What is a CSA and it Right for You?

What is a CSA all about?

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a food-delivery and farming model that connects you directly with the farmer through a “share.”  The member purchases a “share” from the farmer early in the year, then for 15 weeks during the growing season members receive a weekly box of fresh, seasonal produce.

Our CSA members form a mutual agreement with Sunny Slope Farm.  The up-front investment made by members gives us, the farmer, income early in the year when many costs are incurred for seeds, seed-starting, equipment purchase and planning for the upcoming season; in turn we make a commitment to give you the best quality, most delicious produce throughout the season.

Are there risks with joining a CSA?

Yes. CSA is an investment and a risk for the farmer and the member who joins. Together we are sharing in the risks and rewards of sustainable chemical-free farming. CSA members must understand that Sunny Slope Farm is growing in Southeast Alaska, with unpredictable weather, using only natural growing methods for fertility, and against insects (slugs, thrips, and root maggots), fungi and bacteria. Our methods meet or exceed the federal government’s organically-grown standards. As farmers, by choosing this approach we inherently decrease our potential yield and chance for success. We take this approach because we believe the benefits outweigh the potential risks associated with chemicals, fungicides and commercial fertilizers.

What are the benefits of being a CSA member?

On a personal level, fresh produce is provided on a weekly basis which helps make sure that you eat healthy.  CSA is an easy way to shop locally, keep a balanced budget, and encourage adventurous eating and cooking.  Most importantly you know exactly where your food came from, how it was grown, and who grew it.  Our produce is generally picked the same day that the shares are available, which means the nutritional quality is at its peak – much fresher than produce shipped cross-country to the grocery store.

On a community level, you are directly supporting your local economy in a sustainable way.  As a small local business, we in turn make purchases and investments in other local businesses, for supplies, tools, financial services, and we contribute to our vibrant community.

On a global level, investing in a local business that is utilizing sustainable and organic practices has many benefits, including:  positive impacts on the environment; a reduction in fossil fuel dependency (thus reducing your carbon footprint); a reduction in garbage through minimal product packaging; and an effective way to challenge America’s current unsustainable food system. This all translates to a healthier you, and a healthier planet.

Is a CSA right for you?

There are significant differences between joining a local CSA and purchasing from a Farmers Market or a grocery store. Joining a CSA does not mean that you can select from multiple farm vendors who will bring only those crops that were successful that week to the Farmers Market. It does not mean that you select from hundreds of international farm vendors that a grocery store has brought together for you under one roof. What joining a CSA means is that you share in one local farm’s harvest. You share in the risks and rewards of farming, with one farmer. When purchasing from a Farmers Market or a grocery store, at the end of the day, you don’t truly know how those vegetables have been grown, where they’ve been grown or how they’ve been handled. When you join our CSA, you gain the ability to walk through the rows of crops and see your food being grown. And, you get to know us, your farmer, on a first name basis.

If you like to cook and try new things, then a CSA is likely right for you.  If you are somewhat adventurous and flexible, you’re good to go.  If you are intent on making healthful life changes, this can support your efforts.  If you are a family of picky eaters; you eat out more often than in; or your expectations are for a constant supply of just the right amount of your favorite items, then perhaps shopping at the Second Saturday Farmers’ Market is more suitable for you.

What’s in the weekly box?

The best selection of seasonal vegetables and herbs that are fresh, local, chemical-free, and sustainably grown. You will recognize a diversity of staple items, and may be introduced to new ones – remember what’s uncommon to one member may not be to another!   In the early summer there will be salad and stir fry greens, chives, sorel, green onions, rhubarb, and radishes; mid-summer cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic scrapes, green beans, kale, chard, peppers, green onions, broccoli, zucchini, and cauliflower; and, into the cool days of fall there will be hearty root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, beets, onions, and carrots, cabbage, leeks, collar greens, and garlic. A full share generally feeds a family of four and a half share will feed two hearty vegetable eaters, or a household cooking multiple meals a week at home; both the full and half shares include herbs. There may be some weeks that you receive more or less than expected of certain items, depending on growing conditions and time of season. Each box will come with a recipe or two, and may also randomly contain a loaf of bread, jam, pickles or berries.

Feedback is always welcome

Sunny Slope Farm will make every effort to be flexible and supportive towards your needs. If you notice that the weekly share isn’t quite fulfilling your household needs and you have too much, or too little produce, please let us know. On the same token, we are happy to exclude specific herbs or vegetables if you do not like them. We appreciate your feedback.

Is the food washed & ready?

All of our produce is hand-picked, cleaned in the recommended manner and stored in a cooler until it is picked up.  That means some of the produce will be washed, but some will not because it keeps better quality when not washed prior to pick-up. That said, we live in Juneau; home of slugs.  We will make every effort to remove any unwanted critters, but it’s possible that one might slip in without our knowing. It’s always a good rule of thumb to rinse your food at home and prepare it as you normally would.

When and where do I pick up the weekly box?

The 2018 CSA shares will be available for 15 weeks beginning early June through September. Our farm is located at 10025 N. Douglas Hwy.  We are the 3rd driveway past Eaglecrest on the uphill side.  Once in the driveway, turn left.  Weekly boxes are to be picked up on Thursdays. If you are not in town, you may have someone else pick up your box.