Singing Bird Farm Veggie Box (CSA) program
What is a CSA box program?
CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. Farmers offer customers the opportunity to purchase a weekly box of locally grown, in-season produce. The customer typically commits funding for the box in the spring when the farmer incurs the most expenses while revenue is low. It also makes it easier for farmers to plan their crops, knowing how much to grow of each variety in order to produce enough quantity and diversity of vegetables and fruits for the box customers.
How does CSA benefit the consumer?
There are many benefits for CSA members. Firstly, it is a way to connect to a local food source and really get to know a farm. At the same time, a CSA box offers access to freshest food at a reduced cost. At Singing Bird Farm, our CSA members receive a 10% discount on vegetables and berries. Our CSA members also receive a 10% discount at our Tuesday Market booth.
What is the cost of the program?
We ask for a $200 deposit in April; the first $100 will be used towards your first selections in June, while the latter $100 will be used for your October purchases. This is to ensure that people stay committed to the CSA for the entire season. Once your initial credit has run out, it is up to you to determine the size of your deposits; we just ask that you keep the account in a positive balance so that your amount of credit will cover the cost of the produce you order for that week.
How do I sign up for a CSA box?
Please email or phone us with your CSA program request. There are a limited number of spots available, so if we have room in our program, we will gladly accommodate you right away; otherwise, you have the option to be on our waiting list for the next available opening.
Do I need to commit for the whole season?
Although we do not require our customers to put up enough money up front to cover the entire season, we do ask for a commitment to place a weekly order until the end of October and to this end we keep $100 from your initial deposit to cover the last month of the season. If you decide to drop out of the CSA before the season ends, you will lose this deposit. You are not expected to place orders when you are away on holidays, but unless you are away, we strongly urge you to order weekly so that our programs remains sustainable for our farm.
How does the program work?
Singing Bird Farm aims to offer a flexible CSA program; at the beginning of each week, we will send out an email to remind you to order your veggie box before the weekly deadline of Wednesday night. Our website allows you to log in and select the vegetables and fruits that you would like for that particular week. You determine the quantity of each of the products (please make sure that you have enough credit in your account to cover the cost of your order) but we do request a minimum weekly order of $15 for pick up or $20 for delivery. At least $10 out of this amount must be spent on produce or flowers (we like to accommodate dairy customers who do not wish to purchase produce on different days of the week, while eggs are solely reserved for CSA customers).
The website asks to order either in pounds or in bunches; however, specific requests may be made in the comment box (for instance, you could clarify that you would like two small zucchinis that may not weigh a full pound). On Friday, we take our order forms to the field and harvest all the produce that has been requested. At this point, we may need to substitute some products that are on short supply for others; when you sign up for our CSA program, you will be asked to supply us with a list of vegetables or fruits you would not like to receive so that we can keep this in account. Once we have finished harvesting and packaging all the produce, they will be ready for delivery or pick up (usually by late afternoon).
How do I receive my box?
We have FREE delivery to selected areas! We will deliver your box to your home if you live in Ganges or in the Channel Ridge/Vesuvius area (or enroute to this areas),. If you are a new customer, please check in with us beforehand to see if you are within our delivery area. Everyone else is welcome to pick up their box at our farm after 4 pm on Friday afternoon. We can hold your box for another day (or, with notice, for longer), but it is always a good idea to give us a heads-up if you are not available to pick up on harvest day so that we can protect your veggies from dehydration in the walk-in cooler (which involves packing greens and berries in plastic, which we will reuse if you leave it with or return it to us).
Frequently Asked Questions:
I am going away this Friday, but would still like to order a box. Can I do this?
If you give us some advance notice, we can usually work something out. Although we prefer to keep our CSA harvest day confined to Fridays, we do make exceptions whenever we can accommodate them.
I am going away on holidays. Can I skip the box program until I am back?
Of course! Please inform us of your dates away by the Wednesday night deadline at the latest.
I would like to purchase some produce at your booth at the Tuesday market. Can I use my credit for this?
If you run out of produce early in the week and you would like to stock up on a few items, you are more than welcome to come by our booth at the Tuesday market. Your 10% discount applies for the Tuesday market as well, but we do ask you pay in cash on those days strictly for administrative reasons.
I missed my ordering deadline. What now?
Unless you let us know you do not want to receive a box this week, and we haven't received an order from you by Wednesday night, we will make up a box of similar items you usually order for about the same amount you usually spend.
Can I leave it up to you to decide what is going in my box?
Absolutely. Some people like to be surprised or don't like to have to worry about the Wednesday night deadline. If you give us some guidelines about the size of the box you would like to receive on average, we can fill it for you with a variety of different vegetables and fruits. It is also fine to let us know if there is any particular produce you would prefer not to receive in your box.
How do I keep track of my credit?
Our website ordering system keeps track of the amount of money you spend each week. We email everyone a weekly statement of the amount of produce you received on Friday and the credit you have still left.
How do I up my credit?
It is fine to give us a cheque or cash on the first day of delivery; after that, please keep ahead by making another payment before you have run out of credit after delivery.
How do you keep track of the boxes?
We have purchased special produce boxes for our CSA program. They are not inexpensive, and we ask for a $10 deposit per box. Each box will be labelled with your name before they go out, and we keep track of the number of boxes people receive (most families will require two boxes for the rotation). Please have the empty box ready for us when we deliver the new one so that all the boxes continue to be rotated. We will return your deposit at the end of the growing season.
Let us know how we can help!
This is the third year we are running a CSA box program. We want our customers to have a good experience. If you have any concerns or questions about the program, please let us know how we can help or improve. Contact Us
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