What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture refers to a group of people supporting a local farm, with the growers and eaters sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Members pay before the season begins and receive regular shares of produce from the farm.
Where and when do I pick up my vegetable package?
There are different pick up locations throughout central Toronto, Mississauga, Milton and Oakville. We will work out a mutually convenient location. For 2016, deliveries will be Wednesday night/Thursday. Timing of when your package will be available for pick up will be sent to you before the first pick up.
Why are deliveries every second week?
This is to leave room for people to buy other vegetables and eat out. The farm can't grow every vegetable, so there will be some vegetables that people have to source elsewhere. Also, many people eat out during the week and find it hard to cook enough at home to finish a package of vegetables that comes every week. With a delivery every second week, there's more flexibility for both eaters and the farm, so the farm delivers to two different groups, one week to the suburbs and the other week to central Toronto.
How do I remember that it's my delivery week?
You will be emailed on the Tuesday of your delivery week to remind you of the delivery and let you know what produce to expect that week.
What if I forget to pick up my package?
If you haven't picked up your package from the vegetable pick up location by 10 pm on your delivery day, your vegetables will go to the location host.
What if I'm away on vacation?
You can arrange for someone else to pick up your vegetables that week and let them enjoy vegetables fresh from the farm.
Do I get to pick the vegetables in my package?
In general, no. The package consists of whatever vegetables are available to harvest from the field that week. However, if there's a vegetable that you are allergic to or definitely cannot eat, we can accommodate you.
When can I visit the farm?
You can visit whenever we can arrange a mutually convenient time, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Weekends are usually best, though Monday/Friday are fine too. Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday are harvest & delivery days, so no visits then. The farm also hosts a yearly Open House on the Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend each year (September 4, 2016) from 1 to 10 pm. Weather permitting, a movie is usually shown on/in the barn after dusk.
Why aren't you certified organic?
At the current scale of the farm, the cost to certify (~$400/year just for the inspection) is prohibitive. Also, all the farm's produce is going directly to members, who are all welcome to visit the farm to see how the farming is done, so there's no need to build trust via certification. Certification is definitely necessary for produce that is wholesaled to retailers and/or crosses provincial boundaries.
How are you different from other organic box delivery programs?
Everything in your Black Sheep Farm vegetable box is grown at Black Sheep Farm. If you want to join a vegetable box program and support a farmer directly, then you should make sure you pick one from a farm. Most box programs buy in from different farms, locally and internationally, or large vegetable distributors, and are not run by farmers themselves. Black Sheep Farm's vegetable box is a CSA program, so you are directly supporting the farm and Brenda, its farmer.
What's in a typical vegetable box/bag?
While this can vary considerably from season to season, to give you an idea of what to expect, early on, your package might have 1-1.5 lbs of salad greens/spinach/beet greens/chard, 1 lb sugar snap peas, a bunch of salad turnips and garlic scapes. Mid-season, you could get 1-2 lbs fresh beans, 2-3 zucchini squash, 1-2 lbs cucumbers, 1-3 lbs carrots/beets, 1 lb tomatoes. At the end of the season, you could get a pie pumpkin, winter squash, 2 lbs potatoes, 2 lbs carrots/beets, 1/2 lb stir fry greens, spring onions and fennel. This is the minimum that I aim for, so an abundant year would have extra in the packages.