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 at the beginning of the season and we, the farmers, providing you with a weekly or bi-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 be the third week of June.
Each week, you’ll receive a basket filled with between 6 and 12 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 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 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 is completely at the whim of nature. If some freak storm happens and crops gets destroyed, you, the CSA member will understand that the CSA basket may be a bit on the light side that week. On the other hand, when nature is acting groovy and produce is abundant, you can expect extra in your basket.
When and where do I pick up my CSA basket?
Thursdays from 5-7pm
What if something comes up and I can't make it to my CSA basket pick up?
If you are unable to make it during the 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) as well.
Option #2 – Turn your basket value into Market Credits
If you know you’re not going to make it to the pick-up you can turn the value of your basket ($33) into Market Credits. This means you will have $33 (per basket) to spend at the Catena Farm stall at the Lansdowne Farmers Market on whichever Sunday you would like, until the end of the season.
If you are going to miss a basket pick-up (regardless of whether you are getting a friend to pick it up or exchanging for market credits) please let us know ahead of time as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, if you forget about your pick-up and do not make other arrangements, 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. Make it a habit. Let’s reduce waste together! 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 you might be a bit nervous if this is your 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 our e-newsletter ahead of time which acts as a 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 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!
What are your payment and refund policies?
A CSA basket membership 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 30 different varieties of vegetables. What are some examples of what you might see throughout the 2020 growing season?
Bulk baby greens (arugula, spinach, spicy mix, tatsoi, mizuna, kale, beet greens), beans, beets, bok choi, broccoli, brussels Sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic (green and cured), garlic scapes, herbs (cilantro, basil, dill, oregano, chives, parsley, mint, sage, thyme), hot peppers, full size kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce heads, full size mizuna, microgreens, mushrooms, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, summer squash, sweet peppers, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, winter squash...and more!
Please keep in mind that our farm is still new. Each year we try to add new produce to our rotation and eventually (once we have our own piece of land) will have a wide selection of fruits as well!
Is Catena Farm certified organic?
Catena Farm is not certified organic. This is 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? Can it be customized?
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 most people don't love every vegetable. We dig it. So, when signing up for your CSA share 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, just scroll up and see if there's anything you want to leave out of your baskets.
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.
If you were hoping to sign up for a CSA but are a little more picky about what you eat, check out our Market Share memberships. It may be more what you're looking for.
What does a CSA basket look like?
Here are a few examples of our 2019 CSA baskets:
Scallions, head lettuce, chives, parsley, mushrooms, zucchini, beans, cherry tomatoes, carrots, swiss chard
Carrots, head lettuce, garlic, bell peppers, eggplant, parsley, oregano, new potatoes
Oregano, new onions, kale, zucchini, bell peppers, hot peppers, spaghetti squash, garlic, baby fennel, cherry tomatoes
Bok choi, beets, carrots, radishes, new onions, arugula, dill, butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, pumpkin
Kohlrabi, carrots, spinach, potaotes, garlic, beets, scallions, chives, oregano, acorn squash, spaghetti squash
Head lettuce, koginut squash, acorn squash, parsley, potatoes, mizuna, carrots, baby fennel, turnips, new onions
Don't be shy, send us an email through our Contact page and we'll get in touch right away.