How many people will a box feed?

This is the most common question we get because many CSA’s advertise in terms of “number of people”. Each box will contain $24 worth of our best produce at our normal market prices. The amount in each box varies by the cost/price of each item. In number of people terms, our produce CSA box would be considered a “family of 4” box. Whether or not a box will feed your family of 4 depends entirely on how much produce your family eats.

What type of veggies can I expect each week?

We grow a lot of things and like to experiment with new varieties, so there will be lots of different items in your box throughout the season.

For the Spring or Summer CSA the early part of the season will be mostly greens and root crops like lettuce, mesclun, arugula, bok choy, cabbage, kale, greens, herbs, broccoli rabe, broccoli, spinach, turnips, lamb’s quarter, swiss chard, beets, radish, carrots, green onions, various herbs. As the weather gets into the 90’s the early spring crops start to give way to things like squash, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, beans, onions, garlic and potatoes. When the hot weather arrives and stays (usually mid July) all the greens and lettuces will be finished and we will start to get heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, corn and okra in addition to squash, cucumbers, beans, potatoes and herbs. And finally, toward the end of the CSA season we will start to get fewer tomatoes and peppers but will add melons and cantaloupes and depending on the weather, may also start to get the first of the fall squash. All of this information is approximate as the weather can have a big impact on when things actually ripen. For example, last year the heirloom tomatoes came in a couple of weeks late because we had a cool early summer. We will do our best each week to give you a full selection with lots of variety, but weather and growing conditions will dictate what actually ends up in each box.

For the Fall or Winter CSA it is almost all greens, lettuces, cole crops, and roots because that is what grows in the winter. A typical box will include one or two leafy greens that can be eaten raw (mesclun, arugula, mizuna, etc); a head crop like romaine, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or a squash like butternut or acorn; a dark green for cooking like kale, collards, chard, bok choy, etc; and a root crop or two like turnips, rutabagas, radish, or sweet potatoes. In the middle of the CSA season the boxes may have less variety but the same amounts because fewer and fewer crops produce as the extreme cold of December and January set in.

Can I choose which veggies I get in my box each week?

No. The CSA option is designed to be automatic. A box of veggies shows up each week and you don’t have to worry about ordering or paying. All of the boxes at a drop-off point are identical. They do not have names on them. Just take the first one you come to. If you would rather order just what you want each week, you should not join the CSA but instead make weekly orders from our custom order list.

Can we also order extra from your custom order list?

Yes. We sell through multiple outlets and the CSA is just one of them. Each Monday we send out an email to the CSA list letting you know what will be in your box that week. We also send out an email to our full list of customers with a list of what is available that week and customers email us back with what they want to order. You may place an additional order for other items that are not in the CSA box for pickup at the same time. If you would like to order from the custom list in addition to your CSA box, please email us your order and include the delivery location (same as your CSA location) in the order. Custom orders are filled on a first-come-first-served basis and unfortunately, there are often not enough items to fill all the custom orders. That is one of the major advantages of the CSA. CSA orders take priority over custom orders so as the season moves along and there is less growing there will be less available on the custom orders than on the CSA orders.  Any CSA changes or special orders must placed before noon on the day before delivery.

Will everything you grow be in the box each week?

No. We grow a large variety of crops and sell through multiple different outlets in addition to the CSA. Each week your box will have 5 to 6 or our most plentiful items, but it will not have everything. One week you may get cabbage and the next week you may get broccoli. We also experiment with new crops and specialty crops where we only grow a few plants that we don’t include in the CSA because we don’t have enough for all the boxes. These items will be available on the custom list or at farmers markets but not in the CSA boxes (examples are hot peppers, scallions, artichokes and some of the specialty herbs). The goal is to put $24 worth of our best, most common veggies in a box each week and deliver it to you with minimum effort on your part. You just pick it up and enjoy.

Does everything in the box come from Coon Rock Farm?

Almost everything does and in a perfect year we everything you get in the CSA would be grown at Coon Rock Farm. But most years are not perfect and we sometimes have crop failures or shortages that we make up by getting produce from other local, organic farms.

What if I am out of town and can’t get my delivery?

You can “hold” your box for pick-up at a later date.  Just let us know when you’d like to hold and we can deliver a make-up at another week of the current CSA.

Can I change my weekly pick-up location?

Yes. If you email us at least 1 day in advance we can have your box at one of our other normal drop-offs. However, you must let us know in advance. We take the exact number of boxes to each location so there are no “extras” that you can pick up without letting us know you are switching.  Any CSA changes or special orders must placed before noon on the day before delivery.

Are your greens and lettuces washed?

The answer is “only if we have to”. Greens will keep much longer in your fridge if they are not washed. Our crops are all grown in real dirt with a lot of humus, compost and organic matter mixed in (but never any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers). This makes them grow well and taste great, but it also means dirt will splash up on the leaves. We suggest you wash all lettuces and greens before you eat them to get the dirt off.

Will my veggies always look perfect?

No. Americans have become used to cosmetically perfect vegetables because the grocery store is full of veggies that have been raised in an almost factory like environment with lots of chemicals and genetic engineering and a focus on looks over taste. Our veggies are grown in real dirt with no artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. We also grow mostly heirloom varieties of veggies that have been selected over the years for how good they taste versus how good they look after being shipped thousands of miles.

What about bugs?

The truth is that we can spray range of “organic pesticides” and still be considered organic. However, even organic pesticides tend to kill all the bugs, good and bad, and eventually cause problems in the garden ecosystem. We try to never spray anything at Coon Rock Farm and that means that we sometimes tolerate a little more bug damage than you would see on produce at the grocery store. If you ever get something in your box that has more bug damage than you feel is acceptable, please let us know and we’ll replace it. Some people are just unwilling to eat something if they can see that a bug has been on it. That’s OK, but if that’s how you feel, then our CSA is not a good choice for you.

Why do you use plastic bags?

We try our best to use as few bags as possible. In fact, we try to use as little packing material overall as possible. However, greens and lettuces will wilt in the NC heat if they are not bagged.

Do you recycle?

Yes. Please return all your boxes and bags each week when you pick up your new box. One of the reasons to be so excited about fresh, local, organic produce is that it is far more energy efficient and sustainable to eat local than ship produce in from other states or countries. By recycling clean bags and boxes each week we can do even more to minimize our impact on the environment. We also recycle egg cartons, paper and plastic grocery bags, the plastic containers that grocery stores use for shipped-in spinach and lettuce, as well as the pint and quart containers that fruits or vegetables come in. Rather than throw these items out, bring them with you to your CSA pick-up and we’ll gladly take them and re-use them.

What if I’ve changed my mind?

If after reading all this information, you’ve decided the Produce CSA is not what you were hoping or expecting, that is fine. Email us before the deliveries start and let us know you would like to cancel and we’ll refund your money. You must cancel before deliveries begin. After this time, you can not cancel your subscription. We turn away dozens of subscribers each year so your spot in the CSA is valuable and we are not able to provide refunds once the CSA has started.

Email richard@coonrockfarm.com if you have questions or would like more details that are not covered in the FAQ.