1) What sorts of fruits and vegetables should I expect?
a. CSA’s provide you with a seasonal selection of produce. Because supermarkets source their goods from around the country and around the world, many people aren’t used to eating seasonally for their area. The early season in spring will typically start out light with salad greens, asparagus, peas, etc. Summer will bring beets, radishes, corn, beans, cucumbers, etc. Towards the end of the season, you can expect the addition of heavier items like squashes and pumpkins. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples will sprinkle in throughout the season, and you may even have a surprise or two with some prepared items. The exact selection will depend a great deal upon growing conditions that year, but our goal is to have many different varieties of produce throughout the season, as a large variety ensures a full box each week. For a list of past items, see our Fresh Produce page.
2) Will I still need to buy vegetables at the store?
a. That will depend upon your eating habits. Those who typically eat very few vegetables and fruits may find they get more than they need from the CSA, and those who eat nothing but vegetables or are looking for items out of the local season, may need to supplement their CSA shares. Based on our customer feedback, most of our shareholders got more than expected in their CSA boxes, and supplemented with some out of season items at the grocery store or co-op occasionally.
3) Can I choose what I get in my CSA box each week?
a. No, the contents every week are based upon what is ready for harvest, and every member gets roughly the same selection and amount of produce as everyone else, dependent upon the share size. Large shares will typically contain some items not found in the small shares. If you receive a particular item that you won't use yourself, we always encourage you to be brave and try your vegetables, or give them away to folks that you know. You shouldn’t have many problems finding someone who is willing to take organically grown vegetables or fruits direct from the farm!
4) Can I get a group of people together to collectively purchase a share?
a. Absolutely! Many of our customers go in on shares together. Please be aware that you will need to divide up the box and arrange any additional pick up/delivery amongst yourselves, as the share will come to one location and in one single box. This is a great way to access organically grown local produce, even if you know you can’t eat a whole share every week in your household. If possible, divided payment should also be arranged within the group so that one individual pools the money and pays for the whole CSA share. Contact Us
if you have special payment questions.
5) Are there any risks with a CSA?
a. In a CSA, members share in both the risk and the reward of the farm. If we experience catastrophic weather and a particular crop falls short or fails entirely, then we can’t pass that produce on to you. We’ve been farming for many years, and have developed relationships with other area farmers, so we make every effort to mitigate those situations, but acts of God are out of our control! Also in those events, our large and diverse variety of produce allows us to shift focus to other vegetables to help fill in the boxes for that week. We consider our members part of our family; remember, "…if it is not good enough for us to eat, we won’t make it available for you."
The opposite is also true, however. If conditions exceed our expectation and we have an abundant harvest, then we can pass some of that on to you. In a CSA, you have a stake in the farm, and we’d like to think that food you helped make possible always tastes a little better!
6) Can I visit The Farm?
a. Absolutely! We encourage every member to visit the farm at least once per season. As a member, you help to make it possible, so we want you to come and see and touch what you are a part of. We encourage you to call ahead so that we can plan our day around your visit. Check our Events page
as well for Open Houses and other great opportunities to connect with The Farm!
7) What are the main benefits of CSA’s and The Farm of Minnesota?
Organically grown produce (Organic certification in process)
Locally grown and freshly harvested means more vitamins and key nutrients are retained on the way to your plate, versus buying non-local produce at the store
The chance to see and participate in where your food comes from
Wide variety of produce gives you the chance to try new things
Weekly newsletter with Farm updates, in depth information on that week’s highlighted produce, and recipes
The Farm of Minnesota’s passion to improve the nutrient value of the food you get
Your dollars supporting local people and the local economy
Your dollars supporting sustainable land use
We price our shares to maximize your value when compared to buying similar local organic produce at the store, so depending upon your habits, you can save money!
8) What size share do I need?
a. Again this will depend upon your eating habits, but a Large share is typically enough on a weekly basis for a family of 2 to 4, who eat large quantities of vegetables. If you are new to seasonally grown vegetables, we recommend that you start with a Small share.
9) What happens if I’m not able to pick up my produce or I forget?
a. If you know that you will be unable to pick up your box due to a planned event, please first attempt to arrange to have someone else pick it up for you. For central pick up locations, they can do so without having to notify us ahead of time. If you are unable to have someone else pick up your box, please Contact Us
with as much advance notice as possible and we will make arrangements to donate the produce locally.
If you simply forget to pick up your box, please note that all central drop off sites will donate any boxes left at the end of the day. To determine what time a pickup location is open until, please contact that specific location or Contact Us
. Please remember that these locations are hosting a pickup location, and that we have to be thoughtful of their time and space.
10) Do I need to return the boxes?
a. Yes, please! We use heavy-duty waxed produce boxes, which aren’t cheap. They are designed to keep your fruits and veggies as fresh as possible on the way to you. Please do one of two things:
Bring the empty box from the week before back and leave it when you pick up your new box
Bring bags/boxes that you can transfer your produce into and leave the box behind
When you help us keep unnecessary overhead expenses down, we can direct your investment in The Farm back into improvements or additional varieties of produce that benefit you directly!
11) Can I buy extra produce beyond my CSA box(es)?
a. Yes. We offer specialty shares of strawberries, apples, pickling cucumbers, and canning tomatoes. We also offer farm fresh eggs. Please see our Pricing page
or Contact Us
for details or specific requests.
You may also be able to purchase additional produce at some weekly drop off points. Again, please Contact Us
for the details.
12) I am planning on growing a garden myself. How does a CSA share fit me?
a. Many of our customers currently have their own gardens. What they have found is that small gardens tend towards basic staple items due to lack of space. Any staples that are duplicated in the CSA share will provide more meals during the week. In addition to staples, a CSA share also provides items that are not usually found in small gardens, like herbs, berries, and variety of produce.
13) Can I join the CSA mid-season?
a. At this time we are not able to accept applications for membership once the season has begun. One of the benefits of a CSA to the farmer, is that it allows us to plan out our season ahead of time, which also means that we can't typically handle mid-season requests to join the CSA. Please Contact Us
to get on the waiting list for the next season. You can also inquire about specialty shares and to purchase select items we provide at our pick up locations.
14) Can I buy boxes individually or do I need to sign up for the whole season?
a. Due to the volume of boxes going to our members, we are not able to offer boxes for individual purchase at this time. Again, please feel free to inquire about specialty shares
and to purchase select items we provide at some of our pick up locations.
15) Can I get a refund once the season starts?
a. This is a touchy subject, and thankfully one we almost never have to deal with. The short answer is no, and there's a good reason why. A CSA membership benefits you in many ways, but it also benefits the farmer because we can establish an exact budget on which to plan the season. That means by the time the season starts, we've already allocated the funds from our membership fee to the seeds, supplies, equipment, and so forth that will allow that season to come to harvest. While we would sincerely like to accommodate special circumstances, providing a refund would jeopardize the season for all of our members. If you find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance mid-season, contact us to make us aware, and we will recommend that you arrange for someone to take over the remainder of your weekly shares. You will of course want to arrange payment details between yourselves, but we can help you determine the value of those remaining shares.