What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture is a way that people have supported their local farms and stocked their kitchens with fresh produce for decades. In a typical CSA, local families join as members of the farm and receive a weekly share of seasonal farm produce. Paying up front helps the farm cover early season costs like seed, tools, and pots. Having this dedicated customer base makes planning much easier on the farm, and ensures that the farmer has a market for occasional bumper crops that may be hard to sell at market.
While the idea behind a CSA is that the consumers are sharing with the farmers in the inherent risks that come with agriculture, in a typical year a CSA member will receive more than what they pay for.
What makes the Great Day Gardens CSA unique?
The vegetable share is the core of our CSA, and includes only produce grown by us on our farm. Whereas some programs may offer lots of choice and conveniences, we keep things simple by offering a “farmers choice” share for 25 weeks from May to October. Members must pick up every week, and are typically adventurous eaters who enjoy trying new things. Many also like the fact that they can grab their share and dash, without having to make their own decisions about what to eat for the week.
With our add-on options, the Great Day Gardens CSA is also unique in that you can supply your family with a large portion of your diet through the CSA program. Our wood-fired sourdough breads are baked right on the farm, and we offer egg and chicken options from two farm families who go above and beyond to regenerate their land.
Can I still sign up even though it has already started?
Yes! Fees displayed are for the entire 25-week season and will be pro-rated if you join in the middle of the season.
Do you spray chemicals on your produce?
No! We do not use ANY synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides in any part of the growing process! Our main input in our garden is compost from Royal Oak Farms in Evington, supplemented with minerals like rock phosphate, lime, and potassium sulfate, and biologically-based fertilizers like fish fertilizer, feathermeal, alfalfa meal, and blood meal. We occasionally use neem oil or kaolin clay as a pest deterrent, but mainly we manage pests by rotating our crops and growing under row cover, which keeps the insects off!
Although we are not certified organic, we go beyond organic practices in many ways. Maintaining high carbon levels in our soil and minimizing tillage creates ideal conditions for soil microbes, which are crucial in helping our plants to thrive. The 23 acres surrounding our growing area is managed as a meadow, with lots of habitat for insect pollinators, deer, rabbits, ground-nesting birds, foxes, skunks, groundhogs, opossums, and more! Over the 5 years here, we have watched organic matter levels and plants diversity levels rise, transforming the land from an exhausted hay field into an oasis!
When and where do I pick up?
Pickup is on Wednesdays at one of two locations. Our Farm Market is located at 2145 Thomas Jefferson Rd in Forest, and pickup here is open from 3 to 6 pm. We also deliver to a private resident near Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg. To get your share here, you must pick up between 4:30 and 5:30.
Is it every week?
Yes, except for a break on August 5. In the past there has been a member vacation week built into the share, but this year there will be no vacation week. If you are unable to pick up on a given Wednesday, it is a great opportunity to invite a friend to try eating local produce!
What is in the share?
The base CSA is our vegetable share, which includes over 50 unique items over the course of the season. Most weekly shares will include one of each of the following:
- 1 herb bunch
- 1 cooking green (chard, kale, cabbage, collard greens)
- 1 salad green (lettuce, spring mix, arugula)
- 1 storage crop (onion, garlic, winter squash)
- 1 root vegetable (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips)
- Variety of seasonal vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, etc)
Do I get to choose what I get?
CHANGE- for now we are not offering options, since we are required to pack all bags in advance due to COVID-19. If restrictions are lifted we will go back to the self-serve model.
What if I decide to end my CSA membership early?
No worries. If you have to end your membership early for any reason, we will refund you in full for the future shares you won’t be receiving.
Mutual Benefits and Shared Risk: In addition to a heavy bag of our produce every week, members gain cooking inspiration, updates on our garden, and a sense of community by participating in our CSA program. Members are also entitled to a 10% discount from our farmers market stand for the entire 2020 growing season (but please remind us… we often forget until its too late!) and are welcome to schedule their own tour at the farm any time during the season. The mutual benefit comes as we form a network of supply and demand for local agriculture and together share the risks that small-scale farming can entail. In a season of severe drought or storms the farm may not supply a full share every week, but as long as things go as planned, we will supply you above and beyond what you pay for!
Please note that the CSA is not for everyone. Some people join the CSA with good intentions, only to find out that they are too busy to cook the vegetables they receive every week, or they are uncomfortable with the changes and unpredictability of what comes in the bag. The earliest we are able to notify members of what will be in the bag that day is the morning of pick-up, when we send an email reminder. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions if you are thinking about signing up but aren’t sure if it will suit your lifestyle and personality. The CSA program does require you to commit to eating locally, which sometimes means you lose conveniences that the grocery store offers. The CSA is for those who enjoy the surprise factor of learning to use new foods, and not having to make decisions about what to buy. If you sign up and later find out the CSA does not fit your needs, we will give you a full refund for shares not yet delivered.