CSA Member HandbookAs a member of Full Harvest Farm, LLC’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) family, we want you to
know about our CSA program and how we run it.
The following information describes:
- what you can expect during the season,
- produce in your box,
- how our pickup sites work,
- your rights and responsibilities within our CSA,
- how to solve those problems that do occur (no matter how much we try to prevent them).
Full Harvest Farm’s CSA program runs for 20 weeks, from June to November. Shares are packed Wednesday morning and delivered on Wednesday afternoon so you get your food as quickly as possible. Most of our members choose to receive a weekly box of produce, others choose delivery every other week.
Our goal is to provide you with a variety of fresh, seasonal, USDA certified organic produce, all of which comes from our farm. To this end, we grow 50+ kinds of vegetables throughout the season—lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, sweet corn, peppers, etc.—and that’s not counting the different cultivars of these. Take tomato cultivars, for instance: Black Krim, Old German, Amish Paste, Celebrity, Early Girl, Juliet, Red Grape, Sweet Million, Sungold, Sunrise Bumble Bee, Yellow Mini, to name several. Some vegetables we plant only once, such as Brussels sprouts, peppers, winter squash, because it takes them so long to mature. Others we plant successively throughout the season so we have them often: lettuce, spinach, broccoli. Your CSA boxes will include a wide variety of produce, and likely some things you may not normally eat: Swiss chard, kale, orange beets, yellow carrots, fennel, rutabagas, white turnips, etc. Variety is the spice of life.
It is also our goal to educate you about the food in your box. Our weekly newsletters will list what‘s in the
boxes that week, then all the New Stuff will be underneath. Each new item will be explained, nutritional details
given, storage information, and at least one recipe that uses it.
As part of our educational goal, we want to show you that even imperfect produce is perfectly edible. Think of our farm as if it were your own garden, the plants as if they were raised from seed and planted with your own hands. When your green beans produce a few crooked ones among the straight, you don’t throw them on the ground, you eat them, firstly because you like green beans, secondly because you planted, watered, weeded and picked them with your own hands and know how much work that is. Lastly, you prove to yourself that the crooked beans taste just as good as the straight ones. So, when you get tomatoes that are a bit dented because they grew next to a branch, or a pepper that makes a right turn because it grew too close to the ground, you remain unfazed, because now you know that tomato and that pepper will taste just as good as one that is perfectly formed. Mother Nature does not give us 100% perfect vegetables, farmers sort what Mother Nature gives us into categories. We give you more categories than you’ll find in the supermarket because there is nothing wrong with some of them. Waste not, want not.
The produce in your box:
We plan to put about 8-9 different items in our CSA boxes each week. We don’t want to overwhelm you with too much variety, or too much of any kind of vegetable. When the next box arrives, the previous one will have been eaten, ideally. In the real world, that doesn’t always happen, so be prepared to freeze or share extra items.
Most of the produce in your box has been washed to remove the worst of the dirt, and keep it fresh, like lettuce, spinach, chard, etc. Some may not be washed at all: potatoes, garlic, storage carrots. It is up to you to wash your produce before eating it, and store it properly for maximum shelf life.
Most vegetables should go into a plastic bag and into your refrigerator ASAP—but not all. We give you tips on storage in the weekly newsletters.
It also helps to pick up your CSA box during regular pickup site hours, and get it home ASAP, especially if it’s very hot or very cold outside.
If you feel that any of the items you receive are not lasting a reasonable amount of time, please contact us. We can help with storage tips, and even replacement, if necessary. We want you to be happy with your produce.
Ordering Extra Produce: We often have extra vegetables available for you to order, like green beans,
peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, etc. We’ll let you know via our weekly newsletter or special email message,
what we have, what it costs, what date you must place your order by, when we can deliver and in what quantities you may need to order (Ex: 5 lbs of
green beans for $15.00).
Extra Produce like this is posted in the ECommerce area of the Member Assembler CSA software. Ordering is easy: sign into your M.A. account and follow the steps to order what you want.
Your order will be delivered to your pickup site in a separate box or bag labelled with your name. We usually place these in the center of the table, near the Choice Box.
To pay, make a check out to Full Harvest Farm, LLC, and snail mail it to the farm. Our address is at the top of every newsletter. Other options are Dwolla, or Popmoney. Please, never leave a check or cash with your site manager: handling money is not part of their job description. We like to keep all financial arrangements directly between the member and the farm.
You may also order extra vegetables that we don’t specify. If we have it, we’ll send it along. To place an order like this, please email the farm at: email@example.com. Please include your name, your pickup site, the produce you want and amounts by the pound/bunch/piece—if you know. Use the produce in your box as a guide. Example: beets are bunched, potatoes come by the pound, lettuce by the head, etc. If you don’t know, ask. We’ll need to have your order by Monday, noon, so we have time to pick it and deliver that Wednesday.
The Pickup Site: Each site is located under a roof out of the sun and rain. Most are private homes, some are businesses or churches. Each one is unique and requires a little different approach. We ask that you treat your pickup site with respect and consideration. By and large, CSA members tend to be respectful and considerate types, and we have rarely had any complaints.
It’s possible that no one will be at your pickup site when you get there, so take a minute to look the area over, spot the boxes, the signs, the newsletters, the Choice Box, the clipboard with the signin sheet attached. Once you’ve taken a good look around, most of your questions will be answered.
The specific details of your pickup site were emailed to you when you signed up. You’re bound to need the name and phone number of your site manager at some point, not to mention that all-important address, so please save these details so you can refer to them when needed. Most members create a folder in their email accounts and name it something like "CSA info 2018" or something similar. If you ever lose your pickup site information, just email the farm and we will resend your confirmation message that includes all those details.
Directions: Type in the site address on MapQuest, Google Maps or a similar map or GPS program. Altho these map programs are usually correct, I recommend calling your site manager directly to confirm the location, just in case. For example, MapQuest has placed our farm in 4 different locations on Cty. S in the 12 years we’ve been here, Yahoo! Maps moved us up and down Cty. S for years but recently corrected itself (after 6 mislocation reports over 5 years), and Google Maps accurately places us (at this time) at the corner of Cty. S and Crooked Rd. Many GPS programs can not find our farm, or they direct you into the next county. Nice scenery tho.
Signing in: A signin sheet is attached to a clipboard and placed in a convenient location at every pickup site, usually on a table. They list everyone who is getting a box that week, and the kind of Share they’ve purchased. Please initial the space to the right of your name. Do your best to keep your initials within the space allotted, as this makes it easier for the site manager to tell who has and who has not gotten a box. If your name is not on the signin sheet, you do not get a box that week. All the site managers check this sheet every Wednesday evening. If you don’t initial and there’s an unclaimed box at your site, you’ll probably get a phonecall from your manager wondering if it's yours.
The Right Box: Know what size box you’ve purchased. All of the pickup sites have signs that indicate where the Couple boxes are and where the Family boxes are. We keep those signs in the same spot from week to week. It’s very important that you pick up the correctly-sized box. Here’s how you tell:
- The Couple box is in a 5/9 bu. (bushel), white, wax box with light blue lettering. It says “Fresh Vegetables” on the long side and is short and wide.
- The Every-Other-Week (EOW) Couple box is in a 5/9 bu., white, wax box with light blue lettering. EOW boxes will be stacked with the weekly Couple boxes.
- The Family box is in a 3⁄4 bu. (bushel), white, wax box with white, green and red lettering that says “Farm Fresh Vegetables” and “Quality Produce” on the long side and includes a picture of vegetables. It is tall and narrow.
The Wrong Box: Occasionally, someone leaves with the wrong-sized box. This usually occurs on the first day when folks are new to the program and/or the pickup site, or when someone new is picking up the box. If you’ve paid the extra money for that Family box, you sure don’t want to take a Couple box home. Or, if you’re an EOW member who comes on the wrong week, you’ll be leaving with someone else’s box, someone who has been looking forward to that box for 2 weeks, and isn’t scheduled to get another for 2 more.
If you forget, the signin sheet details which Share you’ve purchased, so look there as a reference. Or, if someone else is picking up your box and needs a reminder. It’s important to know this information for yourself, because many of the site managers come to the pickup site after work, and they may not be there when you are.
If you’re an EOW member, you’ll choose to receive your EOW box on Odd or Even weeks. We highly recommend you write down the dates you’ve chosen on your calendar, Smartphone, iPad, etc. so you come on the correct day. If you come on the wrong Wednesday, you won’t find your name on the signin sheet.
If your box is not at the pickup site, or the wrong sized box is all there is, call Terry or Chuck at the Farm immediately (262 673-6760): we may be able to find your missing box. If we can’t, we’ll credit you for it, or for extra vegetables, or send you more with next week’s box. EOW members: along with the options above, we’ll schedule, if possible, a delivery for the next week, or schedule a double box sometime in the future. Remember, phone Terry and your site manager immediately so we can sort it out and get you and the other member your proper-sized boxes. A phonecall will get you a much faster response to a problem that needs to be solved quickly. Thank you for your help on this one.
Wax Box Return: Please bring back your empty wax box from the week before when you come to pick up next week’s box. Or, be “green” instead and bring a few bags along to unload your produce into. Some sites will even put out extra plastic bags for you. Then, you can unfold your wax box and leave it behind at the pickup site.
It is your responsibility to unfold the CSA box so it lies flat and can be easily stored for pickup the next week. In 2013, our talented, Waukesha pickup site manager, Wendy, shot a short video with her eldest daughter Madeleine, showing how to unfold our wax boxes.
It’s quick and easy to do. Here are written instructions: flip the opened box over, place your hand on the center
edge of the short side of the box and look for the crease: it’s about halfway from your hand and the short edge
of the box. Slide towards the short edge of the box: the section will bend upwards along its crease and the ends
should slip out of their holes, freeing the short side completely. Do the same to the other short side. Straighten
all the sections, top and bottom, enough so that the box can fold naturally along its vertical corners. Most
pickup sites have a large box you can put your unfolded wax box into for storage. If you can unfold your box
without tearing any of the tabs or holes, you’ll be a hero to the packing crew.
If unripped and clean, we can reuse these boxes several times in the course of the season. Food grade wax boxes cost about $1.50+ per box. Yes, they do. We save money and trees by recycling these.
Plastic pints and quarts: We often give you produce in pints or quarts. They are not very substantial, so crack or break easily and are not readily reusable. If you choose to return these to your pickup site, we will bring them back to the farm, wash those that are in good shape or throw away those that aren’t. Please do not bring any other plastic containers to your pickup site.
Choice Box: Every site will have what we like to call a “Choice” box. This box is used for members to “share” any vegetables they don’t want. Sometimes, the farm will bring extra, or not-quite-perfect vegetables for members who wish to take some more, and those will also be found in the “Choice” box. Help yourself!
Newsletters: I email a link to the newsletter to everyone on Tuesday evening. This link will be viable for one week, then it will be deleted to make way for the link to the next newsletter. (The newsletter might
arrive early Wednesday morning, depending on the vagaries of email.) Sometime after Tuesday, newsletters will be posted on our website: http://www.fullharvestfarm.com .
If you have the kind of email that might file messages from the farm into your Spam or Trash folder, please take whatever steps necessary to ensure that our emails go into your Inbox.
If your email address changes, please update it in your CSA account or let us know ASAP. We send out emails to our CSA members as a group thru Member Assembler/Small Farm Central, so if you see either of these in the "From" area, you'll know it's okay. Small Farm Central never shares email addresses (and neither do we).
Terry writes the newsletter, and likes to include recipes and stories from CSA members. Last year, her request for kale recipes resulted in 10, delicious ones copied from a member’s magazine. Other members are creative cooks who develop recipes on their own and generously share them with us. Parents often tell stories about how their children now eat vegetables they’d never touch before—we really love those! Sometimes, we even get pictures, like the little tyke in his carseat with a half-eaten pear in each hand! With your permission, we add these items to our newsletter.
Vacations: Simply sign into Member Assembler and enter a Vacation Hold. On that page, you have the option of scheduling an extra box for delivery on a week you choose. You must do this by the Sunday before that week’s delivery. Or, email Terry to credit your Member Assembler account for the cost of that week’s box so you can order extra vegetables later. If you prefer, you can donate your box to the Women's Shelter in Racine, or Cops for Kids.
We’ve found that arranging for a friend to use your box when you can’t makes a nice gift and lets someone else experience fresh, organic vegetables for themselves. Please give your substitute specific instructions on the size of box they should pick up, where it’s located at the site, where to look on the signin sheet to double-check the size, and where to initial, as well as the name and phone number of your site manager. Also, please email your site manager with the name of your substitute, the date(s) they’ll be picking up your box, and the substitute’s phone number. This way, if there’s a box mixup, the site manager has a name and phone number to use for verification. The name and phone number is kept private.
Late Pickup: It is your responsibility to get your box on Wednesday, during the pickup hours. If you work late and must get your box outside of the established pickup hours, contact your site manager directly (not the farm) to work out just when you will arrive and by what time they should assume you’re not coming. Most site managers will be able to accommodate your schedule as long as they know what you need.
On those rare occasions when you have a conflict, an emergency, etc., and can’t come for your box, please contact your site manager ASAP to arrange a time for you to pick it up. Your manager will put your box aside, under cover, but probably not refrigerated, for 24 hours, so you have time to get it. If you do not contact your site manager by 7pm on Thursday, you forfeit your box and the manager can do what they like with it. When you pick your produce up late, neither the site manager, nor the farm, guarantees the quality of your vegetables.
Change of Pickup Site: If you find that a different pickup site works better for you than the one you first
chose, or you move, you may certainly switch sites. You’ll know within the first few boxes whether the site is a
good choice. If you want to make a permanent change, email the farm with your decision so Terry can make
this change in Member Assembler. The software does not allow members to make permanent changes of this
Member Assembler does allow temporary changes of pickup site. This is welcome news to many members. The M.A. software will let you change for up to 5 weeks in a row, but no longer. It will ask you to set a start date and end date for the change, which you must do. We print a fresh signin sheet every week for each pickup site, so all you have to remember is to go to the new site to get your box that week.
Problems: We want you to be satisfied with our produce, your pickup site and our CSA program in general. If you have any problems with your box, the produce, the pickup site, etc., let us know ASAP. Altho we do our best to minimize them, mistakes sometimes occur. When they do, we want to correct them. We can give you more produce the next week, a credit to use for extra produce, or find another solution that satisfies everyone. This is how we keep you happy when you’ve received an overripe melon, or a perfect-looking tomato that’s black inside. But, we can’t fix it if we don’t know it’s broken. And we want to fix it.
Contacting the Farm: When you contact the farm by phone or email, please identify yourself with your first and last name, and pickup site. Ex: “Susan Smith from the Wauwatosa Central pickup site” or “Gary White, picking up in Oconomowoc.” If your communication has to do with your box, please tell us what size box you’ve purchased. This helps us efficiently fulfill your requests, solve your problem, and generally minimize mistakes. We have over 300 members, so trying to figure out who “Jo” is, at “firstname.lastname@example.org”, or “John” who called to report a missing Couple box but left no phone number, presents a bit of a challenge to a harried farmer. Many thanks.
Here is our contact information:
Terry Vlossak or Chuck Frase
Full Harvest Farm, LLC
7112 County Rd. S
Hartford, WI 53027
Land line: 262 673-6760
Reminder: If you haven’t already done so, please create a folder in your email program for CSA messages. Call it “Full Harvest CSA” or something similar. Save all communications from the farm to this folder. That way, everything will be easier to find should you wonder just when Farm Day is, or which newsletter that great coleslaw recipe was in.
Work Days take place on certain Sunday afternoons. We invite CSA members to volunteer to help out on the farm with specific tasks. Work Days usually start around 1pm and go for 4 hours, or until we’re done. Sometimes we follow this with a potluck supper. We’ll email you with an announcement about the date, the task, start time, equipment or items to bring. Those usually include gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle and possibly a tool or 2 (labeled with your name, of course). If you can come, please reply with your name, the number of people in your party, and whether you’ll be attending the potluck. We appreciate your help around the farm, and you get a chance to see our operation and have a hand in how your food is grown. Thank you!
We welcome your opinions and suggestions on how we can do this better.
Thanks! Here’s to another successful year!