2018 Memberships Now Available!
The Windsong Farm Community Supported Agriculture program features weekly shares of fresh certified organic produce grown on our diversified sustainable farm. Shares consist predominantly of vegetables but also may include herbs and limited amounts of fruit (see our produce page for full list). Members are, in effect, hiring our services as professional farmers to produce a wide variety of fresh, exceptionally nutritious, tasty, local food for regular pick-up. Membership also includes access to on-farm events. Read more about the philosophy behind CSA programs here.
Our growing season is from late April through mid-November. Members should expect to receive weekly shares of fresh produce during this time, with the farmer reserving the option to skip up to two distributions. Only under extraordinary circumstances should there be fewer than 28 weekly shares. We plan for resilience in crop production; it’s always the case that one or more crops won’t do so well, but others will shine. This annual variation is part of the fun!
We use an online system that allows members to make requests to customize their share contents, and let us know about what time they plan to pick it up. Two days before each share distribution, we send out a survey via e-mail listing the expected share contents. Members have the option to opt out of given items or request extras, which will be provided if available (sometimes items that other members did not want, or overabundance, or seconds-quality items). While we believe a CSA should encourage members to try unusual produce, some folks simply don’t like certain vegetables; if these won’t be used or appreciated in one household, we’d rather be able to free those items up for a household that really likes them. Similarly, we want to share the bounty when it is available, but we don’t want to overwhelm a member’s kitchen with lots of extra produce unless they are prepared to use it. Those who request a lot will get the best overall deal, but others may prefer to take lesser amounts when desired & trade efficient service for monetary value. This survey is integral to our harvest and share-packing methods, and members should plan to take a few moments each week to fill out the survey.
Members are welcome to request as much produce as they think members of their household can eat, either for fresh consumption or to preserve for later use by the household. Members must agree not to share produce beyond their own household, in order to preserve the integrity and fairness of the system for everyone. Our goal is to maximize the value of our produce to the paying members, not to members’ neighbors or friends. For the same reason, if members will be traveling and unable to use the share contents while they are still fresh, we ask that they forgo their share for that week (unless your cat sitter loves veggies and will pick them up for you). We will redistribute those share contents to other members using the survey system, and those travelers can expect to benefit from such redistributions themselves at other times—something that the surveys allow us to do effectively by knowing who wants more of what.
PICKUP DAYS & TIMES
Each member will choose an available weekly pickup day. Our 2018 pickup days are Tuesdays or Fridays, and shares will be available in a cooler on our front porch between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Occasional requests to switch to an alternate day within a week can usually be accommodated, if made sufficiently in advance. Because I need to spread harvests evenly throughout the week, there is a maximum number of members I can handle on each of these days. I will give you your first choice of pickup days if I possibly can, but it may be necessary to do some load balancing. Sign up early to lock in your preferred day. We are located at 31 King George Road, Warren Township, New Jersey.
MEMBERSHIP LEVELS & BENEFITS
All members receive access to on-farm events, share customization for produce & herbs, and our online newsletter/forum (still under construction). Our goal is to offer a standard share that fills roughly 3/4 of a large cloth shopping bag, featuring an average of 8 types of produce. Early spring shares tend to be less diverse and smaller; summer shares tend to be more diverse and heftier, and may include a second bag. There are three share size options, and two pick-up frequency options, plus our special Sustaining membership.
Standard (size): This membership level includes early spring greens (spinach, lettuce, various Chinese-style greens, kale, chard) and late season storage crops (winter squash, turnips, beets, carrots), as well as our main season staples (tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers). See the produce list and “What’s in a Share” for full details.
Extra Greens (size): This size doubles the portions of greens for the entire season, including spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, arugula, and bok choy, and is designed for those who make smoothies. This share is different from requesting “extras” in a standard share in that we plant a specific extra amount to fill these shares; so long as the crop is successful, you will be assured of the extra amounts. Also, at the beginning and end of the season when there might not be enough of a crop of greens to go around to all members, Extra Greens members may still receive a share of those items.
Double (size): This is a double-sized share. Each pick-up Double members will receive two Standard shares. This share is particularly suited to larger families and those who cook a lot. A Double share is less expensive than two Standard shares.
Weekly (frequency): Shares are picked up once per week.
EOW (frequency): Shares are picked up Every Other Week. Please note that the price is more than half a weekly membership, due to administrative costs.
Sustaining (special membership: Sustaining members are interested in more than just an exchange of cash for local produce. They want to contribute tangibly to our efforts to regenerate and restore the earth (see our growing practices page for more on how we do this). In exchange for a larger financial commitment to our work nurturing the soil and protecting the environment, sustaining members are given access to our “premium” crops, ones we grow in quantities too small to share with everyone. This includes our fruits (hardy kiwifruit; in development are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), rhubarb, bamboo shoots, some herbs, chestnuts, black walnuts, and crops we are experimenting with, such as microgreens and mushrooms (still in planning phases). When crops first start ripening, Sustaining members will receive the first distributions of those crops. Requests for larger amounts of individual items will always take priority. Finally, Sustaining members take precedence on the membership waiting list. In other words, we’ll fill our limited open slots first with Sustaining members, then add Standard members until we’ve reached our limit. Sustaining members pay an additional $250 per membership and can choose whichever size and frequency share they prefer.
- Standard share: $1100 (Weekly); $600 (EOW)
- Extra Greens share: $1400 (Weekly); $750 (EOW)
- Double share: $2000 (Weekly); $1100 (EOW)
- Sustaining membership: add $250 to any share type
A farm like this takes year-round work to maintain, so members are paying ~$21/week throughout the year to have us farm for you, from which the farm must first pay all farm expenses and health insurance before any income is left to pay for our own time.
We know our prices seem high in comparison with other food options in this country, and we know that our prices already strain some members’ budgets. But we also know that earning a reasonable living through farming is really hard. Also consider that vegetable farms like ours also aren’t eligible for the sorts of government support programs larger commodity farms take advantage of, so our more free-market price looks artificially expensive compared to conventional subsidized agriculture.
Most importantly, because of our soil management techniques, and the freshness of the produce, you are getting maximum nutrition for your food dollars.
Farm planning and expenditures begin well before the growing season. The best prices on seed and supplies are often in December. We aim to complete all seed purchases by the end of January, thus we’ve developed the following standardized payment schedule: $100 deposit (nonrefundable), due at sign up, 50% due January 15, and 50% due March 1.
|Deposit, due at sign up||Payment 1: January 15||Payment 2: March 1|
|Extra Greens Weekly/EOW||$100||$650/$325||$650/$325|
We are also quite happy to take a one-time payment the middle of January, as this is less accounting work for us. A custom payment plan is a possibility if the above options do not provide sufficient flexibility; contact us with a specific proposal if needed.
We accept cash or checks made out to Windsong Farm, LLC.
VISITING THE FARM/MEETING THE FARMER
Prior to or in conjunction with signing up, we ask that prospective members come visit the farm and meet the farmer in person. Members make a considerable financial commitment to the farm, and we make a considerable work commitment to the members, so we’ll all feel better about the arrangement if we’ve had a chance to meet and talk. Please indicate your preference for a tour appointment when you fill out the application form (available below when shares are available). We can meet with you Tuesday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and look forward to sharing our “Little Piece of Heaven” with you. Children are welcome to come along, but there will be lots of talk about the farm & CSA details that not all children will find scintillating. We are located at 31 King George Road, in Warren Township, New Jersey.
STEPS TO JOIN (OR RE-JOIN) THE CSA
To join for 2018, we ask that all new and returning members:
- New members fill in this form to submit your information, desired membership level, and to request an appointment to visit the farm (new members only). We will email you to confirm that we still have openings and confirm your visit date and time. Returning members just need to let us know what size/frequency share they want.
- Download and sign a copy of our Windsong Farm member agreement.
- Pay a $100 nonrefundable deposit. You can bring the agreement and check with you to your farm visit and give them to us at the end of the tour, after you are certain that you want to join, or you can mail them to us later. Returning members are welcome to drop off the agreement/check at your next pick up, or mail them to us to reserve your 2018 share.
Membership is reserved when all three requirements are completed.
[With special thanks to Eric & Joanna Reuter of Chert Hollow Farm for allowing us to copy quite liberally from their CSA setup!]