HOW DOES THE CSA AT LEANING BIRCH FARM WORK?
The 2019 Summer CSA agreement will be for 18 weeks of fresh produce over the course of a season that runs from June 1 through October 16. Members can choose any 18 out of 20 weeks, allowing them to opt out of any two weeks they choose to allow for any summer vacation plans they have.
CSA shares can be picked up mid-week at our farm, or on the weekend at one of our public market stands. Last year we offered a pickup on Saturday in Saratoga and expect to do that again this season. This year we hope to add a pickup in Schenectady, pending our acceptance into the Schenectady Greenmarket. We will provide all the details about the exact hours, locations, and pick up days as soon as we finalize our farmers market plans.
SO, WHAT WILL I GET?
In response to feedback from our previous members, we now offer two different CSA models to better meet our members’ unique lifestyles. Both models are available at the same price: $435 for 18 weeks ($24 per week) worth of produce. This reflects roughly a 20% discount off our regular market stand prices. In other words, for a $24 initial outlay, you will receive about $30 worth of produce each week.
1) Free Choice Model
Each week, CSA members will make personal selections from a wide assortment of items we have available. This ensures everyone the freedom to choose those things that fit with their particular tastes and needs while avoiding those they may not be interested in.
Members are expected to select an average of $30 worth of produce each week based on our retail prices, but will be free to take a bit more or less on any given week depending on their individual needs. We will not be monitoring what you take as we trust that you will keep in the community spirit of joining a CSA and not abuse the system.
Participants in this plan may make their weekly pickup at any of the designated locations at their convenience.
2) Traditional CSA model
With this model, members stop by each week and pick up a bag that we have pre-filled with a selection of veggies we feel are the best and freshest we have at that time. In exchange for allowing us to make their selections for them, we will offer these members the first and best of each variety as it becomes available. As in the past, you will receive these limited items before anyone else has a chance to buy them. This model works well for members who have a very busy lifestyle, or for those who like to be surprised by what they receive. We’ve had members claim, “It’s like Christmas morning each week!”
Again, regardless of which of these two models you choose, you can expect to get an average of $30 worth of produce each week for 20% off our market stand prices. In addition, all members will be able to purchase any extra items they want at the same 20% discount.
For those who would like to support our farm but don’t care to commit to a weekly CSA pickup we are offering a third option:
3) Pre-paid Debit Card
In this case, members pay a membership fee of $435, and receive a debit card that is worth $540 at current retail prices. This is a 20% discount, just like the other models. The debit card can be used during specific hours at our farm stand (which will be posted on our website and Facebook page) or at any time at our off-farm market locations.
This option allows members to get what they want, when they want it. Members can come each week and pick up a week’s supply or come more or less frequently, depending on their needs. You will even be able use your debit card to purchase items before and after the CSA season as long as you give us sufficient notice in advance. We grow a lot of stuff early and late in the season – from early spring greens to late storage crops – so this way you can get it all as we have it available.
DO I HAVE TO DECIDE ON A MODEL NOW?
NO! You can secure a membership by paying at least the $85 deposit. This will lock you in so you don’t have to worry about our CSA filling up, and you can decide which model will work best for you as we get closer to the beginning of the season.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER PERKS?
Yes! Regardless of which model you choose, our CSA members are invited to join our private Facebook group where they will be able to access each week’s Fresh Sheet that describes everything that is currently in season and available for sale. Additionally, the Facebook group is a place for members to share recipes and tips for using all of the items they’ve selected and allows them to keep in touch with what’s happening at the farm.
We also plan to have several “mini-events” at the farm during on-site pickup hours. These may include taste-testings of recipes using veggies we grow, crop walks in the field and/or greenhouse to learn about our sustainable practices (or just to see new things growing), pick-your-own events if we have a bumper crop of particular veggies, or opportunities to help with garlic harvest and planting…we’re also interested in hearing what you’d like to do here!
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?
Leaning Birch Farm continues to limit the number of CSA memberships we offer in order to provide our community with the absolute best quality and variety of produce we can offer. The cost of a membership is $435 for the 2019 summer season. You can reserve your share simply by paying an $85 deposit. Payment in full is expected by May 19. Click HERE to hold your spot.