Q. What is a CSA?
A. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Look at it this way: Our family makes a living from the people who live in (or visit) our community. We are a small 20ish acre vegetable farm and the majority of our customers are located less than 25 miles from our farm.
Q. What is a CSA share?
A. It is a subscription to a "garden share" of what we actually grow in our gardens here at Providence Organic Farm. CSA members receive 6-16 items in their weekly or bi-weekly boxes comprised of a variety of in-season vegetables & popular herbs. We grow over 200 varieties of vegetables, as well as strawberries and melons. You can visit our newsletter archives to see the variety and amount in shares through out the last 3 seasons. Plenty of staples such as lettuces & greens, potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, when-in-season strawberries & tomatoes, and some lesser used veggies such as cauliflower, eggplant, pok choy, tomatillos & Japanese turnips to name just a very few.
Q. How many weeks can I get a growing-season share for?
A. You may purchase a share for up to 24 weeks. Winter shares are also available in December, January & February.
Q. Do I have to buy all 24 weeks?
A. No. We serve a wide-variety of needs, from locals not wanting to go to the grocery store for as long as possible, to summer visitors needing a share only for the time they are up here.
Q. What size share do you recommend for my family?
A. The best way to figure out the best size is to read the newsletter archives and see what was really in shares through out the season. Also, ask yourself how much veggies you and your family really consume in a week. Half Share AKA bi-weekly share) is about $20 worth of organic produce. Small shares are designed for those who spend about $35 in organic veggies a week. Large shares are designed for those who spend about $45 in organic veggies a week. If in doubt, start with the smaller size. You can always add items to your order via the farm market or online store. And, you can upgrade any time during the season to the large share.
If you'd prefer a Half-Share (AKA bi-weekly share), some couples opt to "share" a share at first, picking up every other week. That way they enjoy the savings of an 18-24 week share! You may also purchase a Half-share alone by letting us know you'd like a small share every other week.
Q. Do we have to pay all at once?
A. No. You may pay in thirds, half, or all at once. If you need to break up the payments further, you may do that as well! Just email us to make arrangements.
Q. Do you help us with recipes and tips about storage?
A. Yes. Every Monday, every week for every item... you receive a private email to the inbox address you gave us when you signed up. In addition to this, you may access our newsletter archives for additional recipes. I also highly recommend the book, From Asparagus to Zucchini, 3rd edition. It's perfect for CSA members and my favorite resource to date. ALL NEW 18-24 week MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE THIS RECIPE BOOK AT NO ADDED CHARGE!!!
Q. Do we have to let you know if someone else is picking up for us?
A. It's usually sufficient to tell your friend to let us know who they are as well as who they are picking up for.
Q. Can we ever change pick-up location?
A. Absolutely! Kindly give 48 hours notice via your farmigo account or by email, and we can send you box to any of our 17 pick-up locations. Comes in handy when you stay-cation or vacation in beautiful northern Michigan.
Q. What if we leave the area and can't pick-up our box at all, at any of your drop-offs for the week?
A. You may place your share on hold anytime during the growing season. Please give us 48 hours notice...by either going online to your Farmigo account and placing your share on hold or by emailing us to do this. We will contact you to ask if you want us to double up the next week or tack it on the end of your designated weeks - if you have less than a 24 week share.
Some people ask us to donate it instead of putting it on hold. Your share will go to our local nursing home, Good Samaritan's or a local family in need.
And of course, you may ask a friend to pick it up and enjoy it instead of a hold as well.
Q. What if I forget to pick-up my share?
A. Please contact us ASAP. We are more than happy to hold it for you until you can pick it up. If you do not contact us in a reasonable amount of time...with in a day at most, we may donate your share or re-absorb it into the farm.
Q. Do I have to be a veggie CSA member to get a box of blueberries, a flat of
strawberries, a side of pork, a quarter of beef or whole lamb?
A. Nope. Let us know via email if you'd like any of those items. We will take note and let you know when they are ready. Pork requires a $125 deposit (and usually sells out in early summer, so get it in if you are serious) and beef and lamb have waiting lists at this time.
Q. What if an item isn't the quality I expect from Providence Organic Farm?
A. Please be kind and let us know! We strive to give you the highest quality produce possible. Although we rigorously check each item during intake and during packaging of CSA shares, it is possible that something was overlooked. If we know about it we will gladly replace it or give you something of the same value. (Please note that most items need refrigeration. Your items were cooled down immediately upon picking and stored in a walk-in cooler. We aren't responsible for a box that's been left our in the hot weather too long at a pick-up location. Thanks for understanding that.)
Q. What if me or my family really won't eat an item?
A. Let us know, and we'll make a note of it and not include it in your box...ever. We will substitute a variety of vegetables over your choice of weeks - when that item is in share boxes - in it's place.
Q. Can we ever switch out items at pick-up?
A. Yes. It's easy to exchange up to two items for items t our farm or farm market pick-ups. We want to be flexible and meet your needs. If you are a drop-off, you should review what's in your upcoming box (I send and email out on Monday) and send an email ASAP to give us the chance to fulfill your exchange request.
Q. May I add more items to my CSA box?
A. Yes. 48 hours ahead of time, you may buy additional items via our online store and we will pack them into your CSA box. (24 hours ahead of time for Tuesday shares.)
Q. Can my family and I visit the farm?
A. Yes! When our new road-side market is ready, it'll open be Monday - Saturday from June - August. Until then, we are open to the public every Tuesday and Friday from mid-June through October from 4:30-6:00 PM and we hold several farm tours for CSA members and special events during the season as well.
Q. Do you ever sell items in bulk for canning or freezing?
A. Yes, and I'll let you know via emails when bulk items are available and what the price is.
Q. Can I see a map of your CSA delivery area?
A. Yes, click here: MAP Also, we will consider adding public and private drop-off sites as long as there is enough interest, usually 10 share minimum. :-)
Q. Do you ever give shares to a family that would use one, but can't afford it?
A. YES! We consider it an honor to share a portion of Providence Farm's bounty with local families. Any potential recipient family can contact our farm with a request to participate in a gift share for the season.
We also gift our local food pantry, Good Samaritan Family Services, and three other food pantries with produce through out the season and participate in Project Fresh and SNAP through out all of Northern Michigan.
Q. May I donate a share to a family in need?
A. Absolutely! Along with donating 100's of pounds of food to several area food pantries each week during CSA season, Ryan and I give shares to families who otherwise could not afford the fresh, nutritious goodness we grow. Your donation will mean even more children and parents will have access to 24 weeks of vegetables during the growing season and for 3 months during the winter. These families greatly appreciate the chance to feed their children nutrient dense food, and also benefit from the recipes and storage tips our newsletters provide.