What to Expect from our CSA:
As your CSA producers, we make a commitment to grow the highest quality, healthy food with love and care from soil to table.
We're a small CSA, feeding 12 households on roughly 1/8 of an acre. Our shares are well suited to 2 - 3 member households or to a single person who enjoys a lot of produce. In addition to our CSA we also offer bulk fruit such as kiwi, pears, and currants and seasonal farm products such as salsa, relishes, jams, pickles, and spreads. Farmer Erin loves growing and offering cut flowers and bouquets for weddings and special events. Pickups are weekly (Sunday evenings on Baldwin St. in Madison). We give our members a phone call or email, with a weekly update on your share and to check in and see how your CSA experience is going.
In our 25 years of owner and stewarding a CSA farm, we have observed what sort of members seem to be the most pleased with their boxes. CSA seems to work best for people (and families) who identify themselves as:
- Someone who enjoys having a personal connection to where their food comes from
- Someone who likes to eat vegetables and fruits
- An adventurous/creative cook
- A flexible eater
- Someone who gets excited about trying new recipes and reading news about farm happenings
- Someone whose schedule allows them to get to their pick-up site consistently each week
You can also learn more about the 34 different herbs we grow at our farm, culinary tips and creative ways with herbs in our Herb Primer.
Not ready to make the commitment to CSA, but are interested in sourcing fruit, flowers, and herbs from our farm? Contact us about ways we can meet your local food needs.
Know Your Farmer Know Your Food: Why Should I be part of our CSA Farm?
Community Supported Agriculture is a symbiotic relationship between growers and eaters.
You get to experience the seasonality of food grown in Wisconsin, and we are edified and enriched by the experiences you have in eating what we grow. Because we know one another, we, the farmers, feel personally responsible for your health and eating-enjoyment, and you -- as eaters -- are able to know, see, and experience the place that provides your food. Your financial support early in the season supplies funds for seed and other inputs which we would otherwise have to borrow from a bank were we growing for the open market, eliminating the interest-cost of production loans. All in all, we find the CSA relationship more satisfying than selling to a wholesaler who must primarily be concerned with shelf life rather than taste, texture, beauty, and personal connection.
Our CSA Management Practices
As a very small CSA, Rob and Erin do most of the work by hand, save for the occasional employment of a small power cultivator.
We double-dig new ground by hand and grow in raised beds which decreases our spatial needs. We've never used chemicals on the land. We companion plant to attract pollinators, repel pests, and/or confuse/confound insects and disease organisms. We build soil-fertility by cover-cropping, composting, and interplanting certain species that fix nitrogen, mine phosphorus or other important soil minerals, and are of medicinal value, all the while paying attention to the signs Mother Nature gives us. We invite our subscribers to return their vegetable waste to us through our compost-return program. Our nearby native prairie, field borders, windbreaks and flower beds provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. We use standard (as opposed to hybrid) seed when possible and save as much of our own seed as we can; not only does this allow for plants to become specially adapted to microclimate and soil conditions over time, but it also limits the amount we have to shell out to large seed-production conglomerates. We capture rainwater and use this to irrigate our orchards. Diversity defines our farm, both in our produce and in the cultural practices we employ.
We are professional grower members of FRESH (Farmers Raising Ecologically Sustainable Healthy Food), subscribing to its Pure Food Pledge, the Organic Tree Fruit Association, and the Association for Temperate Agroforestry. We are also members of Wisconsin Farmers Union working to advocate for the family farmer's voice in agriculture policy initiatives and Farmer Erin serves on the Women in Agriculture Committee of the World Farmer Organization.
We offer a 20-week share of diverse, fresh, seasonal, organic produce commencing in mid-May and lasting to early October. While our share bags vary greatly across the season – both in variety and quantity – they're generally well-suited to households of 2 – 3, or to the single person who eats a lot of vegetables. We have a limited number of shares, so please be in touch through our Contact Page if you are interested in having us grow for you this coming season. We ask our members to send us a sign up form and put forward a down payment ($100) in February or March to reserve a spot for the season. The balance is then due by June 1st, but we'll generally work out whatever payment schedule is necessary to fit people's circumstances. CSA pick-up is Sunday evening at 431 N. Baldwin St.; shares arrive by 7:00 p.m. and will be available in our coolers through Monday evening.
Last year, we again managed to hold ourselves to about 1 gallon of gas for on-farm production purposes, so that's roughly 13 ounces per share. Input/output ratios (fossil fuel cals: food cals) are therefore in the 1:9 for vegetables taking into account what Erin and I ate, canned and traded. When fruit and other perennials are taken into consideration (which used no fuel), the numbers look roughly like 1:14, or about 140 times more efficient than industrial agriculture. In our members' 20 share bags were produced. We ended up getting observably more per square foot out of our soils in 2011 than 2010 about 55.6 food calories/sf for vegetables, vs the 43.4 we got in 2010. Total poundage per share went just over 200, up about 11% from last year's 181 lbs. Calories were up about 10% to 28,580 frp, 25.875. Thank you for supporting our ongoing attempts to refashion a more sustainable, sane, and efficient vision of agriculture.