You can peruse our extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions about Harvest Sun Farm CSA below. Just click on the question to be taken to it. You can also view or download the list in a PDF by clicking here. These FAQs are specific to the 2014 season. Some details may change for the 2015 season, however, this still gives a great overview.

What is a CSA?
Why should I join a CSA?
How much produce will I receive?
Is all your produce organic? What does that mean?
When does the season start and how long will it run?
What will be in the typical CSA share?
Why are all the items not available the entire season?
Why is eating produce in season so important?
How much does a share cost?
Who grows what is in the CSA basket?
How fresh will my produce be when I receive it?
Do you provide recipes or other information on the produce you grow?
When will I receive the newsletters?
How do I receive my share every week?
Has my produce been washed before I receive it?
How long will my produce stay fresh?
What vegetables and varieties do you grow?
Do you grow any heirloom varieties?
What if the weather negatively affects crop production?
What if the full-share is too big for me, i.e. do you offer half-shares?
Do I get to choose what goes in the share each week?
What if I don’t like something in my share or can’t use all of a certain item?
As the Harvest Sun Farm CSA grows in membership does this mean I get less each year?
What if I want to buy extra of a certain item or maybe even enough to preserve or can?
Do you offer working shares?
Are there any additional items I’ll need to purchase to go along with the CSA?
What are some of the items that won’t be in the share?
What if I am going to miss a week because I am going to be out of town?
What if I can’t finish the season because I am moving or for some other reason?
Will there be produce available very early or very late in the season?

What is a CSA?
While there are many variations of Community Supported Agriculture or CSA, at the heart of each is the arrangement where customers purchase a “share” of a farm’s production. They prepay before the start of the growing season and in return receive a weekly share of the bounty of the season. The customer receives the highest quality produce available throughout the season. The farmer receives guaranteed sales and important funding to start the growing season.
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Why should I join a CSA?
For your family’s health and because nowhere else can you find fresher, tastier, organic produce! By joining a CSA, you ensure you receive the highest quality and freshest locally grown produce available. Eating in season allows you to receive produce harvested at its absolute peak ripeness, flavor, and nutrient density, while also getting to try new unique and flavorful varieties. The average morsel of food a the United States dinner has traveled 1,500 miles. Our CSA offers you the opportunity to receive certified organic, locally grown produce raised just miles from your home, while taking part in the pleasures of the growing season. The newsletter also guides you through handing and preparing produce. The CSA will be our primary marketing outlet for the 2014 season.
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How much produce will I receive?
During the 2014 growing season, we will be offering only full-size shares. The amount of produce each week will vary throughout the season, being most likely lighter in the spring compared to the heart of summer and fall, with a specific crop’s timing dependent on the weather the season brings. A share might be just right for a family of five or for just two adults—it depends on how much produce your family typically eats in a week. We aim to provide between $25-60 of produce in the share each week, but again, it may be lighter at both ends of the season and heaviest in the middle. To get a general sense of the size and variety of the share, you can review all the newsletters from the 2013 here.
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Is all your produce organic? What does that mean?
All of the produce and flowers grown on our farm are certified organic. This means that we do not use any synthetic pesticides, insecticides, or fertilizers but instead use cover crops, crop rotation, and natural methods to manage our crops in order to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s strict organic certification standards. We received our official organic certification in May 2011 with certification #1851. The organic standards require that our farm be re-inspected every year. We have never had a non-compliance with the organic standards. According to our certifiers this is rare, and we are proud of our exemplary record.
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When does the season start and how long will it run?
The first pick-up in 2014 was the week of June 2. A season will typically run between 18 weeks, with the goal to have the last pick-up in early to mid-October. The exact start and end dates will depend on the weather as well as if we’ve been able to meet our goals for providing a full share for the season.
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What will be in the typical CSA share?
The contents of the share will vary by the season and be different each week. This is one of the great pleasures of being in a CSA.

An early season share might include items such as: radishes, spring lettuce, bunching onions, peas, kale, and carrots.

During the peak summer months shares may include: heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, sweet corn, green beans, edamame, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, and summer squash.

As we approach the cooler months a share may include: winter squash, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, carrots, pie pumpkins, beets, and turnips. Again, you can review all the share contents from the 2013 season by perusing the newsletters.
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Why are all the items not available the entire season?
One of the greatest pleasures of seasonal eating and belonging to a CSA is having produce at its peak season and freshness. This means that the growing season is dictating when certain veggies are available. Some of the veggies we grow we are able to provide almost the entire season, i.e. lettuce and bunching onions. Other veggies grow (or at least taste best) during certain times of the year. For example, spinach, radishes, and peas are cool weather lovers, while sweet peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes are heat lovers. This variety and seasonal flavor are at the center of being part of a CSA.

Certain veggies are also more difficult to grow than others, either because of needing certain soils, being prone to certain pests, or needing an intense amount of labor. As we gain even more growing skills and continue to build and know our soils, the variety of produce in the share will continue to increase.

We do intense planning each year to try to shape a share that balances staple items with variety so that people feel they are getting a usable but varied share.

The attached seasonality list gives examples of the monthly availability in Ohio of many of the crops we grow. We also get questions about exactly how much is in each share. While we can’t predict exactly how much of and when each veggie will be available each week next year, you can check out all the newsletters from the 2013 season by clicking here.
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Why is eating produce in season so important?
Anyone who has eaten produce out of a garden knows that it has the most freshness and flavor right off the plant. By eating locally grown produce instead of produce grown out of season and/or shipped from across the country or around the globe, you’ll be amazed by just how delicious many vegetables can be and how long they will last. Unlike that cardboard tomato variety grown because it looks good and fits in a shipping container easily, we select our varieties based on giving our customers the most delicious and flavorful eating experience.
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How much does a share cost?
The cost for a share in the 2014 season was $625 ($600 with the early bird discount).
The share will have $25-60 in produce each week, depending on time of year and the weather.
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Who grows what is in the CSA basket?
100% of what will be provided in the share is grown by us on our farm. We believe this is very important for customers to know. Selling only our own produce allows us to ensure we are providing the highest quality fresh produce to our customers by providing quality control at every step of the way, from seed to pick-up. As the CSA grows over the course of the years, we will look to expand the diversity of the share by adding more perennials, fruit options, eggs, etc. We are not currently offering milk, meat, etc. as part of the CSA, but we may look for opportunities for partnerships with other farms in the future if we can guarantee they meet our customers’ standards and if the membership demonstrates an interest in us doing so.
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How fresh will my produce be when I receive it?
Very! Unlike produce that is harvested and shipped in from out of state, the vast majority of our produce will have been harvested within 24 hours of your receiving it, some within mere minutes! When appropriate some items, such as garlic, storage onions, winter squash, etc. will be stored on-farm and enjoyed throughout an extended portion of the season. The fact that we can provide the produce to you so quickly means we can plant unique varieties that are chosen based on flavor instead of its ability to sit on a shelf. This also means we can harvest it at its peak ripeness. When produce is harvested and eaten at its peak flavor sometimes it’s like tasting a vegetable for the first time because it is so good— oh, that’s what beets are supposed to taste like!—and we discover we love some vegetables we thought we didn’t like.
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Do you provide recipes or other information on the produce you grow?
Yes, an electronic newsletter will be sent out with the share every week. The newsletter includes recipes for the items in the shares, suggestions for storing and preparing the produce, and other relevant information. Hopefully we’ll be providing some produce you’ve never seen before! The newsletter will also include updates from the farm, how the season is progressing, as well as administration information about the CSA. We also have quite a library of seasonal cookbooks that we plan to make available for members to peruse. We know you all have very busy lives, and we want to make receiving and preparing our produce as convenient as possible for you. We will hopefully learn some new recipes from you that can be shared with the group! All the electronic newsletters from the 2013 season our available by clicking here.
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When will I receive the newsletters?
We try to balance getting the newsletter out as early as possible for your meal-planning purposes with needing it to be accurate with what’s ready to harvest. The items in the share are not typically determined until 24 hours before pick-up, so the newsletter usually goes out the night before pick-up i.e. Monday or Wednesday night. The newsletter includes a list of items in the share during the current week as well as our best guess at the next week so you can plan your next delicious meal.
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How do I receive my share every week?
You will pick up your produce on the farm between New Knoxville and New Bremen during a designated time. When you fill out the registration form, you will choose the time most convenient for you. In 2014 there was on-farm pick-up on Tuesdays from 4:00-6:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 4:30-7:00 p.m. We are continuing to evaluate future drop-off locations in the next few years as the CSA grows and plan to have drop-off locations in 2015. Also, if you look up our address in either Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps it takes you to the wrong location unfortunately! We are locate a 1⁄2 mile west of State Route 29 on Lock Two Road.
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Has my produce been washed before I receive it?
When appropriate most of your produce will have been rinsed before you pick it up, like lettuce and root vegetables. There will be cases where produce will not be rinsed before you pick it up because it will be unnecessary or inappropriate for storage or quality purposes like tomatoes or garlic. It is your responsibility to make sure you always wash your produce and store it properly before it is consumed. Just because produce is grown organically and hasn’t been sprayed with synthetic chemicals doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be washed before eating. The weekly newsletter will have tips on how to wash, handle, and store the vegetables you’ll be receiving.
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How long will my produce stay fresh?
By harvesting and delivering our produce within such a short timeframe, you will be amazed how long much of your produce will stay fresh compared to store-bought produce which was shipped in from a long distance and sat on a shelf for an indefinite period of time. As long as the produce is harvested, washed, and stored properly, much of our produce will last a surprisingly long time in your vegetable crisper, and in many cases it will last weeks.
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What vegetables and varieties do you grow?
We grew 35 different vegetables in 2013 with over 100 different varieties. We are scouring seed catalogs looking for the best and most flavorful varieties for the coming season including new items for 2014 such as ones members requested in the end of season survey—like spaghetti squash!. We grow some familiar varieties you’ll know like Yukon Gold potatoes. We grow others that might be new like Speckled Roman tomatoes, Delicata winter squash, or Romano green beans. We will provide you with lots of standard vegetables and introduce you to some new ones, which is one of the most fun parts of eating locally. To truly enjoy being part of a CSA you need to be open to trying some new veggies!
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Do you grow any heirloom varieties?
Many of the varieties we grow will be heirloom (meaning open-pollinated and grown earlier than 1951). Some will not be heirloom, but they will all be chosen to provide you the best possible produce. Many of our varieties might look different compared to grocery store produce, which may have been grown for looks instead of delivering the best in-season flavor.
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What if the weather negatively affects crop production?
Farming is inherently dependent on the weather and involves risk. We grow many different types of crops and plant them many times throughout the season to help mitigate the chance that one weather event or a drought will affect the entire season. We also use drip irrigation in order to be able to deliver water right to the roots of plants during dry spells. This allowed us to have a successful season in 2012 despite a historic drought. We will do everything we can to alleviate the risk of detrimental weather but we want members to know there is risk and responsibility in being a CSA member. This is why we include the Member Understanding & Commitment Statement in our member application. If you’ve ever had a garden, you understand!
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What if the full-share is too big for me, i.e. do you offer half-shares?
During the 2014 season, we will be offering only full-shares. We understand that a full-share might be
too much produce for some people and suggest that you might find someone to split a weekly share if
that is the case. Some people who split a share will divvy up the share each week; others take turns
picking up every other week. If you plan to split a share, please designate so on the application and
make sure we receive everyone’s contact info and e-mail address so we can stay in contact and
ensure they receive the weekly newsletters. If necessary please print and fill out an additional copy of
the front page from the application with the contact information. All e-mail addresses are welcome!
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Do I get to choose what goes in the share each week?
The overall contents of each weekly share is not customizable; each member’s share will be the same in any given week. This allows us to be fair to everyone and also to efficiently provide the produce to you at pick-up. Throughout the season, we do try to add in more flexibility of choice i.e. pick two of these three items where we can. You will get to choose the specific onion or tomato or eggplant that goes in your share because we use market-style CSA pick-up. At a market-style CSA pick-up, you select your share from the produce tables to place in your container i.e. the specific carrot bunch off the pile or which specific lettuce head.
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What if I don’t like something in my share or can’t use all of a certain item?
Despite an items freshness and taste, we all have foods we just don’t like or maybe just can’t eat so much of in one week. One of the top reasons CSA members cite for not rejoining a CSA in a subsequent year is being overwhelmed with too much food and not knowing what to do with it, i.e. produce guilt. We hope the growing season is that abundant and would suggest preserving or sharing some of the contents of the share with a friend. If there’s too much of a certain item, it’s always a great chance to preserve some veggies for winter eating.
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As the Harvest Sun Farm CSA grows in membership does this mean I get less each year?
Absolutely not! As the CSA membership continues to grow, the size of the share will not diminish in any way relative to the number of shares. The farmland we plant has increased as well as our efficiency of using it. Our farm plan each year takes into account an increasing membership of the CSA. In fact, growing the CSA is absolutely critical to the future of the farm business and allows us to provide a better share each season.
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What if I want to buy extra of a certain item or maybe even enough to preserve or can?
While the specific contents of a share are set, there might be times you want a greater quantity of an item. Additional produce, if available, will be offered at our retail price. If you are interested in having enough of a certain item to preserve, its availability and the possibility of a quantity discount will depend on the growing season. If you are interested in extra of a certain item for preserving, mention it to us and we can discuss possibilities as that item becomes available.
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Do you offer working shares?
During the 2014 growing season, we did not offer working shares, which is an arrangement where a member may work a designated number of hours per week or per season to receive a discount on the cost of the share. This is an arrangement we may consider in the future based on member interest.
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Are there any additional items I’ll need to purchase to go along with the CSA?
You will not need to purchase anything additional for the CSA. We will provide Harvest Sun Farm bags for you to use to pick-up your share in addition to your own bags when necessary. They are included as part of the share. There are a couple of items that might make your experience more enjoyable. A set of sharp knives will help in chopping and cutting all the produce throughout the season. Also, a salad spinner for all the greens would be a wise investment. We actually store our greens in our spinner in the fridge after washing which makes them last weeks. We mince most of our garlic when cooking, but a garlic press could come in handy as well.
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What are some of the items that won’t be in the share?
While the share will include a wide diversity of annual vegetables, there are items like perennial vegetables that will not be included in 2015. This includes asparagus, rhubarb, and other perennial fruits like strawberries and raspberries. These crops, once planted, begin producing after one or several years. We are hoping to invest in large plantings of several of these crops one of these days, but they will not be available in 2014.
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What if I am going to miss a week because I am going to be out of town?
If you are going to be out of town, we suggest you arrange to have someone pick up your share for you. This would be a great opportunity to share some produce with friends or family and introduce them to a CSA and delicious local foods. If you’re going to miss a certain pick-up, we appreciate you letting us know the prior week or via e-mail so we can plan accordingly.
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What if I can’t finish the season because I am moving or for some other reason?
If for some unforeseen reason you will be unable to complete the season, you can transfer your share to another person or household and arrange payment from them to you for the remaining weeks, if you desire.
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Will there be produce available very early or very late in the season?
We are working on extending our season through the use of high tunnels, low tunnels, and other season extension tools. In 2013 we added a new hoophouse to help add more variety in the share earlier in the season. As we master later season growing, we hope to offer an additional CSA option consisting of winter and stored vegetables. Some vegetables are at their most delicious after a couple of hard frosts have made the plants convert more starches to sugar.
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