Q. What is a CSA?
A. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a social model that connects you to your food, the land, and to those that tend the soil. CSA is an economic system that allows you to make a direct connection with a family farm, a farm you know, a farm that adopts careful land stewardship practices and produces exceptional food.
There are many benefits of a CSA-based food system. Besides providing fresh locally grown produce, CSA farms provide non-farmers with an understanding of the challenges and rewards of farming. You participate in the risks and uncertainties of farming as well as sharing the bountiful harvests. Having direct contact with the land through your food and your farm can be a tremendously rewarding experience.
Belonging to Mountain Bounty Farm benefits you, your family, the local economy and the environment.
Q. Why subscribe to a CSA?
A. Taste and quality are superior. By being closer both geographically and temporally to the harvest you will receive fresher food. Most of our produce gets to you either the day it was picked or the next day (some vegetables benefit from a night in the cooler). Fresher veggies taste better and are more nutritious. Taste is an indicator of nutrition — what you experience as good flavor is high levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Generally fruits and vegetables that taste better are fresher and were more carefully grown. CSA membership is also a big incentive to improve eating habits, eat more vegetables and experiment with new things you might not normally try… however most of the veggies are familiar, staple veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and corn.
You’re also creating a direct relationship with a local farm family and supporting that farm. Many CSA members find a sense of satisfaction in going directly to their farmer for their food. Over time CSA members develop a relationship with their farm. As farmers this is also particularly rewarding. We love to see kids growing up on our produce. We’ve had parents eating our produce since before their kids were born whose children are now getting ready to go to college!
Another reason to subscribe is that it’s a great value. Check out our page Value of a CSA Share.
ABOUT THE SHARES
Q. What does a CSA member receive?
A. It depends upon which shares you choose. We offer both summer and winter Vegetable and Fruit Shares, and a Summer Flower Share. Our Vegetable Share members receive a box of diverse fresh veggies each week, about the equivalent of a large paper grocery bag of veggies. See the individual descriptions below for more details about the various shares.
Veggie Share, Fruit Share, Summer Flower Share
Q. How much food is in each veggie share?
A. The standard share is about the same size as full brown grocery bag. You can expect 6-15 items depending on the season.
Q. How much does the box weigh?
A. It varies depending on the veggies included from week to week. Some veggies (tomatoes, squash, potatoes, melons) are very heavy, some are light (lettuce, basil). Because of these weight differences, estimating a certain amount of pounds per week can be misleading. For this reason, we prefer to give a volume estimate: your CSA box will be at least 2/3 full (in practice it is often overflowing by the second half of the season). This is equivalent to a large paper grocery bag chock full. Fruit is easier to judge by weight; for a Summer Fruit Share you can expect 7+ pounds of delicious fruit. For the Winter Fruit Share, you can expect 10+ pounds per week.
Q. There are just two of us – will it be too much for us? Can I get a half share?
A. We have one size box at this time. It’s generally designed for a small family. Whether or not it fits depends on your eating habits. Most of our members find our share just the right size. For people who eat out a lot it could be too much produce. For people who tend to eat at home or who love cooking and entertaining, it could be not enough. Those who need more produce can sign up for multiple shares. Some members share their box with a friend or neighbor. If you need a partner to share with, you can also send us an email. We might be able to help connect you with someone.
Q. What is free choice?
A. On occasion during the Summer Season, there will be a special box with one or more “free choice” items at the Mountain Bounty Farm pick up sites. Free Choice produce includes veggies that are “controversial” – not everybody likes them, for example hot peppers and arugula. Some people are fanatical about them and some would rather leave them behind. The Free Choice box allows members who love arugula and hot peppers to help themselves, and members who don’t like arugula and hot peppers to leave them for others. Occasionally we may offer more of something that is already in the box as “free choice.” For example, most people want one bunch of broccoli in their box during broccoli season, and if we have an abundance of amazing broccoli as sometimes happens, we will offer it as “free choice.” When we do value calculations on the boxes we do not include the free choice produce, so it is a bonus value for those who choose it. The free choice produce can go quickly, so we recommend that if you really want it, try to get to the pickup sites early!
Q. I’ve heard the season already started, can I start late?
A. Yes! We accept signups at any time, space allowing. If shares sell out, we will keep you on a waiting list. Sign up as soon as possible to ensure the pickup site of your choice. We offer several site options so we can usually find an alternative site nearby if your preference has reached capacity.
Q. How will we know what’s coming up next week in our box? What’s in the box?
A. We send a list of the box contents in an email newsletter and pickup reminder each week. Last week’s box is a good indicator of what’s in season and what you might expect next week, but we try to include something different each week as well. We try for as much variety as possible. The nature of farming makes it difficult to predict what will exactly be in the box from week to week, and we sometimes make last minute decisions during harvest to get you the best possible produce. One item may not be as ripe as we thought it would be, or it may be too ripe, or something we didn’t expect to be ready yet will suddenly need to be picked.
Q. What happens when I go out of town?
A. You can ask a friend, neighbor or family member to pick up your box for you (please give them a copy of your Welcome Letter and clear instructions). If you’ll be away for an extended period you may want to sell off your remaining shares to someone you know. Our cancellation policy is listed here. We must have cancellations in writing/email one week prior to delivery.
Q. Where are the pick up sites and what are the hours?
A. Please note that our Summer and Winter seasons have different days and times! Please click here for details: Pickup Sites, Days and Hours. The sites are usually private homes, so when you sign up you’ll get a Welcome Letter with exact address and details.
Q. Can I change my pickup to another site?
A. Yes! Contact us one week prior to the delivery and we can switch your site for the duration of the season.
Q. Can I make payments or pay weekly ?
A. We don’t accept weekly payments, but we do offer a payment plan to make it easier for our members to subscribe to fresh local produce. If you sign up before or during the first 8 weeks of each 24-week season, you can settle your balance in 3 payments; if you sign up after 12 weeks have passed you can split the balance into 2 payments; and after 16 weeks we ask that you pay in full unless other arrangements are made. We can work with you to make it easy to pay for your shares, so do contact us if you want to propose an alternative payment plan. We want to make our system work for everyone. More details about payments here.
Q. Can I come work on the farm in exchange for shares?
QUESTIONS ABOUT VEGETABLES
Q. What do I do with odd vegetables?
A. Be sure to read the newsletter for that week; we always try to include a recipe for unusual veggies. If you are still stuck, give us a call and we can help you find a recipe that may work for you.
Q. I don’t like eggplant and can I have more green beans?
A. Because we are a small family operation we make all the boxes the same and we don’t have the capacity to individually design them. We recognize that everyone likes different things and during the course of the season you will probably receive a veggie that you don’t like; but, even if you don’t eat everything in your box, it’s still a good value. Call us- we may be able to suggest a recipe you haven’t tried, or you might give it to a neighbor or trade at the pickup site. You could also just drop it in the free choice bin at the pickup site if you don’t want to think about it.
We have a wonderful array of veggies at the Nevada City Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings from June-October. We also give members a survey each season so we can alter our selections to tailor to our members feedback.
Q. Do you deliver in Truckee and Tahoe if there is a big storm?
A. Usually! But due to occasional extreme storms in Truckee/Tahoe, delivery is weather permitting. We try to notify everyone via email if there is a storm that prevents us from meeting our delivery time. However, we can say that we haven’t missed a delivery yet due to weather!
Q. Are all of the boxes the same?
A. Yes, we spend a lot of time ensuring that each of the boxes is comparable to the others. Please don’t go through the boxes at the pickup site.
Q. I have 8 empty share boxes left over in my garage… what do I do with them?
A. Please bring them to the pick up site – we will really appreciate getting them back and it helps us keep costs down. We need to reuse the boxes as long as possible as they cost us about $1.80 each- for 450+ members, that can really add up!
Q. I forgot to pickup my shares, will my veggies and fruit be there tomorrow?
A. Our agreement with site hosts is that CSA pickup days and times are firm. If you are unable to pickup in time, please have a friend, neighbor or co-worker pick up your shares for you (please give them clear instructions). All leftover produce is donated at the end of the appointed pickup hours.
Q. There was nothing when I came to pick up my weekly share.
A. First, please check that you have arrived during the correct pickup day and time. Your shares are not available outside of the arranged pickup schedule. However, if you are there on the correct day and within the pickup hours, please contact us immediately and we will help you resolve the problem.
Q. If I’m dissatisfied can I cancel my share?
A. If you are dissatisfied, we would like to know why first. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns and help clarify how our program works. Please contact us anytime with questions or issues that arise. If you are dissatisfied, please contact us immediately at (530)292-3776 or info@MountainBountyFarm.com. Cancellations must be in writing or email, at least one week prior to the date of delivery.
Q. Can we come visit the farm?
A. Yes, we welcome visitors. We ask that you call to arrange an appointment. Mountain Bounty Farm is a working farm, so while we love to have people visit and taste the veggies, our availability to give tours may be limited. We don’t schedule tours on weekends. We have also hosted a harvest festival in the fall with a farm tour, tasty treats and plenty of activities for the kids.
Q. I want to order veggies and/or flowers for a special event (wedding, restaurant, catering business, party) – do you supply produce or flowers in other ways than the CSA Membership?
A. We are at the Nevada City Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 8:30am to 12:30pm throughout the summer season. Many times, you can find exactly what you need here. If you have a larger more specific request, please contact us, we may be able to assist you with a special order.