If you are ready to sign up for our CSA, please skip to How to sign up at the bottom of the page. If you are unsure of how our CSA works, or what the heck a CSA is, read on!
What CSA is:
“CSA” stands for Community-Supported Agriculture, a farm marketing structure that came to the United States in the 1980s. In the past few decades, the model has seen all types of iterations and forms: from boxed produce home delivery, to customized shares, to weekly “market-style” pickup at farms and farmers markets. The model has also expanded beyond vegetables to include meat, flowers, fruit, eggs, mushrooms, and even grains! The central idea is that a consumer (usually a family or couple, sometimes an individual) buys a “share” in a farm by paying the farmer up front at the beginning of the season. The farmer then provides members with a weekly distribution of fresh-picked produce throughout the growing season. Why is this an effective purchasing model?
Benefits for the Farmer: When members invest in shares, farmers are provided with the stability and capital they need to buy inputs and hire labor during the lean springtime. We can easily plan exactly how much we need to grow, because we know how many members we need to feed throughout the season. This leads to less waste generated on the farm, and allows us to save on distribution costs and provide a fresher, better product. Even if the farmer also gets income by attending farmers markets, the cash flow at the beginning of the season ensures that they don’t have to go into debt to buy materials like seeds, compost, and equipment. Also, the farmer and the consumer can both get to know each other; this is incredibly rewarding for a grower. Being able to receive feedback and hear how people are enjoying our produce is immensely helpful!
Benefits for the Consumer: As a member, you are taking the risk of supporting and investing in your local farm up front. For that, there are many benefits:
Food Quality and Diversity: You get a haul of the freshest possible food every week. The flavor and nutrition of produce diminishes after being picked, especially during transportation, so fresh is best! Fresh-picked food also has maximum storage life--meaning you are getting the highest quality food possible. You will also be exposed to new foods and new ways of cooking, which is exciting; you never know when you’ll discover your new favorite vegetable or recipe! Many members comment that they are eating healthier than they every have before.
Environmental Benefits: Buying a share locally benefits the environment in ways that can’t be overlooked. Whether you drive one, five, or ten miles to pick up your share, those are the total food miles for that produce. You’re lowering your carbon footprint by choosing local food over food shipped thousands of miles (when you can, of course—we can’t grow coffee or chocolate in Vermont).
Knowing your Farmer: By visiting the farm and reading our weekly newsletter, you get to learn more about how food is actually grown. And if you have kids, they get to learn more about how food is grown. Our current food system sorely lacks transparency: our nation manages to produce an amazing amount of food, but at the same time, eaters within it still have to worry about dangerous toxins and pathogenic bacteria in their food. With a CSA share, you can ask the people who grow your lettuce and broccoli how exactly they grow it. Purchasing a share is an easy, one-step way to vote with your dollar to support family-owned, regenerative farms that grow real food.
Seasonality: This goes hand-in-hand with food quality and freshness. Joining a CSA encourages you to eat seasonally. This may seem restrictive at first, but we find it leads to enhanced food pleasure over the long run: we tend appreciate food when we have to wait for it to come in season again.
Saving Money: Although we ask you to pay up front, purchasing a share is incredibly economical: it can save you time normally spent wandering around the grocery store, and we guarantee that the produce offered will far exceed your expectations on flavor, quality, and freshness for the price paid. Picking up your share usually takes less time than visiting a farmers market or selecting, bagging, and waiting in line to pay for produce at the store. You also get first dibs on crops that are just coming into production, or crops that we don’t have a lot of. If you’ve already paid and committed to us, we will save the cream of the crop for you. You also get access to special discount buys or lots of free produce to preserve (like when we’re up to our ears in canning tomatoes and pickling cucumbers!).
Community: It’s in the name, after all. In addition to getting to know your farmer and your local seasons, you also get to know your fellow members. They can be another incredible resource for you: from talking recipes at pick-up to getting together for dinner. Members also get access to other fun community-building activities at the farm, such as pick-your-own crops, and events like potlucks and field days. Having a share is also a wonderful way for children to learn about growing food; our farm and sanctuary strives to present educational opportunities that are not available elsewhere.
How it works here:
We try to keep the bulk of the share in classic, recognizable vegetables, though this is restricted to seasonality. Shares are lighter and full of leafy greens in the spring. They bulk up in the summer with a rainbow of color and an almost overwhelming bounty. In the fall, they are full of starchy, satisfying storage crops and the return of tender greens. Our produce comes to you freshly picked, so it will last in your refrigerator or on your counter longer than most grocery store produce—that’s our promise of quality. Example vegetables from season to season are listed below—if you’re curious about what varieties we grow, they’re listed in our vegetable dictionary under Resources.
Spring: Arugula, beets, bok choy, broccoli and broccolini, broccoli raab, cabbage, carrots, chard, fennel, garlic scapes, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, radishes, springs onions, scallions, spinach, tatsoi, salad turnips.
Summer: Basil, beans, beets, carrots, chard, cilantro, cucumbers, dill, fennel, eggplant, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, peppers, melons, parsley, potatoes, summer squash and zucchini, onions, tomatoes, ground cherries, salad turnips.
Fall: Arugula, beets, broccoli, broccoli raab, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, chard, eggplant, escarole, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, shallots, spinach, radicchio, radishes, rutabaga, tatsoi, salad and storage turnips, winter squash.
The season runs 22 weeks, early June through late October. We charge $565 for a large share; this averages out to $27 worth of vegetables per week, with one free week of vegetables. We also offer a small share at $375. You still pick up every week, and are provided $18 worth of vegetables every week (about two-thirds the amount in a full share) with the same free week factored in. We include a free week because we know how much we are asking of our members when they commit to picking up their share every week—this adds up to a 5% discount off your total purchase!
Our large share size is meant to feed a family of four, who enjoys their vegetables, for a week. It will also feed two adults who cook often and are well-versed in vegetables. Our small share is great for an individual, or a couple who eats out often: we view it as “supplemental veggies”.
Members pick up their shares weekly from our different pickup locations, early June through late October:
At the farm (1089 River Road, New Haven VT), Tuesday or Friday 3-7 pm. We will ask you for your preferred day of pickup, but you are not locked into that pickup day—you may come on either day, every week, for the duration of the season, with no need to notify us (on-farm only).
Otter Creek Brewing Company (793 Exchange Street, Middlebury VT), Wednesday 3-6 pm.
Railyard Apothecary (270 Battery St, Burlington VT), Thursdays 3:30-5:30 pm.
Daily Chocolate (7 Green Street, Vergennes VT), Thursdays 2-5 pm.
Shares picked up on the farm and at Otter Creek Brewing are “market-style”: we lay everything out and have a suggested share amount for each vegetable; you may take more or less to a certain point, or forgo that vegetable completely. Shares picked up at Railyard Apothecary and Daily Chocolate are traditional boxed shares. There are benefits to both styles, and you can contact us if you have questions about either.
If you cannot pick up on a given week, we urge you to have a friend or family member ready who can pick up for you, or who can enjoy your vegetables if you are on vacation. We cannot hold shares for members, which is one of the reasons we have a free week built into our pricing.
Please bring your own containers to pickup. This can include canvas bags, coolers, baskets, reused paper or plastic bags, whatever! We try very hard as a farm to reduce waste, and this includes asking our members not to rely on us providing single-use plastic bags when they collect their shares. Please do not take our containers from pickup locations—simply transfer the share to your own containers!
We provide a weekly newsletter, emailed to you, to help identify unknown vegetables and provide information and recipes to cook from. We also try to let you know what is on deck to be harvested the next week, if mother nature allows, so that you can plan meals ahead of time.
How to sign up:
If you think our CSA is right for you (and we hope it is!), you commit to a share and sign a Member Agreement Form (available at the bottom of the page). If you are having trouble with the form on this page, you can also find it by clicking HERE. This contract is simply a way for us to communicate our promises to you, as well as what we expect from our members. After signing up, you can purchase your share. There are a few ways to pay for your share: you may pay by mailing a check to us, or you may pay online. If you are buying a full share, you may pay in full, or make two separate payments: one when you signup, and one on or before your first pickup day. After completing your member contract and paying your first installment or in-full, you will receive a confirmation email welcoming you to the CSA! A couple of weeks before the first pickup, you will receive another email containing instructions for pickup (be sure to add us to your email contact list so newsletters don’t end up in your spam folder).
If you need a more lenient way of paying, we ask that you contact us—we believe everybody has the right to good food. Our success as a community-supported farm, though, depends on members being able to pay as much as possible in the beginning of the season.
To pay by mailed check: Please make your check out to Green & Gold CSA, and send to Green and Gold CSA, care of Golden Well Sanctuary, 1089 River Road, New Haven VT 05472. If you are paying for your entire large share at once, please include $565. If paying for a small share, enclose a check for $375. If you are paying in two separate payments, please make a check out for $282.50. Your second check should be mailed by the beginning of the first pickup week. You may also drop off your second payment on your first pickup day. You will receive an email before the first pickup week to help remind you to either mail your second payment or bring it with you.
To pay online: You may pay by using Paypal below. If you choose not to use Paypal, you can also visit our Online Store, to pay securely with a credit card. On both menus, the first choice is our small share, which includes a 1.5% processing fee (see more on this fee below), at $380. The second option is to pay for a large share in full, which comes to $574. The last options are the first and second payments of a full share, if you choose to make two equal payments of $287. If you choose the payment plan, you will receive an email before the first pickup week to help remind you to pay your second payment. You may also pay the second payment at any time between signup and first pickup, and you will not be bothered by a reminder email!
To use a promo code: if paying by check, please enter the promo code in you Member Agreement, and deduct it from your check (preferably from your first payment if using a payment plan). Promo codes work with our online store, but if you prefer Paypal please let us know so we can send you a custom invoice.
A note about online payments, for the sake of transparency: in order to be able to accept credit cards and online transactions as a convenience to our customers, we must use an payment processing companies. Companies such as these charge businesses on every transaction that they receive. We are charged 3%, which means for every credit card or online transaction we accept, Paypal or Square keeps 3% of the total. Large retailers are able to negotiate with credit card companies to lower their rates, because they make such a large volume of transactions every day. This is the cost of doing business, but many small farms have to pass on that fee to their customers. We don’t think this is entirely fair, but we do ask you to split the fee with us by paying 1.5% on your online payments through our website, while the other 1.5% comes from us. This is included in the price listed above for online payments. We think that this is a good compromise for the ability to pay electronically, and we hope you understand. (Of course, checks are always preferred!)
We also offer workshares! These are for members who are interested in reducing the cost of their share in exchange for goods or services. Often, a member will sign up to weed or harvest for a few hours each week, or once a month, or whatever works for their schedule. Workshares comes in various types and sizes, and are not just limited to field work. If you have skills in photography, cooking, education, or childcare, for example, we’d love to hear from you! If you are interested in signing up to workshare, please email email@example.com for more information and to apply.