CSA Share FAQ
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Community Supported Agriculture is an opportunity for people to connect with local farmers and support them throughout the growing season in exchange for delicious produce.
How does our CSA program work?
A CSA program works by you, the CSA member, purchasing a CSA Membership at the beginning of the season and we, the farmers, providing you with a weekly or bi-weekly food basket throughout the growing season. Your CSA basket is delivered to your door by contact-free delivery either on Thursday or Sundays.
Why is Community Supported Agriculture important?
We truly believe that Community Supported Agriculture is important for farmers and food-lovers alike. CSA programs support the local economy and involve communities in their local food scene. Everyone should know where their food comes from and how it was grown. Better yet, we, as farmers, should know your name and you should know ours.
A CSA partnership is key when trying to run a small farm business. Farming can be tough and farmers can incur a lot of up-front costs. When a person or household chooses to make a commitment to a farm and join a CSA program it takes some of the financial pressure off of the farmer, allowing us to purchase things like seeds, compost, and tools at the beginning of the season, when we need it most.
Purchasing a CSA share also means creating an understanding between the member and the farm. Farming can be at the whim of nature. If an intense storm happens and crops get destroyed, you, the CSA member will understand that the CSA basket may be a bit on the light side that week, or in extreme cases, not happen at all. On the other hand, when all is well with nature and produce is abundant, you can expect more than average delicious, naturally grown produce in your basket. In the height of the growing season, we aim to give you an extra 10% in your baskets.
Is a CSA Membership right for me/my family?
A CSA membership is not for everyone and we would never tell anyone that just to sell shares in our CSA program. If you travel a lot, don't really like cooking, or don't like occasionally stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to new vegetables then a CSA membership may not be for you. Be honest with yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a CSA not fitting your lifestyle.
However, if you want to support local, small-scale farming and do enjoy cooking, occasionally stepping out of your comfort zone, maybe even doing some seasonal preserving then a CSA membership just might be your thing. Keep on reading!
What's in the baskets?
Each basket will be filled with between 6 and 12 different vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Not only that, but Catena Farm will send you a weekly e-newsletter (not included in the Spring Shares) filled with updates from the farm and yummy recipes! We send this newsletter out Thursday mornings so you know what is coming in your basket and are able to start meal prepping for the week. This way, you’re not stressed and food doesn’t go to waste. Example Newsletter
Here are some examples of what you *might* see in your baskets!
Spring Baskets: PLEASE NOTE SPRING SHARES WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR THE 2022 SEASON - THEY WILL RETURN IN 2023
Head lettuce, bulk baby greens (arugula, spinach, mustard greens, tatsoi, mizuna, kale, sorrel, crunchy mix), scallions, cilantro, dill, bok choy, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, baby carrots, baby beets, cabbage, shoots, micro greens, or rapini.
Main Season Baskets (Half and Full) Shares:
Bulk baby greens (arugula, spinach, mustard greens, tatsoi, mizuna, kale, sorrel, restaurant mix), beans (fava, french, specialty), beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic (green and cured) Not available in 2022, garlic scapes Not available in 2022, ground cherries, herbs (cilantro, dill, orange lemon balm, chives, thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, parsley), hot peppers, full size kale, kohlrabi, leeks, head lettuce, full size braising mustard, onions (new and cured), parsnip, peas (snap, snow), potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, scallions, shoots (pea, sunflower, corn), strawberries (alpine), summer squash, sweet peppers, swiss chard, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips, melons, winter squash...and more!
Head lettuce, bulk baby greens, shoots, garlic (NOT AVAILABLE IN 2022), onions, scallions, fennel, carrots, beets, cabbage, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, kale, bok choy, rapini, herbs, parsnip, specialty greens, rutabaga, brussels sprouts, winter squash...and more!
When you sign up to for spring and main season shares please understand that the baskets might be a bit lighter in the beginning of the season due to frosts and inclement weather, but for both the full and half shares, when the growing is good, you’ll get more than $33 worth of produce! In the height of summer, we aim to give you around 10% extra produce in your basket, free!
Can my CSA Baskets be customized?
While one of the great things about joining a CSA program is that it can (sometimes) take you out of your food comfort zone and try new things, most people don't love every vegetable. We dig it. So, when signing up for our CSA program, you get the opportunity to customize your basket by telling us anything you don't want to see in your shares. You’ll find a comment box for this in the payment section during checkout. To take a look at what type of produce we grow, check out the Our Produce page and see if there's anything you want to leave out of your baskets.
If you choose to omit certain items from your CSA home delivery membership please note that on these weeks you may receive double of an item(s) in your basket, not necessarily a different item. This will be at the farmer's discretion and the availability of produce.
What if I have an allergy?
If you have an allergy please tell us in the comment box during checkout. We will make sure you never get the item(s) in your basket and replace it with something else. Please note we cannot guarantee that the produce your are allergic to will not come in contact with your food. You MUST let us know if you have a severe allergy ahead of time.
Membership options available for home delivery:
1. Spring Membership (4 consecutive weeks): NOT AVAILABLE IN 2022
Home Delivery either every Thursday or Sunday from May until June. Once our memberships are full and we have finalize our delivery schedule we will contact you to let you know your delivery day. Cost: $120.00, including delivery.
2. Full Membership (14 consecutive weeks):
Home Delivery either every Thursday or Sunday from July 14th until October 16th. Once our memberships are full we will contact you to let you know your delivery day. Cost: $574, including delivery.
On-Farm Pick-Up for full shares is every Sunday from 5-7pm. Cost: $462.
3. Half Membership (bi-weekly for 14 weeks):
Home Delivery either every other Thursday or Sunday starting July 14th until October 6th. Once our memberships are full and we have finalized our delivery schedule we will contact you to let you know your delivery day. Cost: $287, including delivery.
On-Farm Pick-Up for half shares is every other Sunday from 5-7pm. Cost $231.
4. Fall Membership (4 consecutive weeks):
Home Delivery either every Thursday or Sunday from October 20th until November 13th. Once our memberships are full and we have finalized our delivery schedule we will contact you to let you know your delivery day. Cost: $200, including delivery.
Do I need to be around for delivery?
You do not need to be around when your produce is dropped off if you have a safe spot to leave it. You must leave a large or extra large cooler, large box, or bags with ice pack(s) in them. We are not responsible if your veggies are left out all day and wilt or freeze. If your cooler is not easily accessible and visible upon delivery your produce will be donated and that basket's dollar value will be forfeited.
What if I live in a highrise?
Unfortunately we can not come upstairs to your front door to deliver. If you live in a building with no lobby or other safe place to leave a cooler you must be able to meet us in your lobby or on the street for pick up. This means if you live in a highrise you must be home on your delivery day.
What if I won't be around for my delivery/pick-up one week?
If you know ahead of time you will not be able to be around one week to receive or pick up your basket you have these options.
1. Find a friend.
If you know you’re not going to be around one week for delivery/pick-up make sure to find a friend to grab your cooler/show up for pick-up.
2. Double your basket.
You can ask for double the quantity of your basket on a different delivery week (same delivery day). This means you will be getting two of each item not the items from the basket you missed.
3. Donate your share
Let us know if you will be away but would still like us to harvest your share and donate it to a local organisation. If you choose this option we will also be sure to add any extra produce we have to the donation as well. Our produce donations usually go to the Parkdale Food Market in Ottawa.
What if I forget my delivery day and it passes?
Unfortunately, if you forget to leave out your cooler your produce will be donated, that weekly basket value ($25-$50) will be forfeited and no refunds will be issued. Please note this is contact-free home delivery so coolers are expected to be out and visible. If you miss a delivery you are not allowed to switch to on-farm pick-up as we donate the produce at the end of our delivery day.
What if I forget my on-farm pick-up?
If you forget to show up for your on-farm pick-up you cannot switch to another day. Your produce will be donated at the end of the day. Please ensure you make the proper arrangements for your pick up.
What if I am moving part way through the season?
If you are moving you must let the farmers know BEFORE YOU PURCHASE your CSA membership because we may not be able to deliver to your new location. If you let us know after you have made the purchase we reserve the right to cancel your basket (without a refund) if the delivery address is too far out of our way. Please understand that it is just the two of us farming and delivering. Some delivery locations just aren't feasible as a small, two person business.
How is my CSA basket packaged?
We do our absolute best to try to minimize the packaging we use on our farm (see Our Practices section). We ask that CSA members please respect that we do not want to use plastic packaging. Our bulk greens are delivered in a compostable paper bag. We recommend placing this bag in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not store as is. Check out our website for storage tips. Let’s reduce waste together! Visit Our Produce page and you’ll find a vast array of produce packaging and storage fun!
What is your refund policy?
There are no refunds available for CSA Basket Share Memberships. Please be sure to read all the information (FAQs and Terms and Conditions) before you purchase a membership to ensure these are right for you and/or your family.
Why don't you have a refund option?
We do not have a refund option because farmer's expenses come before the growing season even starts. The majority of our expenses go toward purchasing seeds, compost, tools, etc. well before the month of May. If members don't take the time to read all the information we try hard to make accessible, any refund money has to come out of our pockets. This is not a viable way to run a small farm business, therefore we trust that our members will do their research before purchasing to find out if our memberships are right for them.
Is Catena Farm certified organic?
Catena Farm is not certified organic however we grow all our produce above the standards set out by the National Organic Program (NOP) certification body.
The land which we farm has been farmed using conventional methods in the past. It will take a few years of 'transition time' before we are able to apply for organic certification. Despite this, we want our customers to know that we grow food for you, your family, and ourselves in the most socially responsible and environmentally conscious ways possible. We wholeheartedly reject using any kind of synthetic spray, herbicide, or fertilizer, and our farming practices go over and above the organic standards set out by the organic certification body.
While we support organic certification and the trust in which it's label brings, we feel it's more important to know who grows your food, be able to ask them questions face-to-face, go and visit the farm, and eat a carrot straight from the ground knowing you haven't eaten anything that would harm you or the surrounding natural environment. Labels are great and they make things easier when trying to make the right decisions for yourself, your loved ones, and the environment, but the best thing we can do is make real life connections and take part in the food system which we all depend on.
What does a Main Season (Half or Full) CSA basket look like?
Braising mustard, cilantro, snow peas, kale, tokyo bekana cabbage, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, iceberg lettuce
Thai basil, garlic scapes, zucchini, carrots, scallions, eggplant, broccoli, head lettuce
Don't be shy, send us an email through our Contact page and we'll get in touch right away.