What is a CSA?
This is a marketing approach used by smaller farms that allows farmers to directly market their products to customers. There are many beneﬁts to this arrangement
– By removing all the middlemen (sales, marketing, aggregation, distribution), more money stays where itshould, in the pockets of farmers and customers.
– The customer gets to “know their farmer” which gives them comfort of knowing how their food is grown and where it comes from.
– By paying for the share up front, the customer provides the farmer with the necessary funding to get started each season. The bulk of a farms expenses occur in early spring before any product is available for sale, so this arrangement provides much needed cash ﬂow.
– The term CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You as the customer are becoming part of the agricultural process. The big beneﬁt is you are gaining access to fresh and healthy food that is grown right in your community. As part of the process, you are also willing to assume some of the risk associated with farming. If a weather event affects production, you are agreeing to roll with the punches until everything is back online. While in some years this may require some sacriﬁce, it also strengthens your relationship with the farmer and connects you to the process of growing food. As Wendell Berry says “Eating is an agricultural act”.
How does it work?
You sign up for a CSA Farm Share on our website (click here). The enrollment period begins on January 1st each year, and usually closes by the start of the CSA (around mid-May). Two types of shares are available….the half share ($365) and the full share ($550). We, the farmers, then go out and do our best to grow you nutritious food. Typically by mid-May, we will begin weekly distributions of our food boxes, called “shares”. Your share will contain a variety of whatever crops are available at that time of year, and you will receive 21 weeks of produce.
We try not to overload you with one type of vegetable, so you’ll typically ﬁnd anywhere from 5 to 9 different crops in each box. Being Montana, these shares are very seasonal in nature. In early spring, they are heavy on cold tolerant greens such as spinach, baby lettuce greens, radishes, and kale. As the weather warms and summer progresses, we will work through the full gamut of vegetables (click here to see the schedule).
We will keep you updated as to the progress and activities on the farm via our Farm updates/CSA newsletter blog here, and will alert you as to the ofﬁcial start day for distribution. We do not do door to door delivery of shares to your home, so we’ve arranged various places for you to pick up your share. You can get them on the farm, at farmer’s markets, or at drop off locations in your town. These locations can vary from year to year, but you will be able to see the available locations during the signup process. You are allowed to change your drop off location from week to week online through your account. Note: You must change your pickup 3 days in advance of your pickup.
Our Drop locations as of 2018 are as follows:
Tuesdays and Wednesday at Whitefish Downtown Location from 5-7:00 on Tuesday and 10-6 Wednesday.
Thursdays The Columbia Falls Community Market at O’ Brien’s Liquor store from 5-7:30.
Friday at the Discovery Center in West Glacier. 11-6
Friday pick up at Two Bear Farm from 4:30-7 pm
Saturday at Kalispell farmers market from 9-12:30.
If you have any questions, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, as I’ve tried to address many of the most common CSA questions there. If those don’t get the job done, please feel free to contact us via email or phone anytime.