What is a CSA?
I like to compare the CSA (community shared agriculture) to a magazine subscription. When you order a magazine you expect to receive it every month or the frequency that you signed up for.
We sell our CSA shares for 18 weeks over the main growing season, normally starting the end of June and finishing the end of October. Every week during that 18 week season we deliver a box full of freshly picked organic produce to a central drop off location in Charlottetown and Summerside.
Members are sharing the risks and the rewards of the growing season. They commit financially up front in the spring which allows us to have working capital early in the season at a time when funds can be low. Part of the risk is accepting that some seasons weather or pest pressure may have an affect on the crop resulting in lower yields or less variety in the shares.
We grow over forty different types of vegetables and usually one or two of those crops suffer from some weather or pest related issues but seeing as we offer so much variety it’s hardly even noticeable when one crop fails. We also plant every 2-3 weeks to try and offer as many varieties throughout the whole season as possible. Sometimes an early crop may not do well to cooler temperatures but by having multiple plantings we are still able to offer those crops a bit later in the season.
When we have an excellent growing season we have bumper crops which members are able to take advantage of. Canning, freezing and dehydrating a just a few ways members use these bumper crops to be able to enjoy the bounty of the season during the winter.
Grab box system
We grow a wide variety of vegetables and we try and satisfy all of our member’s culinary favorites but sometimes there are vegetables in the shares that may be new or maybe just something your family does not enjoy. Our popular grab box system allows members to customize their shares each week by leaving behind vegetables that they don’t want and taking those that they know they will enjoy. We really want to have our members leave each week knowing they are getting great value for their money and we want them to have vegetables that they will use and enjoy cooking with. It also gives members an opportunity to take extra vegetables home if they have a particular recipe in mind. Sometimes we do not have enough of a certain type of vegetable so it goes into the grab box system and then members can choose if they would like that particular vegetable that week.
We have a herb bin every week in the grab box system so that those folks who enjoy cooking with fresh herbs can take what they want. We do put fresh herbs in the actual shares once or twice during the season but we know that many member’s only want or need fresh herbs periodically during the season so the grab box system works perfectly.
The nuts and bolts
Our 18 week CSA costs $30/week and can be paid upfront or through an installment program. We also offer a biweekly share which is perfect for folks sharing with another family or for those that know they would not be able to consume the large share on their own. We currently have a waiting list, but we always encourage people to sign up in case a spot opens up.
Crop Availability Chart: