Covid-19 kicked off a CSA boom. Are you ready to join us?
2020 was a big year for the home kitchen. As grocery stores scrambled and restaurants shuttered, families were forced to make major adjustments to their shopping and eating habits.
For many of us, that meant the privilege and/or challenge of suddenly slowing down, and spending more time at home — and in our kitchens. After all, the internet was telling us that it was imperative that we learn to bake sourdough bread right now! Demand for CSA veggie boxes — where farmers sell “shares” of their produce before the season starts (often in the spring, when money is tight on the farm) and customers receive produce boxes throughout the season — skyrocketed.
Even in hyper-local-food-conscious Whatcom County and Seattle, the importance of local food systems came into sharper focus as grocery store shortages reminded us how fragile large supply chains are. Many of us began cooking more meals at home and looking for fun and healthy options to bring comfort through the pandemic.
Small farms like ours adjusted on the fly. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was a no-brainer for conscious food consumers. Prepaid local pickup locations provided an easy way to get fresh food while skipping the grocery store or farmer’s market, and limiting social contact. More time at home meant more energy to put into cooking new, adventurous meals.
Still, the reality is that CSA isn’t a good fit for everyone (and that’s okay!).
CSA members who come back year after year are special people. We’re here to help you go into this decision with your eyes wide open, to see if your expectations match the experience that our Certified Organic CSA will give you. So before you sign up for this seasonal commitment to support our farm, ask yourself…
1. Is the relationship to an actual farmer important to you? (Do you want to shake the hand that feeds you?)
CSAs focus on the farmer-member relationship as much as the delicious veggies.
Adding a CSA to your weekly routine means you get fresh, great-tasting produce — and the knowledge that our farm family’s livelihood depends on folks like you. Our CSA members’ motivation for supporting the farm is just as much about having our back as it is about getting the full financial value of their share.
When you join our Certified Organic CSA, you make a season-long commitment to support our farm! This means you share in the abundance AND the risks inherent in farming. As experienced farmers, we have over twenty years of accumulated know-how and tools to mitigate hardships and problems, but ultimately Mother Nature is the Big Boss (as it should be). As such, we’ll work hard to provide you with a diverse mix of vegetables, fruits and herbs but there are no absolute guarantees in farming.
2. Do you value quality vegetables that just taste better?
Taste matters! Because you know that putting together an amazing meal in your kitchen isn’t just about your skill — it starts with excellent, healthy ingredients.
CSA “pros” (the folks who thrive with a CSA) love food — real food that tastes like it should, because it’s grown with love in healthy soil. Our high-quality, Certified Organic vegetables make your home dining experience feel like an event.
In fact, CSAs often create food snobs, because customers finally experience how a carrot should really taste, and they cannot go back to the bagged baby carrots at the grocery store. Our veggies are the starring attraction in your quest to master your kitchen and prepare a delicious meal you are truly proud of.
3. Are you willing to try new foods? (Really?)
CSAs will push you to try new foods and explore variety in your kitchen.
Part of the CSA experience means getting exposed to a wide variety of vegetables. We put veggies in your box that you may have never seen before, and we teach you how to eat them!
Let’s face it: we know that if left to your own devices, you would never purposely put a kohlrabi in your box. (Or would you? If you would, you would definitely click with CSA).
If you want to grow in the kitchen, part of that is pushing yourself to try new ingredients. Part of the goal of CSA is developing food diversity and teaching our communities (and our kids) how to eat seasonally again.
We look forward eagerly to each delivery and like the challenge of figuring out how to use everything in the box.2020 Spring Time Farm CSA member
4. Do you need control in your menu planning?
CSA members learn to be flexible with their menu and make things work in the kitchen, because you often don’t know what you will get in your box until a few days before the pick up.
Some people love this spontaneity. Others will be stressed by it.
Are you willing to embrace spontaneity in your cooking?
CSA works best for customers who see their kitchen as a creative space, and our vegetables as the “paint” for their canvas. They are excited to experiment with new ingredients, and make old recipes come alive in new and delicious ways.
5. Are you willing to work at eating the CSA way? (It’s a marathon, not a sprint).
It can take a little time to get in the hang of your CSA. Come into this experience with an adventurous spirit, and go easy on yourself if you don’t get through the entire box every week at first. It can be a challenge as you’re acclimating (but we do offer two share sizes, Full and Petite!).
If your goal is to change the way you eat, remind yourself that it takes time to develop new habits and learn the new skills required to eat seasonally. (Don’t worry, we’ll give you weekly pointers!)
Don’t feel guilty if something ends up in the compost. Your support makes it possible for us to keep growing delicious food for our community. You’ll get the hang of cooking through your box with practice, and sharing with neighbors is always encouraged.
How’d you do?
For those who value the story, the journey, and the relationship with the farmer behind their food, our CSA is a great option that can change the way you eat forever.
Our vegetables have added value because every one of our vegetables is telling a story: the story of how the food was raised, how it was harvested, the struggles it faced to come to your plate, how you help us as farmers grow — AND, the story of your journey with food.
With all CSAs, your expectations will determine your experience. We hope you will join us on this journey! We are so excited to be your farmers, your direct connection to your local food system, and your partners in health and deliciousness.