How does a CSA work? Community Supported Agriculture is when customers pay up-front for a season’s worth of vegetables in the spring and receive a share each week. It benefits the customers by giving them a discount on fresh, local food all season long, and benefits the farmer by creating capital when it is most needed in early spring. Our CSA prices reflect a 10% discount off of market prices.
How many people will a share feed? It depends. We have families of 4 that find the full share meets their weekly needs, and some couples that find the full share to be perfect. You can count on receiving 7 different items each week.
Can I split a share? Yes. It’s your responsibility to find someone to split with you, but we are happy to help pair folks up as we can. If you are splitting a share, it is up to the two parties to divide the week’s harvest.
What if I can’t pick up my share? If you know you are going to miss pick-up, you have three options:
1. Have a friend pick-up for you
2. Contact us at least 2 days beforehand to switch your day. In order to switch days, you must receive confirmation from us that we’ve seen your request. We are in the fields more than the office during the summer, so if you don’t hear back from us via email, do give a call.
3. Donate your share to the Worcester Food Shelf.
***If you miss pick-up without notifying us ahead of time, we aren’t able to offer you another share, as we’ve already harvested for you that day. We work closely with the Worcester Food Shelf and donate excess produce to them each week.
If you have notified us ahead of time, here’s how switching your pick-up works:
You can pick-up on the opposite delivery day (Monday switches to Friday and vice-versa) OR you can pick-up your share during our Farm Stand hours on Saturday, between 12:00 – 6:00 pm.
While we will gladly accommodate you if you need to change your pick-up once or twice, we do ask that you choose one location and stick to it. Logistically, we aren’t able to track multiple changes from week to week. We commit to you and work hard to deliver your share as scheduled, and we ask that you in turn pick up at the scheduled time.
Common Questions & Concerns
I already buy local food at the coop or a farmers market. Why should I get a CSA?
First, thank you for supporting local food and farms! Buying local supports your health and the local economy, and we believe that it is a critical aspect of thriving, sustainable communities.
Now, we also buy food at the coop. We grow vegetables and herbs, but there are other staple foods we don’t produce (dairy products, meat, legumes, grains, nuts, chocolate).
That said, if we didn’t already run a CSA, we would be members of one, and have been CSA members before running Good Heart. We’ve also bought and sold food at farmers markets.
CSA is different. It is built upon relationships, and though it’s called community supported agriculture, the CSA model truly supports you as a member by supporting your health, respecting your input, and offering a direct connection to the fields.
In this way, CSAs offer the highest quality assurance. You can visit the farm each week, see how your food is grown, ask questions, and give feedback.
At Good Heart, we listen to our members. We get to know what your favorite crops are, what you want more or less of, and we work all of this into our crop planning. We guarantee freshness by harvesting all crops within one day of CSA pick-up. And, because we grow almost exclusively for our members (80% of our business is CSA), you receive the best of the harvest every week (no shipping the pretty produce off through wholesalers or to the farmers market).
This last reason is less tangible, but equally important. A connection to place feeds the spirit. Each week at the on-farm CSA pick-up, we have the honor of welcoming members to the land and seeing the shift as they get out of their cars and see the mountains beyond the fields. We are deeply grateful to live in this beautiful place and to share it with so many people. All we did was show up to the beauty and decide to grow food. Part of what we give is the opportunity to connect with the land by offering pick-your-own flowers, hosting pizza nights, and holding a casual space for folks to chat while picking up their CSA share. But even when someone is in a hurry, we see the day’s weight lift a little when they come to the farm and the open space it provides.
At the end of each season, we survey our members on the CSA. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“I really enjoyed getting to know Kate and Edge- they were friendly, always ready to answer questions, and very responsive to requests/inquiries.”
“Thank you so much for all the work!! We LOVED getting fresh vegetables from a local farm every week. Kids loved the tomatoes, pick your own flowers. You guys have a beautiful farm and I love we can communicate closely and you guys listen!!”
“Thank you for always being so welcoming. To arrive at your Beautiful farm and be greeted not only by a smiling adult but the cutest kid in town. It was the highlight of my Thursday being greeted by Waylon’s “HI” and his curiosity was always entertaining. Thanks for all the delicious veggies, keep up all the hard work and dedication to the farm. It truly shows.”
I don’t know if I’ll be able to go through the entire share before the week is through, and I don’t want to waste any veggies.
If you’re new to CSA and aren’t sure if you’ll eat all the veggies that come with a standard share, try out the Farm Stand Credit first. Farm Stand Credit allows you to get a feel for how much is in each share, but gives you the flexibility to take only what you want each week. This option gives you a 5% discount. If you spend all your credit and still want more, you can add to it at any point during the season.
Another option is to split a share with a friend (see above). While this works for some people, it is important to be aware that some items may be difficult to split in half. It is up to you and your share partner to divvy up the produce each week.
Still one more option is to shift the way you cook. Many of our CSA members have told us that they joined a CSA to start eating healthier. While there is an initial learning curve, we’ve been told over and over how the CSA has improved their cooking and changed the way they approach eating. “My co-workers are always jealous of my lunch now!” one member said, and we believe it!
It seems expensive, is CSA really more affordable?
As farmers, we believe it’s our job to grow food sustainably and efficiently in order to provide good, healthy food at an affordable price.
We get it: paying up front for 4 months worth of vegetables does make the price sound high. But when you break it down, the Good Heart CSA is as little as .89 cents a day:
The Summer CSA gives you an average of $30.90 of veggies per week and runs for 16 weeks. That’s a value of $495 for the whole summer, but with the 10% CSA discount, you pay only $445.50.
Let’s break it down this way:
- When split between 2 people, the CSA cost is just $15.45/wk per person, or $2.20/day per person.
- When split between 4 people, the CSA cost is just $7.72/wk per person, or $1.10/day
Still, we understand that paying the entire share cost up front is not feasible for every budget.
That’s why we offer the payment plan option. See our CSA page for payment plan details.
We also partner with the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program to offer subsidized CSA shares at 50% off. To learn more about this program, visit http://nofavt.org/farmshare