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Michaela Farm CSA: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Michaela Farm's Mission:
Michaela Farm, embodying the Franciscan spirit, nurtures sustainable relationships among land, plants, animals and humans, and utilizes farm resources to fulfill its goals.

 

ABOUT US: Frequently Asked Questions
What makes your CSA different from farmers' markets and grocery stores?

1.  We use natural growing practices without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemically based pesticides.

2.  Our farm practices build the soil and increase fertility.  We take care of the earth with the future in mind.

3.  We want to connect with YOU.  Join our CSA and you can see exactly where your produce comes from--take a tour, or even volunteer.

4.  We'd also like to get to know your personally and receive your input on what sorts of veggies we are growing here.  We'll try anything once.

5.  Supporting our farm buys more than just a share of veggies; your subscription supports local food, local businesses, and the mission and work of the Sisters of St. Francis.

6.  We'll let you know in a weekly newsletter just what to do with the produce in your box, including storage tips and cooking tips.  Check your email box.

7.  When you pick up your share, you can rest assured that your produce is fresh and not driven across the country before it comes to your kitchen.

8.  CSA members are treated with special respect!  Because you are willing to invest in the farm, we are reducing prices for you.  All CSA members receive 10% off any farm store produce in the upper farm store.  This does not include beef, eggs or honey in the lower farm store.

What sorts of farming methods do you use?

We raise all our produce on land that has been on the farm for over 100 years.  Using crop rotation, floating row covers and companion planting, we manage the insects and weeds on our farm without resorting to synthetic pesticides or herbicides.  On occasion we will spray an organically certified product to protect our vegetables from insects, when necessary to save the crop.  We maintain fertility in our gardens through the use of cover crops, crop rotation, and the addition of organic materials such as straw and manure from our cows.  Chickens also contribute to the fertility of soil when we keep them in portions of the gardens in the summer months.  In the greenhouse we may add organically certified trace minerals (Azomite) to some of our heavier feeding plants.  We also fertilize all our transplants bi-weekly with an organically certified fish emulsion.  Work in the garden is accomplished mostly by trained employees of the farm.

 

Where and when to pick up my share? 

Pickup is in the upstairs of the big barn at Michaela Farm.  There are two pick up days: Tuesday and Friday.  Parking is available in front of the barn.  Please don't go past the barn.  These are access roads.

 

What will the pickup look like?

Each member will choose a day to pick up, either Tuesday or Friday, and will consistently come on that day for the entire season.  Each member will bring his/her own bags in which to pack the produce.  Each week you will pick up between 6-10 items depending on the harvest.  The amount of people a single share will feed will depend upon the individual's veggie consumption.  If you really like to cook veggies at home, this share will be great for 1-2 people.  If vegetables are more of a side-item in your home, the share could feed a family of four. Site-managers will be on hand to answer questions and check in members as they arrive.  Produce will be put on tables with a list presented at the site of what exactly each subscriber should take.  Eggs and beef will be kept in coolers with the site-managers and will be given to those subscribers who signed up for those shares.

 

What if I can't pick up my share?

Members are expected to come on the same day to pick up every week.  If you must change your pick-up day, please call the office at (812) 933-0661 or send us an email at michaelafarm@oldenburgosf.com by 9:00 a.m. Monday morning of the week you need to change pick-up days.  Please let us know if this change will be for just one week or the rest of the season.  You may send anyone to pick up your share if your are unable to make it to the pick-up.  If you notify us 24 hours in advance (via phone or email) we can pack your share for you and leave it in the barn for you to pick up after the pick-up is closed.  Drop your bags off with us in advance, labeled with your name to be sure no one mistakenly takes your share.

 

What if I miss my pickup and do not make alternate arrangements?

If you miss the pick-up, your share will be donated.  You will not be credited that amount.

 

What types of vegetables can I expect in a season?

Beans-several varieties, beets-several varieties, broccoli, broccoli raab, brussel sprouts, cabbage, califlower, celeriac, collards, corn, cucumbers, celery, egplant, garlic, greens-several varieties, herbs-a great variety, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce-several varieties, okra, onions-several varieties, pac choi, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, spinach, squash-several varieties, tomatoes-several varieties, turnips, watermelon

We cannot promise to have all of these, but they are representative of the crops we are planning for the year.  Crops are highly subject to weather conditions. While we don't expect to meet all of your produce needs, we plan to provide the best quality produce you can find in the area.

 

Is the food already cleaned?

Much of the produce you will receive has been washed.  What isn't dunked in water is wiped with a clean dry or damp towel, or, in the case of dry goods like onions, potatoes and garlic, cured.  We do however, expect that you will wash your produce after taking it home with you, as you would with any produce you've bought. 

 

My greens have some bug holes; can I eat those?

Because our farm forgoes the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides in our fields, you may find that the produce you receive from us has more evidence of bugs in the field that what you might find in the commercial grocery store.  These holes are OK and do not make the greens inedible.  We work to give you the best quality produce possible and hope the fresh, pesticide-free produce outweighs the potential of bug damage on produce.

 

What sorts of things do you do to ensure food safety?

All garden employees have had training in on-farm health and safety standards.  Full-time garden employees have had Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) training with the local extension office in order to learn and understand the most recent advice on how to maintain a high level of safety at the farm.  We have on file a Health and Safety Manual that lists all of the ways and means by which we keep Michaela Farm as safe as possible.  Please contact us if you wish to have a copy e-mailed to your for your perusal.

 

Can I split my share?

If you are splitting a share, then you can alternate pickup weeks, meet at the farm and pick up together, or one of you can pick up the share and split it later.  It is up to you to decide with your share partner.  Please pick up the share all at once. 

 

How do you use my subscription payment?

We see your payment for your share as an investment in the farm's future.  Traditionally, CSAs (Community Sponsored Agriculture) were established to help spread the risk and bounty of a farm in a community.  Share money is received in the beginning of the season when our costs are high for seed and other garden inputs.  As the season progresses, CSA subscribers share in the real joys and pains of farming: receiving an abundance of produce when conditions are good, and few or none of those crops that fail because of a variety of weather conditions, pests and other factors.  We honor the trust that you have in us when you subscribe to our CSA and do our best to give you the best quality produce we can.  However, we cannot and will not return your investment in the farm because of crop failure.  Under normal circumstances, we experience 1-2 crop failures a year.  We will do our best to fill your boxes so that you receive the same value of produce for which you paid in the beginning of the season.  A sustainable and productive farm is one that is connected with its community.  We cannot stand alone without your help and support.

 

How do I sign up?

To sign up, fill out the CSA Membership Agreement and pay for your subscription.  Click here for the agreement.

To pay online:  Click on the tab at the top of this page called "Make Donation".  This is the donation page on the Sisters of St. Francis website.  Click on "Donate online" and fill in the form.  In the gift amount box, select "Other" and enter the amount due for your subscription.  In the "Use My Gift For" box, be sure to select "Michaela Farm."  Important:  If you do not select Michaela Farm, your CSA payment will be received as a donation to the Sisters of St. Francis instead of a payment for your share.  Finally, enter your payment information and submit.

If paying by mail:  You can make your check or money order out to Michaela Farm and be sure the envelope is postmarked by the payment cut-off date to lock-in lower rate shares.

Our address is:
Michaela Farm
P.O. Box 100
Oldenburg, IN  47036

 

Questions?  Call the office at (812) 933-0661 and we can personally answer your questions and, if you wish, enroll you in the CSA.