CSA – What Does It Mean?

CSA = Community Supported Agriculture

CSA originated as a way for a community of people to join a farmer in the risks of production in order to ensure the survival of their local farm and to give themselves access to freshly harvested, diverse vegetables (and fruits, dairy, meats, etc, depending on the farm). At Upswing Farm, in exchange for your commitment, we aim to give you about 20% more in vegetable value than what you paid for.

Without our CSA members our farm would not exist. We love all of our customers, even if they don’t join our CSA, but the reality is, farming is expensive and risky, and without a group of dedicated customers willing to enjoy the bounty of the farm, whatever it might be, I’m sure we could not afford to stay in business.

In our current model, CSA members can select the seasons they would like to participate (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter).  They can then pay in full or select a payment plan.  We live on a tight budget and understand that payment plans can go a long way to make it possible for all families to participate in a CSA share.  Click Here to learn more about our seasons and pricing.

The majority of farm expenses come in the first half of the year, before we have harvested anything to sell.  We purchase seeds, potting soil, fertilizer, seedling trays, and other field supplies.  We maintain our equipment.  We pay our crew.

We don’t pay ourselves (we usually pay ourselves starting in July, hence the tight budget). We utilize the CSA income to make sure we can pay for our operating costs until we start bringing in additional revenue from the farm stand and the Ashland Farmers Market.

CSA Pick Up is at the faimg_1906rm, 28 South St, Ashland, right by the boat ramp entrance to the Ashland Reservoir.  We have a small wagon farm stand where we display all the produce and a staff member or volunteer there to help.  We put signs in front of all the produce letting our CSA members know what is in the share.  For example, there will be a bin of carrots, and the sign will say “CSA: Take one bunch of carrots”.  Sometimes we will have choices, like “mix and match, zucchini, potatoes, onions and cucumbers: 5 pounds”. Or “choose one bunch: kale or swiss chard”.

We try to have a trade bin every week where members can leave an item they don’t want in exchange for another item in the bin.

Our members get emails once a week, with updates about the farm and lots of recipe ideas for how to use all the amazing, fresh vegetables they will pick up once/week (pick ups are less frequent in Fall and Winter).

If it is a great growing season, members sometimes receive more than the 20% extra in value, if it is a terrible growing season they might not receive the full 20%.  We plant at least 25% more than what we need for our CSA, farm stand and farmers market.  Because we use organic methods, and because farming is so weather dependent, we can’t count on everything we plant actually being harvested and sold/distributed. Poor weather, pests, disease and other factors can affect individual crops.  Luckily we plant over 60 varieties of vegetables and many successions of those vegetables (we plant lettuce 15-20 times every year) to make sure no matter what the weather we have a nice variety of fresh produce for the CSA.

We are so grateful to have a core group of excellent CSA members.  We can’t wait to include more members of our community!

Visit our CSA page to learn more and register!

Fall Farmstand Lights

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