Crossroads’ 2018 Multi-Farm CSA FAQ

 

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a great way for community members to support and be a part of their local food system. CSA members are purchasing a “share” of local farmers’ harvests, and during market season—April 18 through November 28—they pick up their weekly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables from one of a handful of convenient sites throughout Takoma Park, MD, and Takoma, DC. Typically, CSA members pay for an entire share of produce upfront, and this enables our farmers to plan for the season, purchase and plant new seeds, and cover other production costs.

I’m not sure my household can use all the produce in a share. Do you offer smaller shares?

We only have one share option, but we can help find a neighbor to split your share with. Email Liz (lwhitehurst@crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork.org) and let us know! In the past, members have split shares by each picking up every other week or by splitting the produce between them each week.

Tell me more about the farms who grow the produce in the Crossroads’ CSA.

Your CSA produce will come primarily from four local farms: Potomac Vegetable Farms, Full Cellar Farm, Toigo Orchards, and Tuckey’s Mountain Grown. We prioritize produce from farms that use organic practices and/or low-spray orchard methods. For more information about the production practices of Crossroads farmers, please visit their websites. We’d be happy to tell you more. This year, you can even visit the CSA farms, meet the farmers, and learn more about how your food is raised! The Crossroads visit to Full Cellar Farm is on Monday, March 26, and a visit to Potomac Vegetable Farms is scheduled for June 3.

I’m not able to cover the whole cost upfront. Do you offer payment plans?

We sure do! You can pay in two, three, or four installments. Email Liz lwhitehurst@crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork for more information about payment plans.

I’m not able to pick up my share this week. What should I do?

If you are not able to pick up your share, you are welcome to have a friend pick it up. No prior notice is required, but it is your responsibility to ensure they follow pickup site protocol. If you know you will miss a pickup (owing to vacation or other plans), please let us know in advance and we’ll happily donate your share to a Crossroads neighbor in need.

What’s in the CSA?

During the height of the growing season—summer through early fall—you can expect your box to be full of a wide range of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. During spring and late fall, as the growing season is either gearing up or winding down, your box will still be as full but with perhaps a little less variety. Check out a few actual boxes below:

Is CSA membership a good fit for me?

Because the hallmark of any CSA is a seasonal commitment, we appreciate the amount of thought that goes into this question. In fact, the CSA model, which entails sharing the risks as well as the rewards with our farmers, is not for everyone. If you are on the fence about joining, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I want to support local farmers? Joining our CSA means that you are committing to standing by our farmers for the entire growing season, and that you are willing to accommodate the inherent risks (and rewards!) of farming. Too much or too little rain could mean a limited variety of fruits and vegetables in your box for a week or two, while a stretch of ideal weather conditions could result in bumper crop yields. CSA members are flexible, and take things as they come.
  • Do I want to be a part of my local food system? There are so many benefits to buying local food! For starters, local food tastes better and has more nutrients, because it’s picked at its peak and gets to you faster. The environment also benefits; local food cuts out the middle man and shortens the distance your food travels, thereby reducing your carbon footprint. Investing in our farmers not only supports their efforts to be responsible stewards of their land, but also ensures that local farmland stays out of the hands of developers. CSA members are passionate about where their food comes from, and about sustaining local farms so that future generations can also have access to fresh, healthy food.
  • Do I want to eat seasonally? Joining a CSA takes all the guesswork out of eating seasonally—if it’s in your box, it’s just-picked fresh, in-season, and delicious. CSA members truly eat with the seasons, enjoying fresh leafy greens, berries, and stone fruit throughout the summer, tomatoes in August, and hearty root vegetables and sturdy greens in the fall.
  • Am I up for trying new foods? Kohl-what-bi? It’s very possible at some point you’ll receive something you’ve never eaten—let alone cooked!—before. That’s why we send CSA members weekly newsletters letting them know what to expect in their boxes and a few recipe suggestions to try. We’re always available to answer questions about what’s in your box and what to do with it. CSA members enjoy learning about new foods, and experimenting with new ways to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables.

Can I cancel my CSA membership?

Please let us know if you are unhappy with your share and we will do our best to address your concerns. In most cases, we are able to work with our members to make their experience a great one and we really appreciate the opportunity to gain feedback and make our program the best it can be. Because our farmers have committed to growing enough food for the share you purchased, we are unable to provide refunds after the first few weeks (see CSA Member Agreement for exact date). In the event of cancellation, we will refund your original method of payment for the remaining weeks not delivered.

What to know more? Here’s what our members are saying:

As members for the last two years, we can honestly say that each week of the season is an opportunity for delight and discovery. The produce, both gorgeous and delicious, couldn’t be better, and the weekly newsletter provides abundant culinary inspiration. Being connected to a network that enables local farmers to make their living providing fresh produce and enjoying the weekly surprises in our CSA box is deeply rewarding

Elizabeth & Phil

I enjoyed the variety of produce and had a great time figuring out what to do with each week’s bounty. It stimulated my creativity and got my family eating some vegetables that they hadn’t eaten much before. I loved the seasonal cooking and supporting our local food system, and particularly loved knowing the farmers whose food I was eating. Last year I got the basic share and the egg add on (get the eggs!!), but this year I’m going all in and adding on the market treats and meat.

Wendy

I grew up on a farm and didn’t realize how much I would miss all that fresh, delicious produce once I moved to the ‘city.’ Luckily for me, Crossroads brings farm-fresh food right to my door. Tastes like home!

Jill

I love cooking with all of the fresh fruits and veggies grown by local farmers each week, and being able to support healthy food access in my community by buying a share makes it a win-win!

Wayne

I LOVED the quality of the Crossroads CSA, and knowing that the fruit and vegetables come from farmers who really care about Crossroads made it that much better. My other favorite part was definitely the “market treat” – trying something different every other week was so unique and really added a personal touch I didn’t have with other CSAs.

Hally

Join today!

Members of our Multi-Farm CSA not only receive delicious, locally grown fruits and vegetables from Crossroads farmers all through summer and fall, but also they become an essential part of our work to build a healthier, more inclusive food system in Maryland’s Takoma/Langley Crossroads. Sign up online today! Installment plans and SNAP accepted! Still have questions? Contact CSA Coordinator Liz Whitehurst at lwhitehurst@crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork.org.