Frequently Asked Questions
What is a CSA? CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a partnership between a farm and a community of supporters – members sign up to support the farm throughout the season, and assume the risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer. The farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy supply of seasonal fresh food each week throughout the growing season.
What is a FULL PLATE MEMBERSHARE (CSA)? In the traditional CSA model, shareholders pay for a share of a farm’s produce at the beginning of the season and return to the farm each week to pick up a box of seasonal vegetables. There are hundreds of very successful vegetable CSA farms around the country, but the model doesn’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. Many customers that have tried the CSA have found that it’s too much produce for their family, too many exotic vegetables, and difficult to incorporate into a busy summer schedule.
The Full Plate CSA uses the same model, while addressing some of these concerns and maintaining a more balanced farm ecosystem. A Full Plate CSA share includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, and meat. Farm products in the share differ each week, providing the raw ingredients to make 1-2 meals, depending on what’s available on the farm. Shares always include meal recommendations and recipe ideas.
How does it work? Each week shareholders receive a box of local, seasonal food grown at Full Heart Farm. Depending on the weather and the time of year, the box may contain vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, and meat. Depending on the shareholder’s lifestyle, the ingredients can be used to make 1-2 family meals, or be incorporated into daily eating.
The Full Plate CSA is a great way to begin incorporating local, seasonal eating into a family’s diet. The average family in southeastern CT spends about $100 a week on groceries, and enjoys eating out at restaurants at least once a week. The Full Plate share allots 25% of the grocery budget to local eating (1-2 meals a week), while still allowing busy families to maintain their current lifestyle. The Full Plate CSA also offers a diverse selection of local foods (not just kale!), which suit a wide range of palates and cooking styles.
Where do we pick up the shares? MemberShare pick-ups will be available for Monday pick-up at the farm in Ledyard, CT and at Electric Boat in Groton on Fridays. Special summer pick-up will be available at the Ledyard Farmer's Market on Wednesdays. Deliveries can be arranged anywhere in the New London County area for groups larger than 10 boxes, but smaller groups are encouraged to inquire about drop-offs.
How do you determine the value of what is in a share? Values for items in a share box are based on average prices at CT farmers' markets, and other area markets. Often these prices are higher than what is being sold at the supermarket. This is because the cost of producing high-quality, small scale produce in CT is much higher than in other parts of the world. The taste and freshness, however, can't be beat!
What is an example of what a share might look like? You should go home with the ingredients for at least one full meal for a family of four. Almost every week the share will contain freshly harvested veggies, a bouquet of herbs, and more. We plan to include chicken and pork when available too.
What happens if there is a terrible storm this season or bad disease? As members of the farm community, shareholders assume the risk of farming. In cases of bad weather (drought, floods, storms), disease, pests, and other unexpected challenges, there may be shortages in farm products or a lack of diversity. The farmers will do their VERY BEST to deliver high-quality farm products in their full value each week, but this is not always possible. There are no refunds for missed shares (on the shareholder's part) or small shares (on the farmer's part).
Why should I take the risk of joining a CSA, instead of just purchasing food at the market? First off, the CSA/MemberShare program is one of the best ways to support local farmers! It provides them with the money they need upfront at the beginning of the season and spreads out some of the risk. Second, the MemberShare program is the best way to ensure your family has access to fresh, seasonal food each week. It's a great way to learn about what's in season, gather new recipes, and be part of a growing community. Third, sharing in the risk also means sharing in the bounty! When the farm is doing well, that's expressed in the shareholder boxes.
Are you organic? Full Heart Farm is not certified organic, but uses organic growing practices. Learn more HERE.