What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
CSA is a partnership between a farm and the surrounding community –the community financially invests in the farm by purchasing “shares” prior to the beginning of the growing season and in return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a variety of fresh vegetables harvested at their peak weekly.
In farming, there are risks. These risks are shared by both the farmer and the subscriber. Each season, crop abundances and failures are part of the natural order – crops are subject to insects, plant diseases and inclement weather. We grow a large variety of vegetables to lesson these risks and assure our subscribers a bountiful harvest.
Becoming a member creates a bond between people and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown and those who grow it. It helps support small farms and responsible farming.
What is in a Share?
You can enjoy the bounty of Echo Ridge’s produce by joining our CSA. CSA members receive a weekly share of seasonal vegetables and produce freshly harvested as well as a weekly newsletter, recipes and an invitation to our Annual End-of-Season potluck!
Weekly shares (equal to ½ - 1 full paper grocery bag of produce) contain an assortment of vegetables and in sufficient quantities to feed 2 adults or a small family.
Each week for 16 weeks, we harvest what the season provides. Spring brings delicate greens, radishes, peas and beets. Summer overflows with ripe tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and summer squash. We pick the best produce from the garden just before packing and usually the day of pick-up. We grow many heirloom varieties – over 40 different ones. We believe in preserving heirloom vegetables – plants that have been handed down over generations and not genetically manipulated. They provide a connection to the past and a promise for the future.
CSA shares are distributed from approximately end of May to end of September, depending on the season’s weather. You will receive a postcard at the beginning of May announcing our first pick-up date.
How do I join?
Simply print out our 2009 membership application and mail it with your payment. You will receive a confirmation receipt and information about our first pick up.
Pick-up is at the farm in Middletown on Tuesdays and in Winchester on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For pick-up in Winchester, our truck will be at a central location with a staff member to help facilitate pick-up.
We understand that sometimes the day doesn’t go as planned. If you are unable to pick up your share at the site; we will hold it at the farm in our prep area the next day only from 10-4. The prep area is the large yellow shed facing the fruit trees; shares will be right inside the door. Please pick up your share promptly as it will be at sub-optimal temperatures.
If you miss a share or two you are still receiving a good value for your money. Thank you for your cooperation with these farm policies.
What happens if the pick-up is on a holiday?
Our pick-up schedule will be the same each week throughout the season. Vegetables don’t take a vacation!
What happens to my share if I go on vacation?
Each pick-up day we harvest only for the number of shareholders expected, and we certainly don’t want any produce to go to waste! If you know in advance that you will miss a pick-up, please inform us at least 3 weeks in advance.
We encourage you to share the harvest and make arrangements with friends to pick up your share while you are gone. You do not need to let us know that someone else will be picking up your share; just make sure that whoever will pick up your share checks in with the distribution coordinator under your name.
Do I get fruit in my share?
You can expect watermelons and strawberries in your share, weather conditions allowing. If you’d like more local fruit, we partner with a local fruit grower to offer a 10 week share. The fruit share includes many varieties, and may include peaches, cherries, apricots, strawberries, pears, berries and others as the weather permits.
While nearly all of our produce are either treated without any pesticides or only with certified organic sprays, some of the fruit in the fruit share must be treated with non-organic sprays. This is due to Virginia's humid and rainy weather which encourages bacterial and fungal conditions if not treated. Our fruit is exposed to the smallest amount of treatment as possible. We will notify fruit share subscribers which have or have not been treated through the season.