How does a CSA program work?
CSA is a way for consumers to buy local seasonal produce directly from farmers in their community. Each farm or group of farms offers a certain number of “shares” to the public each year.
A share typically consists of a box of fruits and vegetables, but other products are sometimes included, such as grains, eggs, dairy and meat.
You will pay up front when you buy a share — it’s a membership. Then each week you receive a box or bag of seasonal produce throughout the farming season (each CSA program has its own schedule and pickup system). The CSA season usually lasts for about 20 weeks, beginning in June and ending in October though it will vary by farm.
Is a CSA right for me?
CSAs are good for people who:
Enjoy cooking and cook at home frequently
Enjoy knowing where their food comes from
Enjoy experimenting with new foods, or new combinations of foods
Eat vegetables on a regular basis
Enjoy eating seasonally
Enjoy getting creative with cooking and using what is on hand
A CSA may not be a good fit for people who:
Eat out more than cook at home
Don't enjoy experimenting with new foods
Don't eat a lot of vegetables as a regular part of their diet
Have schedules that often change at the last minute and are not able to commit to a weekly pick-up day and time
If a CSA isn't right for you, you might try shopping at the farmer's market as a way to support local farmers.
What happens if I miss a pick-up?
We understand that occasionally unexpected events get in the way of being able to pick up, so if you miss, we're happy to let you pick up your share at the next delivery time. However, please understand that we plan, plant and harvest veggies especially for you, so if you miss, your produce will be donated. If you need to change locations or place a vacation hold, you can either let us know at least 48 hours in advance, so we know how much to harvest!
Is your meat and produce organic?
While our products are raised with no pesticides, antibiotics, medications, or chemicals we are not certified organic. Being such a small operation the cost is prohibitive for us and would force our prices beyond what most could afford to pay.
Are your greens and lettuces washed?
The answer is “only if we have to”. Greens will keep much longer in your fridge if they are not washed. Our crops are all grown in real dirt with a lot of humus, compost and organic matter mixed in (but never any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers). This makes them grow well and taste great, but it also means dirt will splash up on the leaves. We suggest you wash all lettuces and greens before you eat them to get the dirt off.
Will my veggies always look perfect?
No. Americans have become used to cosmetically perfect vegetables because the grocery store is full of veggies that have been raised in an almost factory like environment with lots of chemicals and genetic engineering and a focus on looks over taste. Our veggies are grown in real dirt with no artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. We also grow mostly heirloom varieties of veggies that have been selected over the years for how good they taste versus how good they look after being shipped thousands of miles. We do grow some hybrids that have proven themselves tasty additions to the farm.
What about bugs?
The truth is that we can spray range of “organic pesticides” and still be considered organic. However, even organic pesticides tend to kill all the bugs, good and bad, and eventually cause problems in the garden ecosystem. We try to never spray anything at Denti Di Leone Homestead and that means that we sometimes tolerate a little more bug damage than you would see on produce at the grocery store. If you ever get something in your box that has more bug damage than you feel is acceptable, please let us know and we’ll replace it. Some people are just unwilling to eat something if they can see that a bug has been on it. That’s OK, but if that’s how you feel, then our CSA is not a good choice for you.
Do you grow all the produce and meat in the boxes?
Yes, it is all grown or raised here on our homestead.
Will the CSA boxes contain unusual vegetables or cuts of meat? How can I learn to use them?
We strive to provide a wide variety of produce and/or meat. So you may come across something you aren't familiar with. For the times we offer "odd bits" we will offer a few recipe suggestions in our newsletter. If you absolutely DO NOT feel comfortable with anything out of the norm please send us a message prior to signing up and we will do our best to accomidate a custom box.
Possible veggies might include:
Spring: kale, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, bok choi, onions, lettuce, arugula, turnips, radishes, peas, carrots, beet greens, Swiss chard, oregano, sage
Summer: summer squash, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, watermelon, beets, okra, cucumber, green beans, onions, garlic, a little bit of sweet corn, potatoes, cilantro
Fall: butternut squash, acorn squash, heirloom winter squash & pumpkins, sweet potatoes, kale, collards, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, radishes, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, parsley, ginger
Throughout the season there are many wild foraged edibles that we utilize. Mulberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Apples, Autumn Olives... They will be included in your boxes when possible. However, being wild fruit the flavor may vary, I will always do my best to let you know if they are particularly tart or sweet that year.
A CSA isn’t right for everyone, so please determine whether you think our CSA is right for you!
Did You Know?
1. Locally grown produce retains more nutrients
Fresh, local produce has higher nutrient levels. “Eating local” is a way to cut down on the time between food being harvested and served at your table.
Once produce is harvested, its optimal nutritional value decreases, specifically in vitamins A, B, C and E.
Exposure to artificial light, varying temperatures and extra time as food cycles through your grocery store all contribute to the drop in nutrients. The sooner you eat produce after it’s harvested, the better its nutrient profile.
2. Food from local farms is more flavorful
Local produce is more delicious, which encourages you to eat more of the nutritious fruits and vegetables your doctor urges you to eat.
Food from CSA is typically more flavorful than food bought in a grocery store for two reasons:
One, the produce ripens longer on the branches and vines rather than being picked early so it does not spoil during transportation, and two, while in transport, produce starts to break down and decompose, losing its fresh taste.
3. CSAs offer a great variety of seasonal choices
Your weekly bag or box will have different foods depending on the season. Early summer may offer delicious berries, lettuces and asparagus, while late summer and fall bring potatoes, watermelon and apples.
Having a variety from abundant farms means you’ll eat a more balanced diet. Also, you can try foods you saw in the supermarket, but didn’t know what to do with — kohlrabi, for instance.
5. The farm connection encourages kids to eat more veggies
Many kids like getting their hands dirty and would like to explore a farm. And most CSA farms welcome visits from families. Some farms will even let you pick your own food to take home.
Research suggests that it’s a good idea to develop healthy eating habits early because heart disease has its roots in childhood. Perhaps your children will be more willing to sample new vegetables if they see for themselves where and how they grow.