Becoming a Part of Our Farm
The CSA Model (Community Supported Agriculture) offers a chance to build beneficial relationships between farmers, eaters, and the land. In exchange for your commitment to our produce in the spring, we commit to providing you with local, healthy, and sustainably produced food throughout the growing season.
Our CSA runs for fourteen weeks, from June through September. As a member, you will be responsible for showing up at either the farm or the downtown drop site each week to pick up your share of freshly harvested produce. You will generally receive a half-bushel of vegetables each week, equivalent to about one grocery bag of produce.
In short, we, the farm, wish to provide you with fresh, local, sustainably produced food, and you, the member, wish to receive a portion of our harvest. For more details about joining our CSA for the 2016 season, and reaping your share of the local harvest, please read through our 2016 Membership Agreement.
Important Things to Consider
Are you considering jumping on the ultra-fresh food bandwagon? Joining a CSA is an excellent option for anyone who wants to connect to the source of their produce. It's an awesome way to support local farms and make sure they prosper in years to come. But before committing to a season-long membership, it's integral to know all the facts and figure out what makes sense for you. Here are a few poignant questions that should help you make a more informed choice!
- Will joining a CSA fit with your lifestyle habits?
You've got to choose a local food program that fits you. The most common reason given for quitting a CSA after the first season is that people aren't able to use all of the vegetables. Be realistic about your family's lifestyle: if you eat out often, travel heavily during the growing season, or consume a lot of pre-prepared foods, a CSA may not work for you because of the consistent flow of produce. In this case, stopping by to see us a the Farmer's Market when you need to re-stock may be the better option. Also, if you live by yourself and think a full share may be too much produce for your needs, consider splitting the share with a friend, neighbor or co-worker. Our customers vary from students to singles to large families to retirees. Some are vegetarians or vegans, but most are simply interested in fresh, locally-grown, nutritious and flavorful food. For many, joining the Ben Kline Farms CSA will herald a whole new way of cooking, eating and sharing food. Members soon find a deeper connection to their nourishment, making more dishes and meals "from scratch" as well as a renewed interest in being more creative and adventurous in the kitchen.
- Do you love cooking seasonally?
This is where it's really important to be honest with yourself. Receiving a CSA basket each week is a very different experience than running to your grocery store for ingredients, or selecting a few of your favorite fresh goodies from the farmers market. If you're not used to cooking seasonally, and shaping your meal plan around what's available, it can take some getting used to. But remember, we're always here to help answer questions, and offer advice on ways to utilize your share effectively!
- Do you understand the shared risk?
Things happen. The idea that "we're all in this together" is part of what connects CSA subscribers to their local food source, the farm. But it's also, inherently, a bit of a gamble. Crops fail or can be damaged by weather, etc. It's important to remember that receiving specific items is never a guarantee. Make sure you read through the shared risk portion of the membership agreement, and ask your farmer if you have any questions.
- Have I asked my farmer the right questions?
Before you sign up, go straight to the source. Talking to your farmer directly is part of the beauty of the whole project! How long have they been a CSA? How long have they been farming? How much produce should I expect weekly? Do I need to pick it up at a site or will it be dropped off? Get the facts so you can make an educated decision and also so you can start building a personal relationship with your food!
- Are you prepared to get seriously creative in the kitchen?
One week you may receive a box overflowing with your favorite vegetable, and other weeks you may not recognize a thing. It's all part of the fun; you'll have to broaden your horizons and get those creative juices flowing. Many people love their CSA because it's taught them to let loose from their planned recipes and allow the ingredients to serve as inspiration. This is, in fact, something that Ben talks about all the time, and is part of his inspiration in starting the Ben Kline Farms CSA in the first place. His method in the kitchen starts with growing quality food that is able to lend it's own beauty and inspiration to cooking, allowing the ingredients to shape the meal.