CSA Share FAQ

What is a CSA basket share?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA basket share is an opportunity for people to connect with their local farmers and support them throughout the growing season in exchange for delicious produce.

How does our CSA basket work?

A CSA basket works by you, the CSA member, purchasing a CSA share before May 1st and we, the farmers, providing you with a weekly food basket throughout the growing season. We organize a central, pre-arranged pick-up location and time during the season to make things nice and easy.

At Catena Farm we have an 18-week CSA share starting in June and ending in October. The farmers reserve the right to adjust the very first CSA pick-up day if the weather is uncooperative in the spring, but if all goes to plan, the first pick-up day will always be the second week of June.

Each week, you’ll receive a basket filled with between 6 and 10 different vegetables and herbs. Not only that, but Catena Farm will send you a weekly E-newsletter filled with updates from the farm, yummy recipes, and meal planning ideas! We send this newsletter out ahead of time every Friday 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.

Why is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) important?

We truly believe that Community Supported Agriculture is important for farmers and food-lovers alike. CSA basket programs support the local economy and get the community to take part 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 the 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 programme it takes some of the financial pressure off of the farmer, allowing them to purchase things like seeds, compost, and tools at the beginning of the season.

Purchasing a CSA share also means creating an understanding between the member and the farm. Farming is completely at the whim of nature. If some freak storm happens and a crop gets destroyed, the CSA member will understand that the CSA basket may be a little on the lighter side that week. On the other hand, when nature is acting groovy and produce is abundant, they can expect extra in their basket.

When and where do I pick up my CSA basket?

Our CSA pick-up location is:
345A Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 1V6 
Sunday from 5pm - 7pm

When signing up for a CSA share you are agreeing to be there each designated day during the designated time. 

What if something comes up and I can't make it to my CSA basket pick up one week?

If you are unable to make it during our allotted CSA pick-up you have two options.

Option #1 – Find a friend

If you know you’re not going to make it to the pick-up, get a friend or family member to come and grab your produce for you. If you choose this option, please give them the run-down of how our pick-up operation works. We wouldn’t want your mom to walk away with someone else’s broccoli! Please be sure to remind them about our packaging rules (see Our Practices section).

Option #2 – On Farm Pick-Up

If you know you’re not going to make it to the pick-up you can schedule an on-farm pick-up. This still needs to be within the same CSA basket week. The final yes or no to this comes down to us (it might be a busy time), but we will try to accommodate. If you choose this option you must let us know well in advance. Please do not just show up at the farm.

Unfortunately, if you forget about your pick-up and do not make other arrangements within the same week, that weekly basket value ($33) will be forfeited and no refunds will be issued.

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 and that we ask our members to bring their own bags and/or packaging to the CSA basket pick-up. We will not have bags available for you if you forget. Make it a habit. Let’s reduce waste together! If you have relied on plastic bags in life so far, we can help. Before the CSA starts, ask us how you can package you produce and reduce waste. We’d be happy to give advice, but first visit Our Produce page and you’ll find a vast array of produce packaging and storage fun!

Are there different CSA basket sizes to choose from?

Catena Farm offers two different CSA baskets to choose from. A full-share CSA basket which comfortably feeds a veggie-loving couple, or a small family. If you are a large family or a super veggie lover you can always double, triple, or quadruple your share!

On the other hand, we realize some people might be a bit nervous if this is their first CSA membership experience, so Catena Farm also offers half shares. For our half share options, the quantity of food in the box is the same but you pick up your share every other week, instead of every week. Don’t worry though! We always send our members a weekly reminder about pick up.

How much does a CSA Share cost?

Our full-share 18-week CSA food basket costs $594 for one growing season. This works out to be $33 a week per basket. (June to October)

Our half-share 9-week CSA food basket comes out to $297 for the growing season. Still $33 per basket, but you pick-up your basket every other week. (June to October)

When you sign up to for a full or half share you 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!

What are your Payment and Refund policies?

A CSA basket share payment must be made in full at the time of purchase. 

When signing up for a CSA basket share (full or half) there is a non-refundable amount of $150 included in the price.

We have this non-refundable portion policy because we will have already used our CSA payments for farm expenses such as seeds, compost, or tools well before the season starts.

Payment can be made through Visa, Amex, or Mastercard.

If you sign up for a CSA basket share and then find you can no longer take part in the program, refunds can be issued up to May 1st, less the $150 non-refundable fee. After May 1st, refunds of any amount will not be issued. It is up to you to find someone to take over your share for the season, or remainder thereof.

What type of produce do you grow?

At Catena Farm we currently grow over 40 different varieties of vegetables. That being said, our farm is new and still on the grow, which means we will eventually have a wider variety of vegetables, and eventually fruits, available. What are some examples of what you might see throughout the 2019 growing season?

Arugula, Bulk Baby Greens (Salanova Mix, Spicy Mix), Beans, Beets, Bok Choi, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic (Green and cured), Garlic Scapes, Herbs, Hot Peppers, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mizuna, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnip, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabaga, Scallions, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sweet Peppers, Swiss Chard, Tatsoi, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watermelon, Winter Squash

Is Catena Farm certified organic?

Catena Farm is not certified organic. This is mainly because we are currently on a short-term rental plot of land and it cannot be certified in the amount of time we are farming it. In the future, when we have purchased our own piece of land, we will consider becoming certified organic. 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 Canadian government.

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 all do is make real life connections and take part in the food system which we depend on.

What if there are veggies I don't want included in my basket?

While one of the great things about joining a CSA is that it can (sometimes) take you out of your food comfort zone and you get to try new things, but some people don't love every vegetable. We dig it. So, when signing up for your CSA share feel free to tell us (up to) three items that you don’t like, and we’ll leave it out of your basket. You’ll find a comment box for this in the payment section. But remember, each week we send you recipe ideas for what’s in your CSA, so jump on that adventurous bandwagon!

If you choose to omit certain items from your CSA share 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 up to the farmers and the availability of produce.

What does a CSA basket look like?

Here are a few examples of our 2018 CSA baskets:

Spring Basket Example
Mizuna
Carrots
Chives
Hakurei Turnips
Head of lettuce
Bok Choi
Beets
Pak Choi
Radishes
Cilantro
Mint

 
Summer Basket Example
Kale
Potatoes
Zucchini
Garlic
Onions
Baby Fennel
Eggplant
Tomatoes
Oregano
Parsley

 
Fall Basket Example
Onions
Cherry Tomatoes
Tatsoi
Mizuna
Head of Lettuce x2
Garlic
Pak Choi
Cabbage
Parsley

I want to buy a CSA Share, but what about my vacation in the summer?

What would life be without a little relaxation? We understand that sometimes people want to take a break during the summer and we try to have our CSA programme accommodate that. Each CSA member can choose to take up to two weeks (baskets) “off” from our distribution plan. The member must let the farmer know at least 1 week before the vacation starts so no delicious food gets harvested and goes to waste. You can let us know in person, via phone, or email. Please note that a vacation request does not mean the dollar value deducted from the full or half-share value, it strictly means redeeming that dollar value in a different way. When you have a vacation request, we provide you with two different options to get your CSA basket at a different time:

Option #1 – Market Credits

You can get the dollar value put toward our Market Share Program. This allows you to stop by the designated Farmers Market at any point during the growing season and pick up any produce you’d like, up to your market credit amount. You do not need to spend the full dollar amount all at once, feel free to come whenever you need something extra. We will keep track of what Market Credit you have left and give you a little reminder every now and then. Please note that our Market Credits are only redeemable at the market which we attend and only at the Catena Farm market stall. Unfortunately, if you do not stop by to redeem your credits during the growing season within that same year, your credits cannot be rolled over and your money will not be refunded.

Option #2 – Double Your Basket

If you take some vacation time, in order to make up the dollar value you missed, you can also choose to double your basket at another time. This means a double amount of the same produce, not choose your own as with the market credits. You need to let us know at least 1 week in advance in person, via phone, or email. If you do not tell us when you want to double your basket and the growing season ends, unfortunately the dollar amount will be forfeited. The dollar value cannot be carried over and there will be no refunds.

Does Catena Farm take a vacation?

Definitely. Because, hey, farmers need a break too. Each year we take a 1-week break from our farm duties to catch our breath, and put our feet up. Our vacation time remains the same every summer so it can easily be put in your calendar, August 15th- August 22nd. We will remind you about this in our newsletter, and during the CSA pick-up the week before. During our vacation time, there will be no regular CSA pick-up. This is a great way for you to spend some time cleaning out any uneaten food in the fridge and get ready for the next exciting basket!