1. What is Community Supported Agriculture?
What started on two farms in 1986 has become a nationwide movement that brings farmers and consumers closer together, with several thousand Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms feeding over 150,000 people in the United States alone. CSA is an exciting alternative to how you usually purchase food. At its most basic, it is a vegetable subscription service for people who like to eat seasonal produce fresh from the farm. It can also facilitate a meaningful relationship between farmer, food, and you and your family.
2. Benefits of CSA
"Share members" find adventure in eating seasonally, are reconnected to the land that feeds them and can find community in the farm and with other members. Eating local means eating fresh - produce will taste better, last longer, and be more healthful. Eating local also means supporting farms that care for local land and water, and spending your food dollars in your local economy.
When you join CSA you get the first pick of the crops from our fields each week, a mix of vegetables, fruit and herbs - many familiar and some new to you. We prepare these shares for you to take home. In return, you support us by paying for your produce in advance. Your early commitment is the seed money with which we start our season and gives us an extended "farm family" for which we are farming for the year. This allows us do our selling in the winter and focus on growing and harvesting vegetables during the season.
3. Willowsford Farm CSA
Every farm and CSA has a unique identity that makes it special. At Willowsford Farm, we work hard to ensure you receive vegetables you will enjoy, and encourage you to try new things. We're nearby and we like to see you at the farm; in addition to potlucks and farm events, we are located in the midst of a unique community that offers diverse programming, including weekly vendors and demonstrations at the Farm Stand and CSA pickup and workshops in organic gardening, cooking, and healthy living.
We very much enjoy growing food and are continuously asking how we can do things better - to farm more productively, work more closely with nature, and share food that tastes great. We want to make healthy eating accessible, so we provide a weekly newsletter with news from the farm, recipes from our Culinary Director, and cooking and storage tips.
We are a single-farm CSA - we grow our own produce to make our CSA shares. Occasionally we will add an item from another farm. We believe in complete transparency - it's important to us to tell you where these items come from and how they are grown.
4. How much does it cost?
The 2014 CSA season is 27 weeks long, between early May and Thanksgiving. We offer one share size, which consists of 8-12 items, including fresh vegetables, herbs, and some fruit. We grow over 150 varieties of vegetables and herbs, so you can expect to see many of your favorites and some that may be new to you.
Full Vegetable Share: $700. Included are a weekly newsletter from the farm, two reusable bags, vegetable information and recipes, access to cooking demonstrations and classes, and two on-farm events. There is a pick-your-own garden at the Farm Stand where shares are picked up.
Egg Shares (1 dozen eggs each week): $135. We raise free-range, pastured laying hens, fed no antibiotics or growth hormones. They are happy birds and lay great-tasting eggs!
Flower Shares (20 weeks of the season, late May into October): $220.
Flower shares come from Loudoun County growers Barbara Lamborn and Dennis Fuze at Greenstone Fields. CSA bouquets are usually 12 to 20 stems of currently available flowers and fillers. In June this may include larkspur, snapdragons, alliums, campanula and zinnias. Later in the season we add celosias, lisianthus, phlox, sunflowers, dianthus, and many others. Our bouquets usually last a week, although customers often tell us they last several days longer.
Other Share Options: New in 2014
Bread Shares: 1 loaf from Spring Mill Bakery. We'll ask you for a regular order but you can change your order any time - we'll send you a list each week if you want to try something different. You can also take the weekly surprise where we decide. $5.75 a week gives you a choice of $5.50 and $6.50 breads. Current list is attached.
Chicken:1 whole bird each share, available weekl, bi-weekly, and monthly to fit your interest. They will be our own! Birds will be 4-5 lbs and are $16 each. This is a great value for pasture raised chicken. Like our laying hens, they are fed a non-GMO feed with no antibiotics or hormonses. Also: one free workshop with Bonnie on how to use a whole chicken. Some birds will be available fresh and some frozen. June through November (6, 12 or 25 birds).
Kombucha, milk and meat: More details soon, shares will be available this winter. As with bread, you can choose Surprise Me (we'll give you a different flavor each week) or tell us what flavor you'd like as a default (ie whole milk), which you can change any given week.
5. What are the pick-up hours?
Pickups are at the farm on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.
Wednesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 pm at the Farm Stand, 23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, 20148
Wednesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 pm at the Boat House Information Center, 41095 Braddock Road, Aldie, 20105
Thursdays*, 3:30 - 6:30 pm at the Farm Stand, 23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, 20148
Saturdays, 10 am - 2 pm at the Farm Stand, 23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, 20148
*New in 2014. Thursdays are market-style pickups only; no more pre-packed shares.
Contact us to discuss delivery to your home or at work with a group of ten or more.
6. What to expect in your share
In general, there are 8-12 items in your box: a mix of salad fixings, leafy vegetables, root crops, herbs and "vegetable" fruits like tomatoes and cucumbers. An item is a standard amount of a given vegetable: a bunch of kale or carrots, a head of lettuce, 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes, a pint of cherry tomatoes. What is in a box in a given week changes week to week and depends on the conditions at the farm.
Spring shares may include: greens, peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, strawberries, scallions, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, swiss chard, beets, dill, cilantro, bok choi...
Summer shares may include: peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, cucumbers, summer squash, melons, potatoes, onions, okra, basil...
Fall shares may include: tomatoes, peppers, winter squash, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, greens, lettuce, broccoli, celery...
You can get a general idea of when different vegetables are in season here.
7. How to Sign up:
This year we are using a new system called "Farmigo" to help us better manage the CSA and online orders. We think it will allow us to provide better service to our members, and we think you'll like how easy it is to use. When you sign up, you will create a login and have your own password, which will allow you to use the online farm store, see your account history, and manage your account.