CSA FAQ's

Though they have been around for 25 years, CSA farms are still unfamiliar to many people. Below are the most frequently asked questions about CSA's.

 

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  CSA farms enable consumers to purchase fresh, seasonal produce directly from a local farmer by becoming a farm member for a season.  CSA members pay for an entire season of the farm's produce upfront. This early customer commitment allows the farm to produce more efficiently by being able to plant for the number of members it takes on. What's more, the early income coincides with the farm's expenses, which most occur before the harvest of the produce. All this allows the farmer to pass the savings from those efficiencies onto the CSA member, as well as fresher, better-quality produce than they can buy in the store. At last count, the USDA counted 12,549 CSA farms throughout the country.

Here's a summary of the benefits to both the farmer and the members:

 

Advantages for the farmer

  • Marketing their produce early in the year before they get busy in the field.
  • Receives payment early in the year, which helps with the farm's cash flow.
  • They get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
  • Only grow what their customers have committed to buying (today only about 60% of traditional farms' produce makes it to consumers)

Advantages for the Members

  • Eat ultra-fresh foods, with better flavors and nutritional benefits.
  • Eat healthier food, often certified organic and often grown in healthier air, soil and water of smaller communities. (Like the Flathead Valley!)
  • Get the benefit of the Farm's efficiencies and bumper crops - the farm can afford to be more generous with their customers than the traditional model.  
  • Smaller farms often use well water (no e-coli) vs. often contaminated surface water and the bleach even certified organic mega farms use to treat it. 
  • Support the local economy and help create jobs locally. 
  • Get exposed to new fruits & vegetables and new ways of cooking them. 
  • Get to visit the farm and learn how their food is being grown. 
  • Find that kids usually prefer food from "their farm."
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food.                                                                                                                 Source: localharvest.org

How does it work?

Each week of the CSA season, the farmer goes into the field to determine which vegetables are ready in sufficient quantity to supply the entire membership. Members use reusable bags for pickup and select their vegetables from what is available, generally a variety of 6-8 vegetables a week. 

 

What's in the CSA at Whitefish Stage Organic Farms?

 

We grow over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables so there will surely be some that you love, and possibly some you have never heard of.

  • In the early part of the season there will be lots of leafy greens such as kale, lettuce, and spinach, and roots like radishes and salad turnips and fruit like strawberries.
  • The summer brings the addition of zucchini, cucumbers, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, beets and carrots and fruits like raspberries, apricots, and Flathead cherries. 
  • The fall shares have a smattering of everything above as well as the addition of broccoli, cabbage and winter squashes like acorn and spaghetti squash and pumpkins as well as apples.  These are just some of the fruits and vegetables we grow, so there will be much more.  

And while we cannot guarantee any specific vegetables, we can guarantee a good share value each week.

What other benefits do I get with a membership to Whitefish Stage Organic Farms?

 

Did you know that your membership makes community farms like Whitefish Stage Organic Farms possible? That's because growing the food for shares is the one thing we can count on. As a result, members get VIP treatment. Here is a list of the benefits Whitefish Stage Organic Farm's members will get in 2018:

 

  • Approximately $30 - $35 a week in fresh (literally harvested within a day of you picking it up Fresh!) local, well water irrigated and washed, 100% certified organic produce, for about $25 a week in cost. Our best guess at this point is that shares will begin the first week of June...but that depends on growing conditions this spring.
  • Tried and proven delicious recipes utilizing the produce in the shares included with the shares each week.  
  • Locally sourced all natural or certified organic fruit from local orchards. While we grow berries and melons, we've found excellent sources of cherries, apples, peaches, apricots, blueberries and plums. Depending on the growing season members can expect to see some of these in the weekly shares as they come into season.  
  • 20% off all fruit and vegetable purchases in the store. That's right, whenever a member shops at the farm store, either to pick up their vegetables, or for any reason, they always get a full 20% discount on everything we grow. 
  • Visit the farm whenever you want. Need something fun to do with the family? Come by and visit the fields where your food is growing. Just email or call and let us know you're coming and we'll even let you know what's fair game for you to pick yourselves!
  • Once strawberries are in season, each member can pick fresh strawberries from the patch next to the farm store - this is handled by opening up the patch to members to pick a prescribed amount during their CSA pickup. 
  • Extra discounts on locally sourced all natural grass-fed, and pasture-raised beef and pork and first dibs on bulk beef (quarters and halves) in the fall.
  • In 2018 each member will get 2 free tickets to the straw-bale maze and fall harvest events or 50% off up to 4 season passes. This year our maze is going to be even bigger and better than last year...not to mention we are adding guided hay ride tours of the farm where we talk about how we grow all this wonderful food! 
  • Also at the straw-bale maze: 20% off all food including burgers and fresh cut french fries (made exclusively out of our vegetables and other locally sourced food).

The most important thing to a community farm is the community that supports it. Together we make it make sense for communities like ours to become self sufficient again. We so appreciate everyone who get's behind what we're doing and we look forward to treating our CSA members to all the farm has to offer! 

 

Click here to sign up!