Inwood CSA
Inwood Community Supported Agriculture Group

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Frequently Asked Questions

This page is intended to answer some of the common questions and concerns that prospective members often have about the CSA. Most people are very happy with the quality and quantity of the food that they receive at the CSA, but please make sure that you understand how it works before you sign up. (You can see in the 2002 survey results that members had a very positive experience as part of the CSA).

-Who is "in charge" of the CSA? The CSA is entirely run by volunteer members who are referred to as the Core Group. Your money goes directly to the farm. We use a very small portion of the money to pay for stamps, photocopying, a phone message line, a web site, and the supplies needed to run the CSA.

-Why do I have to pay for my share in advance? One of the best things about a CSA is that farmers get the money at the beginning of the season, when they really need it to put their crops in the ground. Also, knowing ahead how many members to expect helps them to better plan their planting and harvesting and eliminates waste- they only pack what we need. As a result, in comparison to shopping at farmers markets, over the course of the season CSA members usually receive a greater quantity of produce for the price.

-Why can't I just pay for what I want, like at the farmers market? In addition to the reason outlined above, we do not have a permit to sell food in the park.

-How is the food distributed? The CSA is self-serve. Members pick up their own vegetables on Thursday afternoons in Isham park. Every week, rain or shine, the farmers drop off vegetables in boxes, and tell us how to break it down for each share. A site manager and several volunteers help set up, post a sign telling members what to take, and then oversee the distribution. Members sign in upon arrival, and gather their own shares. Volunteers will assist anyone who has trouble reading or understanding the posted sign. We ask people to bring bags whenever they can. Some weeks the farmer will be there to meet members and answer questions.

-How much food will I get each week? The amounts and varieties change quite a bit during the season. One share is meant to feed two to three adults. Of course, this all depends on how you eat. You will pick up between 6 and 10 different vegetables each week. Early on there will be more leafy greens and early or "baby" vegetables. In general, as the season progresses, heavier and larger vegetables will be harvested (potatoes, roots and winter squash). By the end of the season the shares are quite large, and there is a fair amount of food which can be stored. Cooking greens and salad greens are provided almost every week. The CSA is great for people who are interested in trying different foods and eating lots of fresh vegetables, but it is probably not a good option for people who have a lot of dietary restrictions or who dislike a large number of vegetables. We do have a "swap" box so that you can trade items that you don't care for with other members.

What kinds of vegetables will I recieve? While every year is different, you can get an idea by looking at the previous year’s harvest. Last year, members of the CSA received the following:

June-July: lettuce, arugula, turnips, bok choy, garlic scallions, rainbow chard, garlic scapes, sweet peas, kohlrabi, beets, scallions, parsley, mini onions, daikon radish, napa cabbage, basil, kale, cucumber, broccoli, zucchini/summer squash, dandelion greens, corn, peppers, tomatoes

August-September: lettuce, rainbow chard, red/gold beets, fennel, peppers, mini- onions, cucumber, zucchini/summer squash, corn, parsley, basil, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, dandelion greens, beans, carrots, eggplant, bok choy, delicata squash, garlic, Asian greens, scallions, collard greens, turnips, braising mix

October-November: lettuce, braising mix, collard greens, onions, turnips, delicata squash, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula, leeks, potatoes, garlic, kale, celeriac, parsley, pumpkin, butternut squash, peppers, beets, hot peppers, acorn squash

-What if I am single, or my household just doesn't eat a lot of vegetables?
Some single people have a full share, while others find they can't finish all the vegetables. If you talk with your neighbors, you may find someone who can conveniently "split" a share with you. If that doesn't work, we may be able to put you in touch with other people who are in your situation. We do not take payments for half-shares, so you must make financial arrangements in advance.

-What if I can't come to pick up my food one week? Unfortunately we can't save shares. Because of the administrative work it would require, we cannot pro-rate share prices to accommodate planned vacations or missed weeks. You can arrange with someone else to pick up your share (another member or a friend or relative); some members who know they will miss several weeks arrange to "sublet" their share during their absence. If you can't find anyone to pick up for you, the food won't go to waste. The Love Kitchen - a soup kitchen/food pantry at 204th Street and 9th Avenue - picks up anything that is left over each week.

-How will I satisfy the member work requirement? Most people volunteer at the distribution site. If you can't do that, there are other things that our group needs. If you are interested in giving more time to the CSA, please take a look at the volunteer jobs that need to be filled.