SWEET LAND FARM CSA
Sweet Land Farm
9732 Route 96
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Hello CSA Member,
Thank you for joining Sweet Land Farm CSA! This handbook is intended to provide information about how the CSA works. Please read through it and keep it on hand for quick reference during the CSA season. Feel free to call or email us with any questions you may have. Thank you.
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture evolved to bring farmers, farmland, and a community of members together into a meaningful relationship that equitably meets the needs of all three parties. Farmers need a place to farm and make a viable living. Farmland needs to be enriched and nurtured so that it can yield bountiful harvests year after year. Members need a dependable source of vibrant, richly grown food. All of these needs must be kept in balance. Sweet Land Farm is a CSA-only farm, so everything that we grow is for you, the shareholders. This makes the above-mentioned balance nicely transparent. All of the money that we receive from members is either put into the farm, or paid to the farmers and farm workers. All of the produce that the farmers, farm workers, and farmland produces is distributed to the members. As a member you are truly ensuring this farm’s existence and a small farm family’s livelihood. Please accept a sincere “thank you” from us.
Distribution – Summer CSA
Times and Days
Summer shares are distributed on the farm every Tuesday and Friday from 1-8pm. The distribution shed is also open from 8am-noon the day following distribution for members who missed regular pick-up hours. (So that’s Wednesday and Saturday from 8-noon) Quality and selection are not guaranteed the second day, but usually you can get a good share.
When signing up, members choose the day of the week that they will usually get their share. However, members may get their share either day – depending on what is most convenient for them that particular week. There is no need to contact the farmers about a switched day. Members may only pick-up once each week, and missed weeks may not be made up. If you will be out of town you can offer your share to a friend or neighbor, or let it return to the farm via chicken food!
How to get your share
We attempt to make the share super flexible. Everyone likes different produce, and in different amounts, so we have worked hard to figure out ways of offering lots of flexibility within the confines of farm economics and weather. The distribution shed is divided into the “One Bag Side” and the “Free Choice Side”.
“One Bag Side”
One side of the distribution shed is the “One Bag Side”. The farm provides a reusable bag upon joining the CSA. This bag is just the right size for the “One Bag Side”. Members may fill (to the brim – nice and full) the bag with any assortment of produce that they want from the “One Bag Side”. This means that members need only take produce that they want, and in the amounts that they can use. No more rutabagas and turnips if you don’t like them. We really mean it – if all you want is onions and broccoli from the “One Bag Side” then fill your bag with only that. Selection is, of course, limited by seasonality. If members do not have their bag there are correctly sized reusable bags for sale at the farm, as well as correctly sized plastic grocery bags. MEMBERS MAY ONLY USE THE BAGS THAT WE PROVIDE FOR THE “One Bag Side”. This is because the volume of the bag is very important to proper farm functioning of the “One Bag Side”.
“Free choice” means that you may take as much (or as little) of the item as you need for the week. Free choice items are not intended for freezing, canning, or giving away to friends and neighbors. Free choice simply means that we let you decide how much your family needs for the week. One way to think of it is that we do not pick enough produce for members to “stock up” with. If you find that you are not using all of the produce in a week, take less next time. On the other hand, u-pick crops described as “unlimited” may be picked and then frozen, dried, and canned to your heart’s content for your own family’s future use.
You should leave the farm with what you will use for the week. Please don’t take produce to give away to friends and neighbors (of course sharing dinner with friends is fine!). If they would like to share in the harvest, encourage them to contact us about becoming a member.
Please do not come early to distribution – we harvest and wash almost all of the produce the day of distribution and are very busy getting everything ready by 1pm. You may, of course come early and spend your time picking u-pick crops or simply enjoying the farm.
U-pick crops are available throughout most of the season. Most of the u-pick crops are unlimited, meaning that you can pick as much of them and as frequently as you wish. Some u-pick crops are limited. We send out weekly emails stating which u-pick crops are available and what the limits are, if any. The crops are also listed on the u-pick board in the distribution shed, along with a map of the farm indicating where the crops are. In the field the crops are marked with signs. We do not provide containers for the u-pick crops – so if the strawberry limit is 2 quarts, please bring a container to measure with from home. U-pick crops may be picked any day, and any time during daylight hours. We do have to turn on the electric fences at dusk, so please respect our chores (and bedtime!) and finish picking before dusk.
Cumulative Season Limit (for berries)
The limited u-pick crops are quantified using the concept of a cumulative season limit. For example, the first time that strawberries are opened for u-pick we will post the season limit, lets say a quart. You may pick this quart any time you wish. Then, in a week, or in a couple of days, depending on how the crop looks, we will establish a new season limit, say 2 quarts. At this point you may pick a total of 2 quarts to-date for the season. And etc. By the end of the strawberry season the limit may be up to 8 quarts. This means that you could pick all 8 quarts at the end of the season; however, it is best to pick each time the limit increases because this helps us assess the crop more accurately, and also ensures that you get your limit.
We manage the u-pick crops for a little waste. This is necessary because we need to ensure that there is always enough for every member to pick. If we tried to account for every berry we would surely run out, and some members would have nothing to pick. The amount in the patch can change very quickly – it may look like there are bazillions of berries that are going to go unpicked – but by the next morning the patch is well picked. It is hard, as a member, to asses the patch using just the snapshot of time that you are picking and get an accurate assessment of what is going on. Take heart that we carefully assess the fruit patches daily.
Distribution – Winter CSA
Times and Days
The winter share begins about a week after the last summer distribution, with the exact date determined by how the holidays fall. The winter share consists of familiar roots, as well as several more unusual ones thrown in. Also included are garlic, onions, cabbage, winter squash, kale, collards, and greens from our 3 passive solar greenhouses. We enjoy staying connected to the members through the winter and are happy to provide a source of healthy, local sustenance in the off-season. Winter shares may be purchased anytime until sold out.
The winter CSA is distributed from 2-6 every other Wednesday. There is a 3-week gap in January. The specific dates of the winter CSA are posted on the farm website during the winter. Boxed shares are also available for purchase in the winter CSA. Boxed shares may be picked up from 9am-5pm Thursday-Saturday following the main Wednesday distribution dates. If you usually pick up during the main Wednesday distribution and are unable to make it the farm will box a share for you. BOXED SHARES ARE IN THE COOLER IN THE DISTRIBUTION SHED.
There are 7 winter distributions, and a share pays for 6, so there is a missed distribution built right into your share price.
In the winter the distribution shed is divided into two “One Bag” sides. Winter members are provided with 2 reusable farm bags. Please see the description of the “One Bag Side” under the heading in “Distributions – Summer CSA”.
It is the member’s responsibility to know when the winter distributions are taking place.
Eggs from our free-range hens are available through egg shares. Our chickens are rotated over fresh pasture every week or two, and eat clover, grass, bugs, organic feed, and sprouted organic grains. This is the happy life that chickens are supposed to live! Their eggs have dark orange yolks that stand up by on their own, indicating robust health and high omega-3 fatty acids. We enjoy their funny, industrious natures, and value them as part of the nutrient cycle on the farm.
Egg shares receive 1 dozen eggs. You may buy as many eggs shares as you can use. Eggs are picked up at the same time as vegetable shares. The egg share runs for the same season as our summer CSA.
CSAs are seasonal. This means that members eat seasonally. Seasonal eating can be one of the most challenging aspects of being a first-time CSA member. It is important to understand seasonal eating because that is what you will be doing as a member. We find that members whom are well supplied with cookbooks geared toward seasonal, CSA, or farmer market based recipes are well equipped to eat with a CSA. Consider buy several good cookbooks that are written around seasonal eating. We maintain a recipe blog on the farm website, as well as links to recipe sites that we find useful. The recipe blog also has a list of cookbooks that we like.
CSA Growing (i.e. Eating!) Season
Central New York has a long spring season, a nice, not-too-hot summer season, a lovely fall season, followed by quite a long winter season. Being a CSA member in June means eating a lot of greens, some strawberries, some peas, radishes, and turnips. Those early weeks of the CSA can feel long, with the first “hard” or “real” vegetables seeming a long way off in the future. We do many things to mitigate a cool spring. We have 3 large passive solar greenhouses that supply extra early basil and cucumbers, and use row cover extensively in the field. Both of these season extension tools take extra work and money, but we think that it is important to provide the best share that we can to our members. Seasonal eating also means that the weather has a direct effect of what we distribute every week. If it has been a cold, rainy spring, the warm weather crops will grow slowly, and everyone will be eating cool weather crops for a while longer (cool weather crops in the Spring means greens). That’s what nature provides. It is good to remember that the spring passes fairly quickly, and that the 3- 5 weeks of the season that it takes up is not much compared to the full 26 week CSA season. Seasonal eating, once you are accustomed to it, is quite pleasurable and natural. By early to mid July the early season warm crops are coming in – broccoli, beets, cucumbers, and summer squash. By August most of the traditional vegetables are around – tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, peppers. Fall brings winter squash, onions, garlic, plus all of the summer vegetables. By late fall we are back into more greens, leeks, winter squash, plus lots of roots – carrots, beets, turnips, celeriac, rutabagas, radishes, parsnips, and potatoes. There is a chart at the end of this handbook showing produce availability throughout the year.
Payment secures your share. Payment may be made in full upon joining, or paid in four installments. We require that the payments are kept current with the distributions, and that summer shares are paid for in full by Columbus Day.
Special installment plan:
If you need a special installment plan, please speak with a farmer. Usually this means that the payments are made in smaller amounts, but more frequently. (I.e. – weekly). Members on a special payment plan still need to keep their payments current with the distributions, and still pay the full amount for the share.
Method of payment:
Payment can be mailed to the farm, or placed in the “money jar” in the distribution shed. If you pay with cash please be sure that your name and date is secured to the cash so we know whom it is from.
Low Income Shares:
Through the Healthy Food For All Program, in co-operation with Cornell Co-operative Extension and several other area CSAs, we can provide a limited number of low-income shares. They make up roughly 10% of our membership (about 30 families). These shares are funded by grants from the co-operative extension, farmer fund-raising, and member donations. Funding covers about ½ of a low-income share, with the recipient paying for the other half. We feel blessed that we have a means to help address social inequities in our community in meaningful way. Membership sign-up is handled through the Cornell Co-operative Extension. Donations of any amount to the program are welcome at any time of the year. Make checks out to Sweet Land Farm and send them to us. Indicate that they are for the program. Thanks!
The Annual Harvest Dinner here at the farm is our farm’s main source of fundraising for the program.
How is the share priced?
Shares are sold by Household. The farm offers a bounteous harvest and members partake of this bounty, some families need more, some less. The share price is a reflection of how much it costs to sustainably run the farm rather than a dollar value of each vegetable. Because of the high quality and low price of the share, shared shares are only allowed between two single adults, or between a family and an elderly single friend, neighbor, or parent.
The share price for the 2013 Summer CSA is $540 and runs for 24 weeks (almost half a year), so the price per week works to be $22.50/week. When this dollar amount is divided by 2 adults the price per adult per week is $11.25, not a bad deal!
During the summer we distribute 12-30 items in the shed. The average retail value of the distributed share is 30-40 dollars per week. A few of our members have commented that they use about two thirds of the offered share and feel like the share is a good deal.
A dollar value for the u-pick is not included in the price of the share. We include u-pick in the share as a gift to the members because we value opening up the farm for people and kids to enjoy.
Basically, we provide you the member a wholesale value of the harvested crops, a large array of you- pick flowers and vegetables to boot, and access to the farm and the beautiful outdoors. We do not truck our food, provide a paved parking lot, provide air-conditioned shopping, or sell gasoline, magazines and bubble gum. Thank you for that!!! Thank you for letting us concentrate our efforts on providing you the healthiest, freshest produce we can.
1. Speed limit – 10 mph. Please keep to the speed limit on the farm road. We have 2 children and
there are usually CSA children at the farm.
2. U-pick hours – any day, as many days as you wish, daylight hours only.
3. Kids – This is a working farm. There are real dangers here such as the pond, electric fences, cars, trucks, tractors, and farm machinery. Please supervise your children with these dangers in mind.
4 Pets are not allowed at the farm. Please keep them in your car or leave them at home.
5. Greenhouses are off limits.
6. Do not play on equipment.
7. Assume that all fences are electrified. The chicken fence is always on and the perimeter fences are usually on.
8. The pond is off limits to everyone – adults and children alike.
9. Parking – Please park ONLY in the 2 parking lots. Please do not park along the farm road. We do not own the farm road, and the farmers that granted us right-of-way frequently drive large equipment and need all the room they can get.
Enjoy the farm! These rules are for your protection and farm efficiency.
Thanks again and see you at the farm!