members share our “there’s never enough” sentiment, we have heard a number of members say to themselves, “What am I going to do with all these tomatoes?” And then there is the labor side of the equation. For the 6-8 weeks tomatoes are in their full glory, our labor hours for harvest almost double, and the value of a full share often exceeds $50. So, in fairness to ourselves and respect to those who don’t need 8 lbs of tomatoes every week, we offer tomato shares for $120 for the full share equivalent and $60 for the half. Don’t worry, regular members will still get tomatoes, but it will be more along the lines of 3-4 lbs for a full share and 1.5-2 lbs for a half. I predict that the tomato share will be sending folks home with about double that, during peak tomato season. And then large quantities of bulk tomatoes for processing will still be available at a discounted price. The purchase of the tomato share comes with the understanding that while we are quite good at growing tomatoes, there is always the chance of tomato catastrophe (disease, excessive rain, etc.) and members might not receive their full value.

Another add-on bonus is Bread Shares! This is available for Mondays and Thursdays only. My friend and phenomenal baker Stephanie Cabrera runs PanDiosa Bakery, a licensed Cottage Food Operation, from her home kitchen in Tolland. You might have seen her at the Storrs Farmers’ Market, where she sells bread, pastries, cakes, and specialty vegan/GF items. During the CSA season she will be offering a sourdough bread subscription; the selection will vary from week to week. She uses home-ground specialty grains and a Belgian-made brick oven. The loaves are about 600 grams (over one pound) and are priced at $8 each. A subscription for 20 weeks is $160.00. There is a separate sign up form for bread – be sure to fill it out if you’d like a delicious loaf of bread with your veggies every week!

Weekly pick up times are Monday or Thursday, 3:00-7:00, or Saturday from noon-4:00, at the farm. Please do your best to come within these times. Early arrival slows down our set-up prep, while late arrival extends our work day. At the farm, members pack their own bags with the week’s harvest. There are directions for how much to take of each veggie. There are usually choices within each category of produce. For example, a full share might choose two bunches from a choice of greens such as lettuce, chard, bok choi, and escarole. When in season, there are also pick-your-own options like cut flowers, herbs, peas, beans & cherry tomatoes. The PYO options are a very popular feature with many of our members. (PYO is part of your share, there is not an extra cost.)

Regarding vacations and other time away during the season – If you need to miss a week of pick up, you won’t really lose it as long as I know in advance. You could double up the week after, or switch pick up days for one week. I have a sign in sheet every week where members can let me know about changes in schedule. Or you could just send a friend when you’re gone. As we get closer to the beginning of the CSA season I send out an email to members with all the pick up details. I ask that folks keep that email, so they can forward it to friends who might pick up for them during the season. However, if you just forget to come one week, and we were counting on you coming, that week can not be made up.

Please understand refunds are not possible for canceled memberships. I would also like to point out that it is possible, though incredibly unlikely, that a devastating weather event or similar act of nature could ruin weeks’ worth of crops. In this case we cannot guarantee members would receive the full value of their share. That said, we grow a diverse collection of crops, and though, over the years, we have experienced damaging winds, hail, relentless rain, drought and pests, there’s always something that’s growing well and our members have always received more than the full value of their shares.

Thank you for your interest in Cobblestone Farm CSA!

~ Diane