Communication to the CSA Members:
- Weekly Newsletter is emailed Sunday/Monday – this is the best and easiest means of communication
- Weekly News and updates are posted on our blog http://catalparidge.blogspot.com/
- Also updates are posted on Twitter https://twitter.com/catalparidge
Do you use non-GMO seeds? We do NOT use any GMO seeds as most of our seed suppliers are part of the Safe Seed Initiative and have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Most of our seed is purchased from the following companies: Seed Savers Exchange, Fedco Seeds, Johnny's Selected Seeds, Jordan Seed, Dixondale Farms(onions) and others.....
THE SAFE SEED PLEDGE Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately people and communities.
Question: Could you please give me some information about how your produce is grown...chemicals etc? Here is some guidance on our growing practices:
We have posted our practices clearly on the website for years, as we are fully transparent. We dropped out of the NOFA organic program when the US government took it over in 2002, though we are still members of NOFA-NJ. Here is the link: http://www.jerseygrown.net/ReOrganicCertification.htm .
As far as organic, we cannot use the term organic as the US government now owns that term ( as that is what the "big boys" want). As far as fertilizers and supplements that we use, they are all organic and natural - NO chemicals. We also DO NOT SPRAY anything !!!! Not even those allowed by the federal standards. Some examples that we use are alfalfa meal, kelp, cotton seed meal, mined rock, limestone, greensand. These usually come blended from Fertrell Company. We also use crop rotation, such as replacing where the fava beans were with our fall/winter greens after they are harvested. Fava beans and peas fix nitrogen in the soil, which then becomes available for the next crop, such as the winter greens in this case. We don't have any animals at the farm, so buy our compost from Ag-Choice which is OMRI approved. We also use what we refer to as our "air-force". An example would be when Farmer Rich plants red cabbage instead of green cabbage so when the green worms appear the birds can see them better and swoop down to pick them off the cabbage "naturally".
What is Delivered Weekly?
DELIVERY OVERVIEWS - our deliveries have averaged between 7 ½ pounds to 9 ½ pounds per week over the last several years. The early deliveries are lighter but grow as the season progresses.
How will we know what is being provided for each delivery? Does the CSA have any choice in the matter? What is delivered is based on what is harvested. Members are notified by e-mail usually on Sunday/Monday what will be in Tuesday’s delivery. What we do is put together a newsletter with recipes and we also provide a “Harvest Identifier” which also includes recipes. You can see these online via our blog postings and links to a printable copy is also provided. We encourage CSA members to let us know if they would like any particular crop planted. We need to know early in the year to buy the seed.
How much food is delivered?
Translating the weekly deliveries into amounts for individuals, couples or families is difficult - it really doesn't translate into meals. It all depends on how you eat and cook.
The spring deliveries are very light and mostly greens, so salads and stir fries are the norm. The deliveries grow as the heavier vegetables are harvested. The greens are harvested and put into bunches, so you'll receive 1 bunch of chard, etc. During tomato season you'll get 1 lb of tomatoes, and then as the season grows you may get 3-4 pounds of tomatoes/week. Items such as squash, peppers, eggplant, etc you may get 1 squash, 1 eggplant and 3 peppers one week and 2 squash, 5 peppers and no eggplant the following week. The fruit that is delivered to the CSF members is from local fruit farms that use IPM practices. The fruit deliveries usually amount to 1-2 pounds per week depending on what is delivered. So with apples you may receive 3-8 apples in the delivery as it depends on the size of the apple that was harvested.
Is all produce grown on your farm location?
We do supplement with produce from other LOCAL growers. We may have a crop failure and another grower has a good crop that we can supplement our deliveries with. Also, we may have a bumper crop of an item or two and work out trading that crop with another local grower for something different. We like to have at least 5 to 7 different items delivered each week. Each year presents it's own set of problems, but you can see from the 2012 Harvest Season Overview that there were a few weeks early in the season where only 5 items were delivered. All in all, there are risks involved, but our track record of 17 years of deliveries speaks for itself.
Do you offer Half Shares?
We do not offer half-shares. People can arrange splitting a share if they feel a full share is too much for them. They have to work out how they will split the share. A few options are:
- The members alternate weeks
- The members meet to split the share on delivery day
- The first member picks up, splits the share and leaves a bag with their other share partner’s name on it.
It is what every works best for the members, but they have to work it out.
Do you offer Trips to the Farm?
Yes – From individuals to families, we encourage member participation in farm events which leads to a better understanding of where your food comes from. Participating in farm projects from helping to cover a greenhouse, harvesting fava beans or planting garlic all leads to a true appreciation of a farmer’s toil and enjoying the farm-fresh produce you receive each week. We enjoy hosting these trips where the beam of a small child’s smile who has just harvested a carrot or the sweat of a member’s brow weeding a vegetable patch contributes to the “community” in a community supported farm. Spend a day at the farm helping with projects from picking peas to mulching and weeding.
We are stewards of the land on which we grow your vegetables. Our methods of growing ensure we continue to build soil fertility and use natural practices to control pests. You are able to put the “face of the farmer” on your produce and we in turn are able to put the “face of our members” on the produce that we grow for you. When we harvest your carrots we know where they are going, not simply being tossed into a bin and shipped off to market. They will still be dirty from the soil of our farm and there will be crooked ones.
A day of two before delivery day you will be advised of what is in your weekly share. We try to include a variety of vegetables that may be eaten raw or cooked. If you simply want to pick up a bag of vegetables each week, then becoming a member is not for you.
As a community supported farm member you are pledging your support that a farmer has the right to a decent living. You have a right to know where your food is produced and maintain a connection to your food so often lost in today’s society. The Farmer can concentrate on farming and not in finding a market to sell his produce, as the members are supporting the farm before the season begins.
Becoming a community supported farm member also connects you to each other. You are able to meet each week, share stories, and introduce others to the concept of supporting a local small farm.