Easy Pickin's CSA: Community **Supported** Agriculture
if eating fresh, healthy, delicious & LOCAL is important to you, then
support the LOCAL farm(ers) who grow the stuff you love (that's us !)
June 19, 2019: the season is underway --
but stay tuned for our "week-at-a-time" CSA shares coming soon ...
Click on the links under our previous years, for info & pictures.
An Overview of the CSA Program for 2019
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” A local farmer offers customers the opportunity to become members of the farm’s CSA program. Customers pay the farmer in advance; this entitles them to a “share” of the farm’s harvest during the season. This up-front payment helps the farmer with expenses at the beginning of the growing season. The CSA member receives a weekly assortment of fresh produce -- picked, packed and ready for pick-up -- throughout the growing season.
A variety of fruits and vegetables are picked at optimum ripeness, and packed for you on pick-up day. The amount and type of each vegetable and fruit vary with the season and the weather. You pick up your produce at the farm each week on a designated day.
At Easy Pickin’s we grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits & berries, so your weekly share will reflect this mix of produce ! Vegetables include whatever is in season & available: tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, carrots, turnips, salad & cooking greens, and more. Fruits may include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, apples & Asian pears. Our wide variety of high quality fruit is a bonus that many CSAs are unable to offer. Check the “What We Grow” page of our website for more info about our produce, and "2018 Season" links above (Summary & Share Listing) to see what our most recent season looked like, week by week.
Our CSA season runs approximately 20 weeks, starting in mid-June and running through October.
A FULL SHARE is priced at $560, so your cost averages out to about $28.00 per week. A full share is a good-sized portion for a medium-sized family. We also offer HALF SHARES - same variety of items in your share for the 20-week season, but 1/2 the quantity. Half-shares are $330 for the 20 weeks -- they're a good size for individuals, or folks who want to try out the idea of CSA on a smaller scale. Another option can be "sharing a share." A group of friends, or an extended family, buys a full share, and divides the contents among the group each week when they pick up.
To reserve a share, you can make a down payment of $100 any time after January 1st. Full payment must be received by May 1st, in order to confirm your share. Shares are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of shares is available for this our 10th season of CSA, so don't delay!
Please click on the link at the top of this page to print out the CSA Membership Form, fill it in, and mail it with your payment to:
Easy Pickin's Orchard
46 Bailey Road
Enfield, CT 06082
Make your check payable to: Easy Pickin’s Orchard.
You must select a weekly pick-up day for the season. Currently, the choices are:
At our farm:
Tuesday 4pm-6:30pm *or* Thursday 4pm-6:30pm *or* Saturday 9am-12noon
At Coventry Farmers' Market
Sunday 11am - 2pm
CSA - Benefits & Opportunities
Supporting Local Farming and Quality Food Production:
When you join a CSA, you support a local farmer, and you help preserve farmland in your community. When you buy local instead of getting produce that is shipped in from great distances, it’s much better for the environment; you're also strengthening your local economy. You meet and know the people who grow your food. You know the land is worked with care, to support production and to ensure the future of local farming for generations to come.
One more plus: local, freshly-picked fruits and vegetables have more vitamins and much better flavor than produce that has been in the commercial food system for days or weeks. It's delicious, healthy eating !
A Good Value for Your Grocery Budget:
CSA is a good value for you and for us. $560 for a 20-week full share is about $28.00 per week, and should be enough produce for a family of 4 (we also have a 1/2-share option -- see above). The value of the produce is based on retail prices at farm stands and farmers’ markets. This fluctuates with the supply of produce from week to week. Early and late in the season when variety is more limited, the value of the weekly share may be slightly less, so we don't swamp you with heaps of radishes and lettuce mix ! During peak season, we can add a bit more to the share, to take advantage of the wider varieties of fruits and vegetables available at that time.
Your Share in the Adventure of Farming: Pests, Weather, and Expecting the Unexpected
Of course, farming is a risky business. At Easy Pickin’s we do everything possible to mitigate this risk. Our frost fan helps protect our fruit from early season frosts. Our fencing keeps deer out of our fields. We supply our fruit orchard & berry patches with irrigation, and we have a flexible system for irrigating the beds in our vegetable fields. Our big “high tunnels” (plastic-sided, solar-heated greenhouses) extend our harvest season to colder weather (we can grow greens in the winter !); we also use them for staging young plants before putting them directly in the ground in late spring. And we use this metal-framed "high tunnels" to grow some vegetables -- especially tomatoes & cucumbers -- all the way to harvest, which makes these sun-ripened favorites available early, before the field crop is ready to pick.
Yet unexpected things do happen. Weather -- heat, cold, drought, rain -- is the most significant factor affecting growing conditions and our harvest. Harsh or fluctuating conditions put stress on all crops (& on the farmer !); crops are also susceptible to a variety of pests (insects, fungi, etc.). Tree fruit production is particularly sensitive to weather. In recent years, orchards throughout New England and nationwide have experienced diminished harvests due to unusual and changing climate conditions: overall milder winters with sudden freezes, and late (post-bloom) spring frosts. CSA members share in these varying risks from year to year. We can't guarantee how many pounds of a particular item of produce will be available each year, but by growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables we do our best to provide each member with high value for their share.
What's So Good About Joining a CSA? Plenty!
Consider these benefits of joining a CSA:
Savings: Over the course of the season, farm stand prices are competitive with supermarket prices. And quality & freshness make local farm produce a better bargain for your grocery budget.
Health: We provide a large variety of fruits & vegetables, freshly-picked at optimum ripeness. More variety, quality & flavor, and more vitamins: better nutrition for you.
Convenience: A generous share of produce, ready-&-waiting for you, weekly, June through October.
Community Strength: You support your local farmer with early season funds. The farmer employs local help, and supports other local businesses as well as the food shelf & soup kitchen.
Environmental Quality: Your support helps provide long-term stability & sustainability to your local farm. Agricultural lands farmed with environmentally sound methods, and the surrounding open space, protect both air & water quality. Your local farm is also a habitat for a beautiful variety of birds & butterflies. And by buying local produce instead of what arrives at the supermarket by plane or truck, you reduce fuel consumption & other environmental costs of your food for our whole planet.
Other Questions You Might Have About CSA at Easy Pickin's
Below are some additional questions -- and answers -- about our CSA.
Is the produce "organic"?
Many early CSAs began on "organic" farms. Vegetables are somewhat suited to organic production, but fruits are more difficult to grow with this method. At our farm, we choose an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. With IPM, we use some of the best organic methods and limit our use of conventional pesticides, to grow the highest quality and safest produce we can. We are enrolled in an up-to-date IPM program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); scientists from the University of Connecticut come to our farm on a regular basis, to test our crops and to instruct us on the latest techniques to maintain sustainable, safe food production
What kind of produce will I get?
You receive a mixed sample of the produce ripening each week throughout the season; produce varies with the season & weather. Check our website's "What We Grow" & "What's Growing On" pages to see the possibilities, and see the weekly share listings and photos from prior seasons above.
Can I order specific produce for my share?
No. To make our system practical & affordable, we pack identical shares for everyone. Expand your food horizons by trying something new & exciting!
What if I would like more of some items?
If our pick-your-own area is open when you come for your share, you can pick-&-pay-for more produce that way. And when fruits & vegetables are in plentiful supply, we offer the extras for pre-order -- to pick up with your share for an additional charge.
Can I pick up on a different day?
No. Sorry, but we ask that you select a specific pick-up day so we can pack the needed number of shares for that day.
What if I miss my pick-up?
We can't promise to save your weekly share or give you a "make-up." Produce is very perishable, so if you're not available on your pick-up day we encourage you to arrange with a friend or family member to pick up your share that week. We can be a bit flexible when you go on vacation -- just ask us in advance; if something unexpected happens, contact us ASAP. Shares not picked up at the designated time will be donated to our local food pantry. There are no refunds for missed pick-ups.