Frequently Asked Questions
- How often will I receive my vegetables?
- Where will I pick up my share?
- What is in a share?
- Are there work requirements?
- What is involved with the Working Share?
- Who do I make my check payable to?
- Do you offer Split Shares?
- Did your prices increase from last year?
- So, why did the share price increase this year?
- How does the price for a share at Grindstone Farm compare to retail?
- Why are the various CSA’s priced differently?
How often will I receive my vegetables?
Once a week for all shares:
Early Bird and Winter Share deliveries will be on Thursday
Full Season and Working Share deliveries will be on Tuesday and Thursday
Where will I pick up my share?
Designated group delivery sites located in the greater Syracuse area (Syracuse, Liverpool, Baldwinsville, DeWitt, Manlius, Fayetteville, Watertown, and Oswego). Pick ups are Tuesdays or Thursdays typically between 5 and 7 PM. Group assignments are based on location and will be organized based on your listed address. Confirmations on delivery group assignments will be sent out a couple of weeks prior to the start of the season.
What is in a share?
Enough produce to supplement the weekly food needs of a family of four on a normal diet or two people eating a primarily vegetarian diet. If this exceeds your food needs, consider splitting a share with a neighbor or friends. We do not offer half shares, however there is a networking space on a Discussions tab on the CSA-CNY Facebook site, where you can list and find share-mates.
Examples of just Some of the Produce grown for you includes:
Early Season: asparagus, herbs, variety of lettuce, spinach, scallions, Swiss chard, specialty greens, sprouts, radish, broccoli, kale, spinach,
Mid Season: herbs, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, garlic scapes, green, dragon tongue and wax beans, hot and sweet peppers, radishes, snap peas, bunching onions, variety of lettuce, fennel, turnips, tomatoes, specialty greens
Late Season: beets, celery, eggplant, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, tomatoes, turnips, winter squash, garlic, cauliflower, collards, variety of lettuce, Swiss Chard, spinach, corn, celeriac, carrots, specialty greens
The actual quantity and variety of delivered produce depends on growing conditions. Nature has a way of switching gears and there will be times when some crops will not fair well and others will do better than expected. As a result, there will be some variability throughout the growing and harvest seasons.
Are there work requirements?
Four hours during the season at events, sign ups, the farm, childcare, or other creative activities that promote the local and organic food movements and CSA. Members are also expected to help at your group delivery site.
What is involved with the Working Share?
A commitment of 20 hours of farm work throughout the growing season. The work is physically strenuous and requires moderate stamina. Children requiring supervision are asked to stay home. You must submit an application, which will be reviewed. Working Share discount will be reimbursed at the end of the season when working hours have been completed.
Who do I make my check payable to?
All checks should be payable to CSA-CNY.
Do you offer Split Shares?
We encourage folks to find a friend or neighbor to split a share with- we have seen folks divide shares in half each week or alternate on an A/B schedule. The farm does not officially pair folks together and we do not sell half shares. We have posted an area, where folks interested in splitting shares can network and find each other on one of the Discussion notes on Facebook. (If you’re not friends with Grindstone Farm yet, add us as a friend!) When signing up for a share- one person must register for the share and make the payment online or send in a check for the complete share amount. The division of the cost of the share is sorted out amongst the sharing members.
Did your prices increase from last year?
No. We have not increased our prices in two years. We recognize that times are tough and strive to keep our prices as low as possible.
Below is a letter we sent out to members, explaining our last price increases.
Dear Partners in Community Supported Agriculture,
We thought we would take this opportunity to explain this year’s price increase of shares. We value all our past shareholders and appreciate having the opportunity to let you know what goes into raising your food.
To begin, we’d like to paraphrase Wendell Berry, the philosopher/farmer/poet, who has pointed out that, “Eating is an agricultural act.” Simply put, this means that whatever we decide to eat, results in direct consequences at the farm level that effects the environment, your family’s health, open space, food security, genetic diversity, and the viability and sustainability of farms themselves. Our eating choices, whether we want to be responsible for them or not, form one of the biggest overall influences on the planet. Agriculture is the biggest land use in the world, one of the biggest users of water, one of the largest polluters and affects all people directly because food is essential to human life. There is no way around it, what we eat always has a positive or negative impact on the world. However, don’t lose your appetite yet. That’s where small CSA farms like Grindstone Farm fit in. We strive to provide a positive alternative to mainstream agriculture.
Our vision is to have a relationship with “eaters” who are committed to buying, eating, and enjoying food that is nutritious, safe, and flavorful which has been growing in ways that protect and enhance our environment, provides fair compensation for farmers and farm workers and provides a connection to the land for the enjoyment of many.
So, Why did the share price increase this year?
Thanks for asking. The short answer is because the previous price was not adequate to cover the increasing costs of production that pays us an income that allows us to continue for us to do this work. We are faced with all the usual options like cutting quality, cutting quantity, cutting varieties offered, cutting corners or quitting farming all together.
Our mission has always been to provide a real food alternative that emphasizes qualities like freshness, variety, certified organic, flavor, nutrition, sustainability and social justice. We produce a handcrafted product that we believe is superior both in quality as well as in process. And while we are skilled farm managers and have invested in thousands and thousands of dollars in labor saving equipment to make us efficient in a modern sense, most processes still require a lot of hand labor. We pay our hourly farm workers above a minimum wage (good by agricultural standards but still too low in our opinion). We strive to offer a living wage with traditional benefits as part of our mission to be an economically fair and sustainable farm.
How does the price for a share at Grindstone Farm compare to retail?
Historically, our shareholders have always gotten more food for their dollar by participation in our CSA program, than if they bought the same organic produce at retail price in a grocery store. We estimate an average of about 20% savings between the extra food members receive during a bountiful harvest and the 10% discount, we give CSA members on their share vegetables as we cost out weekly shares. When comparing our price to conventional produce at local grocers, you will find their organic produce to be much higher in price and much lower in quality.
Why are the various CSA’s priced differently?
There are many reasons that CSA pricing varies. One of the main reasons is that all CSA shares are not created equally. Each CSA is unique in its goals and philosophy and every CSA does not provide the same offering. Most CSA’s do not provide the overall variety of produce that we do nor do they provide the number of labor intensive specialties like asparagus, baby lettuce salad mix and microgreens, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, peas, beans, and herbs. These crops take considerably more management and labor to produce than does a standard head of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and kale or example. Some CSA’s by design give large quantities of a limited number of varieties each week. This is much less management and less labor intensive than our approach, which is to give as much variety in a season as possible. For the most part, you will see a range of 6-9 varieties of produce each week in our shares. Additional produce and products are also available from our online Virtual Farm Market. We strive to provide favorites like lettuce, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, corn, and blueberries for as many weeks as possible. To our knowledge, we may be the only CSA to provide an extensive harvest list for the season to help you in knowing what we intend to produce. As a farmer this raises the stakes considerably.
Minimum Work Requirement and Maximum Convenience
Many CSA’s require shareholders to actively work on the farm, do administrative work, recruit new shareholders and deliver the produce into town. This definitely lowers the cost for those farms, however we have learned through our biannual feedback questionairres from shareholders, that most members prefer not to have major work requirements. So we have kept work requirements to a minimum and offer a Working Share program specifically for those members who wish to participate in growing on the farm with us. The cost per share includes the added expense of the responsibility and the costs for organizing and delivering your shares conveniently to you. For added convenience, we offer and manage an online Virtual Farmers Market, where you are conveniently able to browse and order local and certified organic foods right from your home or office and have it delivered to you, along with your CSA share on your next regular CSA pick up day.
Premium Quality Food
We are one of the very few CSA farms in the area that have on-farm refrigeration and delivery trucks that allows us to provide a superior product that will maintain its freshness longer. Agricultural infrastructure, that has taken decades to achieve, such as effective irrigation equipment, field machinery and tools also gives us an edge to growing and delivering quality food to you and your family.
Third Party Certified
Grindstone Farm is one of the only local CSA’s to be USDA Certified Organic though NOFA-NY, which means that we pay an independent, licensed certifying agency to inspect our farm, review our records and approve our organic methods. The several thousands of dollars in managing and applying for this certification, upholds our mission to be able to assure our customers that we are accountable to the highest organic standards
Returning the Goods
We offer a very special Internship program for people interested in food production and agriculture and a unique, intensive Mentorship program for new farmers. We offer support, guidance and education through direct-hands on experience and work on the farm. Because community is so important to us, we are also very supportive and active in our local and state communities through New York Farm Bureau, NOFA-NY and many other local food and agriculture groups and businesses.
We hope that this has been informative, and as always, feel free to call or email us with any other questions or concerns. Katie- 315-298-4139 (farm) or 435-260-9219 (cell) or drop her an email at email@example.com
Thanks for your continued support and participation.
Your family farmers,
Dick, Katie, and the Grindstone Team
**Thanks to Red Cardinal Farm for much of the information provided about discussing CSA price increases.