Coyote Song Farm & Forest’s CSA Membership Program
Community Supported or Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a system of small scale market garden farming that connects farmers and their community closely. People who chose to be involved in a CSA are usually highly committed to supporting a local small scale producer, who are keen to get to know the people who are growing their food and to learn more about where their food is coming from and to eat according to seasonal availability. Members purchase a "share" of the farm's produce prior to the harvest season thus supporting the farmer at the time when seeds and other inputs are being purchased. Once the crops are ready, members receive a weekly share of the harvest. This model involves a shared risk for members and farmers, a hail storm or severe drought will impact yields. But, it also includes rewards, a bumper crop of strawberries will result in extra berries in the weekly box!
How many weeks will I get a delivery and when will it begin?
Our CSA membership will cover 16 weeks beginning June 23 in Guelph and surrounding area, and June 24 in Toronto and ending Thanksgiving weekend, October 7 in Guelph and 8 in Toronto. If you are unable to receive your delivery on a particular week due to being away on vacation or for some other reason, members can choose to gift their box to a friend or donate that week’s share to people experiencing food insecurity. Coyote Song has developed a good relationship with the Beaton Cupboard food bank and will coordinate to have your share donated to them. One week notice will be required to ensure the alternate delivery plan can be arranged.
What will be in my share?
Typically early summer harvest is heavier on greens and as the season progresses variety increases as a more diverse selection of crops become ripe. For example, week 3 shares last year included kohlrabi, green garlic, green onions, carrots, Swiss chard, head lettuce, mixed greens, strawberries and dill. Week 7 shares included broccolini, onions, kale, beets, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers cherry tomatoes (cherry and slicing), beans and potatoes. Early season shares may have a lower dollar value in the box but mid season our boxes are packed full of seasonal produce and make up for the lightness of the early season harvest. Every second week shares will include an arrangement of flowers. Shares can be upgraded to include weekly flower arrangements for an additional cost..
We had much success with tomatoes in our greenhouse last season and look forward to growing lots more of the most successful varieties in 2023. We are also looking forward to putting into practice the things we learned last year about succession planting and how things grow on this land and are planning for a good steady supply of some of the customer favourites such as beans, carrots, onions and radishes. We will also be increasing the amount and variety of herbs in the coming year, as well as trying some varieties of Asian greens and fresh ginger.
What does it cost?
This year our CSA Membership program we are offering a limited number of one size shares for a full season for $640. This works out to approximately $40/week. An upgrade to weekly flowers (from the standard biweekly) will cost an additional $100. CSA members will also receive a 15% discount on farm-stay glamping bookings. Payment may be made by e-transfer to email@example.com or by ordering here.
When and how will I get my share?
Shares will be delivered to our Guelph and area customers on Friday afternoon and will be brought to Toronto Saturday morning for pick up at The Stop Farmers Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns. An additional pick up location in Toronto may be arranged depending upon the distribution of our Toronto members. If there are three or more customers in close proximity we may arrange for a porch pick up location for them. Last year we did front door delivery in Toronto mid week and it did not work well for the farm. This year we will put together the harvest for market and CSA and keep Toronto transport to the one day. One benefit of belonging to a small scale CSA is that we can be somewhat flexible in arranging share distribution as the make up of our membership is established. Farm gate pick up is also available.
Final thoughts on CSA Membership at Coyote Song Farm & Forest
We are excited to be headed into year two of our CSA program. Liz really enjoyed putting together weekly shares last year. To see the products of our hard work come together in boxes filled with food and flowers was kind of like putting together a vegetable version of a Christmas stocking each week! CSA Membership allows us to develop a closer relationship with a small group of customers and helps us to plan crops and harvests. For the members there will be opportunities to learn more about the farm and where your food is grown and the certainty of receiving the freshest of produce grown locally according to organic practices for a pre-determined price. We enjoyed hosting some of our families at our farm stay glamping site last year and hope to have more visitors next year. We also hope to expand our CSA program in future with the possibility of different sizes or seasons of shares. For now though we wish to welcome a small group to help us build our farm and grow into our new role as producers of local food and flowers.