Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions


1. What does it mean to be a part of a Community Supported Agriculture Farm?

2. Why do we receive so much some weeks, and so little others?

3. How do you price your vegetables?

4. What happens if extreme weather conditions destroy the crops?

5. Will you buy vegetables or other goods to supplement sometimes?

6. What happens if we miss a pick up?

7. Can we drop out anytime?

8. Can we commit for only one month at a time to see if we like it?

9. Can we come out to the farm for a visit?

10. Can we work in exchange for a share?

11. Are you certified organic and what does that mean on Rise ‘N Shine Organic Farm?

Answers
1. What does it mean to be a part of a Community Supported Agriculture group?
When you become a member of the CSA, you are purchasing a share of your farmer’s harvest. The farmer grows food for you in exchange for you making a commitment to support the farm that year. You are paying your farmer to grow delicious, healthy food for you, and in turn, your farmer knows that his crop has a home and is already paid for. This idea came about as a group of farmers saw the need to have funding upfront in order to buy seeds, tools, soil amendments and other implements. When you become a member of a CSA, you are helping to preserve local agriculture and to partake in it as well. You have the opportunity to get to know and trust the person who grows your food, and these days, that is becoming more and more important.

As a member of a CSA you are taking some of the risk associated with farming as well as some of the surplus. A good way to think of it is as if you had your own garden but were not the one tending to it. When the cucumbers come in, they really come in and when the deer come to munch on the beans or when record heat and drought ruin a crop of peppers, then there won’t be many beans or peppers. Being a part of a CSA allows you to become more aware of how the weather affects our local economy and agricultural businesses. Additionally, you learn that vegetables are seasonal. For instance, you won’t get tomatoes in the early spring or or mid winter and you won’t get lettuce in the summer.
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2.Why do we receive so much some weeks, and so little others?

In the world of gardens, you have the harvest season and the season for rest. In most cases, in between seasons, there will be somewhat of a slow down in production, especially if rain has been in short or too large supply. If you had your own garden, it would be the same way. So, as a farmer providing for a CSA, it is impossible to keep the vegetables in a steady supply for the entire growing season. That is why most CSA farmers provide an average cost of your vegetables. In our case that is an average of $28.13. Generally, weekly values will be in the range of $20 to $35, but sometimes values could fall out of that range. We know that dealing with abundance and then a lack of food can be challenging, but that is simply the beautiful nature of a garden. There is a time for preserving and putting away while harvesting the bulk until dark, and then a time for patiently waiting for your next crop to come in. Waiting for your garden to grow is a true test of patience. This being said, our goal is to equalize weekly deliveries as possible, which we have become more successful at over the years.
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3.How do you price your vegetables?

Our vegetables are almost always based on fair organic market prices, and often times lower. We generally check with other organic farmers in the area who sell at markets or have a CSA.

At some points in the season, the same vegetables may be more expensive than others. For instance, we grow our first crop of tomatoes in a carefully managed hoop house that we plant in the middle of the winter. Most farms do not do this, and those that do, get a higher price for those tomatoes because of all the labor that went into providing the customers with fresh locally grown early tomatoes. When the peak of the season comes in the middle of the summer, tomato prices drop. Basically the same principles work for all vegetables.

Also, if certain foods are in very low supply due to weather, the market prices on those crops are raised. For example, in 2007 the market price on hay around here was $10/ square bale due to the major shortage in hay. Square bales are usually around $2-$4 each. That increase in price caused the price of meat and milk to increase substantially to cover the farmers’ extra costs.
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4.What happens if extreme weather conditions destroy the crops?

For the nine years the CSA has been in operation, members have either received the full value of their payment or up to 12% more than they paid for. Buying a share in a CSA is an investment. It is our goal to help our shareholders realize a return on their investment. Fortunately we have many tools and methods available to protect against crop failures. Also, because we grow over 40 different types of vegetables and are constantly planting, it would have to be a remarkable catastrophe to wipe out a whole season’s worth of produce.

If the weather ever gets to the point that it kills everything on the farm, we will do our best to buy from other local growers to supply the CSA while we replant and grow new crops to replace the ones that got wiped out. But there may be cases where there is simply nothing growing on anyone’s farm. Because we have already paid workers, paid for seeds and for soil amendments, buying a lot of extra stuff is not a good option. The farm still loses a lot of money because we have already put in the investment for those crops. That is part of the risk you take in being a part of the CSA. The same thing would be the case if you had your own garden. So, although you are continuing to pay, there may not be much food until the fields are replanted. Know that when the harvest does come, we will do our best to give you what you paid for and make up for the weeks of loss.
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5.Will you buy vegetables or other goods to supplement sometimes?

We will purchase fruits and vegetables from other farms from time to time, as other farmers buy from us from time to time. We have this great network of farmers that help each other out to make sure our CSAs are getting a well rounded assortment of food. When we are short on supply and other farms have something, we will generally buy if we can. Generally more than 95% of what we give to the CSA we grow.
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6. What happens if we miss a pick up?

If you tell us ahead of time that you will not be able to pick up your share, then we can put a ‘vacation hold’ on your share for that week or weeks and then arrange to give you either double produce shares in the coming weeks or a share on one of your off weeks if you have a half share.

If you miss a pick up and did not tell us ahead of time that you would miss it then we will try to make a bag of extra produce for you to pick up the next week.  If we do not get a heads up then we go ahead and deliver your share assuming you will be there to get it. If you do not get it then either someone else makes use of it or it goes to waste.
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7. Can we drop out anytime?

Becoming a member of the CSA requires making a commitment for that growing season. Making this commitment is an important part of being a member of a CSA.  However, we do understand that circumstances arise that will inhibit you from continuing on and then, certainly, you may drop out and we will give you a prorated refund.
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8.Can we commit for only one month at a time to see if we like it?

We can allow this on a limited basis.  E-mail us to check and see if this is available.
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9.Can we come out to the farm for a visit?

Yes. We are not staffed heavily enough to give tours but we can tell you where to walk and what to look at and you can have a self guided tour.  Please e-mail ahead of time so we know who is on the farm and do not get surprised when we see you here.  We do have open house tours a couple times a year where we show folks around the farm.
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10.Can we work in exchange for a share?

We do trade shares in exchange for work. Most work share members work on the farm 4 to 5 hours per week helping with harvest, hoeing, planting, packing, etc. However, work does not have to be done on the farm. Some people have helped us advertise, or done our graphic designing for us, or helped us in working on the recipes and newsletters. We can be extremely creative and can use all sorts of help in exchange for a share.
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11. Are you certified organic and what does that mean on Rise ‘N Shine Organic Farm?

Yes. Rise ‘N Shine Organic Farm is certified organic by the USDA. This means that we meet all of the requirements set by the federal government to be certified organic. More specifically, this means that we do not use synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers in our production process. We practice sustainable agriculture in which we build up the soil with organic matter and natural fertilizers and we protect water quality. We feed the soil and keep it healthy so it will feed us and keep us healthy.
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