As of October 7th we are sold out of fall 2016-winter 2017 CSA shares! Thanks so much to everyone who signed up this summer, we look forward to growing for you.
We are offering two share sizes to meet the demands of various households. Our CSA members pick up at the Upper East Side Farmers Market every Saturday from 10am-2pm at Legion Park located at Biscayne blvd and 66th street, or at a members home in coconut grove (also on Saturday) . The CSA runs from mid-November for 20 consecutive weeks until April (exact start date to be determined by our harvest). Please note we will be skipping share pick up on Christmas and New Years.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between farmers and members. It implies a willingness to share both the bounty from the land and at least some of the risks involved with production. Through seasonal subscriptions, growers provide CSA members with weekly fresh vegetable selections. The result? Just picked-fresh, locally grown produce; vegetables grown for flavor, not shelf life; and a vibrant local farm economy.
Since our farm is small, our CSA is small too. Members benefit from the intimate relationship they develop with the farm in many ways, not only because it is a small group but because we are an urban farm, located in the City of Miami. Our members learn about alternative tropical crops that aren't for sale in the grocery store and they have the opportunity to visit the farm and see where their food is being grown as well as volunteer at the farm. Recipes and suggestions for delicious ways to experience those fruits and veggies you may not have experience with are included with the weekly pick-up.
We believe a healthy living soil is the key to growing nutritious vegetables so we focus on composting, cover-cropping and other organic practices to sustain the micro-organisms and organic matter in our fields. Although we aren't certified organic our methods of farming are beyond organic. We grow about 20 different varieties of vegetables and some fruits and herbs, all of which you can enjoy as they come into season. We also source produce from other local farms as a way of extending our season and offering a more varied selection of produce. We are excited about sharing information and produce from those farms on our blog and in the shares!
This past season our CSA members received healthy quantities of the following fruits and veggies in their shares:
curly, dinosaur and rainbow kale
purple and orange carrots
red and green mustard greens
arugula and mixed salad lettuce with edible flowers
heirloom beefsteak, grape and cherry tomatoes
florida grown organic brown rice
calabaza pumpkin wedges
new zealand spinach
escarole and frisee
french breakfast, daikon, and watermelon radishes
tricolored french beans
asian greens like tat soi, bok choi, hon tsai tai and pei tsai
fresh moringa leaves
loquats foraged from the neighborhood
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Whats the difference between your produce and organic produce that i can buy at the store?
To answer this lets talk about the journey of a carrot. An organic carrot from the store is a more responsible choice than a non-organic carrot, but it was most likely grown in California (during a drought), in an expansive monoculture of organic carrots, and then driven all the way across the country to Miami to be sold at the store. That carrot is organic, but it was heavily fertilized throughout its life to produce the largest carrot in the shortest amount of time possible. Our carrots were grown in North Miami on the same small property as about 100 other varieties of plants, and they were harvested the night before our members come to pick up their shares. Our carrots are rarely fertilized, since we focus much of our energy on soil building and allow our healthy soil to produce a healthy carrot.
2. If I join the CSA will I still have to visit the supermarket?
Yes! Depending on how often you cook at home and what your diet is like, we suppose you could cut the supermarket out of your routine if you are a CSA member, but the idea of the membership is not to provide a complete alternative to shopping for food. Even we farmers visit the grocery store for things like grains, potatoes, apples, nuts and anything we cant grow here in the subtropics. The farmers markets provide a great alternative to shopping at the grocery store which is why we chose to have our pick up sites at markets. When a member comes to pick up their share they often buy local bread and eggs from our stand, and then stop by the other booths to buy crackers, honey, local meat, and fresh juices.
3. Whats the difference between a CSA and a buying club?
A CSA forms a direct relationship between the customer/member and a specific farm or small group of farms. A buying club is a group of shoppers that use their organization to buy produce wholesale and then distribute it as a less than retail price, via pre made boxes. Each buying club has its own set of rules and standards, so some use organic produce, some are very seasonal, but the big difference is that they arent farmers and typically the produce is not all local.
4. What happens to my share if I am out of town or cannot pick it up one week?
Typically, our members make arrangements for a friend to pick up their share if and when they are not able to make it to the market. Its a fun way to solve the problem because you get to give a friend a gift, and not waste your produce. Alternatively, we can donate your share to a local not for profit or a needy family. We do our best to get you your produce so if you make arrangements ahead of time we can try our best to save your share, we often leave random shares on our porch at home for people to pick them up late.
5. Can you deliver my share?
We currently do not offer delivery, we think its important to contribute to our local farmers market and help it grow by being there with our CSA members every week. We also very much enjoy the friendships that form throughout the season between us, the farmers, and our members. We also very much dont enjoy driving around, however if you wish to arrange for delivery through a service we have no problem packing and making available your share.
6. What if I am allergic or don't like something that comes in a weekly share?
Allergies are something we do our best to work with. For example if you don't eat nightshades and we know that in advance than we will trade out those items for other ones that are ready in the fields. Not liking items however is quite different and we do not allow members to customize their boxes weekly. We organize the shares and our fields to perfectly suit the number of CSA members we have, and we harvest these vegetables just for you, so we don't have a variety of other options to offer. Having everybody get the same thing is what makes organizing something like this possible for us. We often see members trading things that they dont like with each other when they pickup, and we will sometimes trade you items from our market table if you really cant handle something that we have included in the share.
7. Does your farm grow everything in the CSA shares?
Even though we are a working farm, we definitely do now grow 100% of our CSA vegetables. If we did that things would get boring pretty quickly! We are quite a small urban farm, under 1 acre, so we are limited by space (and also by other conditions like soil type and available tools) and we focus on growing a particular lineup of veggies. All of the radishes, turnips, fennel, kohlrabi, beans, kale and arugula in our CSA boxes come from our fields, which comes out to be about 1/3rd of the total content of the boxes throughout the season. We source the remaining produce from other small, organic diversified farms throughout South Florida. Every farm has its specialty and its star crops, so we work with these other farms to make sure we get the good stuff from everyones fields for our members. Teenas Pride for heirloom tomatoes, LNB groves for all things tropical fruit, French Farms for lettuce and carrots, Worden Farms for big brassicas like cabbage, collards and broccoli, and Verde Farms for everything else!
A fun article was published on "Short Order", the food blog for the New Times titled "5 Reasons to Join a CSA for Fall". Check it out for more from us about the many virtues of a CSA!
We wont the Miami New Times "Best CSA" award this year! Thanks for everyone who voted, check out the article here!