What is a CSA?
A CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, is just one of the many ways customers who believe in "real, transparent food" can support a farmer.
By having a dedicated group of members, I can tailor the harvest to best suit the members' needs and know that I will have a reliable source of income. The members in turn get the fresh, mouth-watering, nutrient-rich produce and have a direct connection to where their food is grown.
CSA members tend to be people who enjoy eating vegetables, appreciate knowing where their food is coming from, and delight in a good bargain!
How is ARNKA Acres different than a traditional CSA?
There are two main differences that set ARNKA Acres apart from other CSA's. Most CSA's give you a pre-filled basket of produce or have you fill your own basket with packaged or labeled produce. We offer a true Customizable Market-Style Pick Up. When you get to the Pick Up, you will grab a basket based on the share size purchased.
Then you can fill your basket with whatever items you'd like.
You may take some of everything or you may pass on some items and take more of others. For example, let's say you don't like beets, but you really like carrots. You may leave the beets and fill half (or all) of your basket with carrots. Throughout the season, there may be limits on an item such as the first time a crop appears on the CSA table. Our hope is that every member will leave the Pick Up with a basketful of items they are excited to eat.
Another difference is what is in the shares. While the majority of the baskets will be filled with our freshest produce, we will also include, AT NO EXTRA COST, cow and goat cheeses made by Farmer Rachel. This ensures the members will receive a full basket even if Mother Nature doesn't allow for optimal crop harvests!
Just as much as we are about fresh food, ARNKA Acres is also about the farm community experience. CSA members can come to the farm each week to gather their baskets, feed the goats, pet the cats, or relax in the hammock. Many of our members grab a seat, chat with other members, and watch their kids play at the playground. Come join us!
How does this benefit me?
In addition to the amazing taste of local produce, there is evidence that taking care of our soil is key to putting nutritional value back into your food. Many of you want the benefits of a backyard vegetable garden, but do not have the time or space to grow your own.
We bring the high quality vegetables with the convenience of not doing the work yourself or worrying about getting to the farmer's market early!
How does it work?
Our CSA will run for 20 weeks, starting late-May through the beginning of October. Each member will receive 20 (10 for 1/2 Shares) baskets full of fresh produce and ARNKA cheese. Our goal is to have abundant shares each week with a great deal of variety and to surpass your expectations.
How do I get my basket?
There are two options for receiving your shares: Pick Up and Drop Off. We ask that you choose the option that works best for you as you will need to keep that choice throughout the season.
We have three different Pick-Up choices. Full shares must be picked up be at our farm on Tuesdays. Half shares are available at the Farm on Wednesdays or at McKenna Pro Imaging in Waterloo on Wednesdays.
We will offer a "Market style" Pick-Up: We set up the produce as if we were at a farmers' market to allow you to fill your basket with the items you want and pass on the ones you don't. This allows you to pass on produce you know you are not fond of and choose something that interests you. Although we do encourage you to try new vegetables; they just may end up being a favorite!
The Drop Off option works a bit differently. Instead of coming to get your share, we bring it to you at NO additional charge! We currently offer Drop Off in Dike on Wednesday early afternoon and Grundy Center on Thursday afternoon. If choosing this option, please include your address on the contract.
What's in a typical basket?
As mentioned, there will be both produce and cheese in your basket.
Vegetables you can expect to see throughout the season:
Spring--rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, shell peas, green onions, radishes, arugula, asparagus, pak choy, broccoli
Summer--slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, new potatoes, kohlrabi, basil, rainbow chard, kale, green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cilantro, chives, oregano, thyme
Fall--potatoes, onions, gourds, winter squash, broccoli, turnips, eggplant, spinach, lettuce, coriander, chives, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, sage
Is ARNKA Acres organic?
The simple answer is no. However, at ARNKA Acres our vegetables are grown in an environmentally sustaining manner. We use aged animal manure compost and organic fertilizers. Our practices are guided by the National Organic Standards and by our own goals for achieving a sustainable system. Seeds are organic when available with the inclusion of open pollinated varieties. We control pests through the use of crop rotations and row covers. Some bugs we'll just tolerate!
The harvest is brought in from the garden hours before you pick it up--it just doesn't get any fresher!
We invite all shareholders and farm visitors to spend a day with us, walk through our garden, and check out our compost--come see for yourself how we farm!
How do I know what's going on?
We will send out a newsletter via email to keep you informed of special situations, crop updates, recipes, farm happenings, and other items. In addition to the newsletters, we often post updates, photos, and other fun information on Facebook. The Pick-Up days are also a great place to learn what is going on.
How much does it cost?
A 2018 Share costs $415. A 2018 1/2 Share costs $220. A deposit of $25 is required to reserve your spot with the remainder due on April 1, 2018.
How do I sign up?
Registration for our 2018 CSA will open on December 1, 2017. Check back then for a current contract.