CSA membership is a new thing to many people. We’ve tried to make life easier by answering some of the more frequently asked questions about membership below.
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Your veg share will always be a reflection of the season. As distinct from a veg box scheme, you will receive a share of the harvest, and so there is seasonal variability in the abundance of the veg, as is typical of the time of year.
A standard share may include upwards of a dozen different items in the summer and autumn, and no less than 7 in the leaner months. Portion sizes are larger than in the small share.
A small share (roughly half the size) may include up to a dozen items in the summer and autumn, and no less than 6 items in the leaner months.
What will I get at different times of year?
We plan to include certain items in the veg shares every week, whereas others are less frequent, and certain items just for a particular season. A rough formula for a veg share is:
salad leaves + cooking greens + lunch-box item + fresh herb + roots + alliums + seasonal specials
You can read more about the veg we grow here.
Are your veg wonky?
We grow quality veg but that doesn’t mean it’s always perfectly formed. We think it’s important to include veg of all shapes and sizes because they’re perfectly good and throwing them away just because of their appearance would be a waste of good food.
You might also get a bit of mud. We don’t have washing facilities on the farm so the veg is plucked from the field and delivered to you au natural. They may need a scrub, but that’s about it. In fact, did you know that having mud on your carrots helps keep them fresher for longer?
We do sometimes suffer from natural pests, because we don’t douse our veg in horrible chemicals. So you may find the odd slug or a carrot that’s suffered a little from carrot root fly. We’ll only give you veg with minor blemishes which can be easily cut out.
We always try and let you know in our newsletter if a crop is suffering at the hands of a particular pest so you can understand the reason for any blemishes.
The standard sized shares are in blue crates and the small are in black crates and they will be separated on different shelves. All boxes within each size category are the same, so take any one of the size you have signed up for.
A lot of the time we have surplus of a particular crop, we put these out as ‘extras’ separate to the packed veg boxes and you are at liberty to help yourself to your heart’s content – we find a lot of chutney gets made this way 🙂
If collecting from the farm, you have until 4pm on Thursday to collect, after which time any uncollected veg is re-distributed to volunteers. If you know that you are not going to be able to make the time you can let us know and we will keep it aside for you.
If you are not able to make the allocated collection time in Totnes or Buckfastleigh, you can let us know by Tuesday morning, and we will keep the box at the farm for you to collect later.
If you’re away for a week we suggest you offer your share to a friend or neighbour, or whoever’s agreed to look after the cat/hamster/dog/children?
We used recycled mushroom crates to pack the veg boxes in, and we ask that members bring their own bag or box to take their veg away in, so we can keep reusing the mushroom crates. If you do take a crate away with you, please do bring it back, as we need to be able to keep reusing them throughout the year.
There is no obligation to do any more than collect your veg every week, and your up front support via your subscription already makes a big difference to how we can farm.
However, as a community-focused organisation, and as a team who work hard to grow great vegetables, we would love it if you did wish to get involved. We love meeting the people who eat the food that we have grown, and you may enjoy meeting both the growers, and the land where your veg has come from.
I would really like to become a member of the CSA but I don’t think I can afford it. Are there any concessions?
We really want to enable everyone to have access to healthy, fresh veg so we invite our members to choose what they pay from four options.
The way it works is that some members can choose to pay a bit extra for their membership – all those extra bits add up and create the funding to support the subsidised shares.
The idea behind CSA is to share the risks and rewards of food production, and so membership entails an ongoing commitment to getting your veg from the farm. You are not able to opt-in, opt-out on a week to week basis.
Generally, we ask people to make a commitment to the farm for a minimum of the current year. A lot of members will continue to get their veg from the farm for many years, but if you want to cancel your subscription you can of course do this. We just ask that you give us a month’s notice, or even better find a new member to take your place.
We very happily accept contributions which help us enormously with the work we are doing.
We’re a community interest company limited by guarantee, which means we don’t accept shareholders and that anything anyone donates or any profits we make are put back into the social enterprise to help it flourish.
Donations contribute to a variety of projects such as offering subsidised shares, hosting a trainee grower each year, investing in core maintenance projects (e.g. of the glasshouses), or supporting us to run more community events.
Yes we do, but only a small amount. 99% of our production is for the CSA shares, however to help support the farm we also sell a small amount of certain high-value crops (like mixed salad leaves) to some excellent local shops and cafes.
We deliberately grow over and above the CSAs needs in these cases, and we only sell crops that take up very little land in the field. We feel it is beneficial to the farm to make these relationships with other local businesses, and we don’t believe it takes anything away from what we are able to offer our CSA members.