“The FarmShare CSA is hands above others I’ve tried in the past and I LOVE that there’s so much fruit in our box each and every week!!”-Kathryn W., Portsmouth, NH
Each week's share boasts upwards of a dozen different varieties of super fresh, hand-picked fruits, vegetables and herbs. Box contents will vary week to week and through the changing seasons; bringing a strong balance of market standards, heirloom and unique varieties.
A sampling of what you might expect in your C.S.A. box at various points in the season...
1 bunch Tuscan Kale
2 pound Early Girl Tomato
1 pint Red Cherry Tomato
1/2 pound Green & Yellow French Beans
1 bunch Chioggia Beets
1 bunch Rainbow Swiss Chard
3/4 pound Spring Salad Mix
|1 bunch Crunchy Royal Radish
1 bunch Napa Orange Carrots
1 bunch Rhubarb
1 quart Strawberries
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce
1 pint Sugar Snap Peas
1/2 pound Green Stalk Broccoli
1 pound Purple Eggplant
1/2 pound Pickling Cucumber
1/3 pound Summer Salad Mix
1/2 pound Green Sweet Bell Pepper
1 pound Heirloom Tomato
1 pint Golden Cherry Tomato
1 Honeydew Melon
1 1/2 pound Yellow & White Peaches
1 pint Blueberries
1 head Boston Bib Lettuce
Half Dozen Sweet Corn
1 pound Slicing Cucumbers
3 pound Heirloom and Traditional Apples
1/2 pint Red Raspberries
1/3 pound Shishito Peppers
1 bunch Mixed Kale and Swiss Chard
1 pound Red Bliss New Potatoes
1/3 pound Fall Salad Mix
1 bunch Scallions
1 each Cairo Red Cabbage
1 pound Butternut Squash
1/2 pound Spinach
1/2 pound Storage Onions
1 head White Cauliflower
2 pounds Field Tomatoes
Very simply, a "share" represents our farm's commitment to the C.S.A. members. It takes form as a weekly delivered box abundant with the tastiest, freshest and most nutritious food to be had.
In prior years, our members with a Fruit & Veggie Share realized a handsome 15-20% return on their investment. Our Locavores enjoyed an amazing 38% at a value of just over $340.
In many ways, however, that question of “worth” is really more linked with the value placed upon eating local and sustainably grown food, on knowing the farmer who grew it and the plot of land where it all comes from. Throw in factors such as strengthened community bonds, the bolstering of local agriculture and economies, landscape preservation and the many C.S.A. Benefits and, well, the true "worth" of a share takes on new meaning.
Given the diverse array of crops and varieties that come and go over the course of the growing cycles, there is no standard content, weight or volume that a shareholder might expect on any given week. Watermelons are bigger than blueberries. English Peas carry a higher market value than carrots but, they're lighter. What can be expected is that each week's share will boast upwards of a dozen different varieties of super fresh, hand-picked fruits, vegetables and herbs with a value of appropriate to your selected share size.
Click here for a sampling of what you might find in your C.S.A. box at various points in the season.
Many of our customers currently have their own backyard gardens. Because of space limitations (not to mention time), these small plots typically tend towards basic staple items, can be susceptible to heavy losses due to pest pressure and very rarely include fruit. Any staples that might be duplicated in your weekly box will provide an assured flexibility for meals during the week. In addition, a C.S.A. share also provides a breadth of produce items and varieties rarely found in small home gardens.
One can always find cheap produce somewhere. But, in the unlikely event that your regional grocery chain carries the same quality produce grown with similar farming methods, we're extremely confident you'll be hard-pressed to find better value and price than that offered by a FarmShare.
Below are some notable results from last year’s end-season Member Survey:
A word of caution: Beyond the inherent difficulties of making such a comparison, it is not recommended to choose a C.S.A. based solely on price. Despite the real potential for food dollar savings, C.S.A.'s are not about cheap food, which is neither nourishing nor grown with care for you or the environment in mind. Potential members should consider all the beneficial aspects of a C.S.A. experience and how it might mesh with their family's spending habits and lifestyle.
The most common reason given for quitting a C.S.A. is that people cannot use all the vegetables. Be realistic about your family's lifestyle: if you eat out often, travel heavily during the growing season or consume a lot of pre-prepared foods, a C.S.A. may not work for you. If you live by yourself and think a full share may be too much produce for your needs, consider starting with a ½ share or splitting with a friend, neighbor or co-worker.
Our customers vary from students to singles to large families to retirees. Some are vegetarians or vegans, but most are simply interested in fresh, locally-grown, nutritious and flavorful food. For many, joining Applecrest's FarmShare, C.S.A. will herald a whole new way of cooking, eating and sharing food. Members soon find a deeper connection to their nourishment, making more dishes and meals "from scratch" and a renewed interest in trying new foods and different ways of preparing them.
It's inevitable and unavoidable: not every member is going to like every single item each and every week. However, one of the many upsides of FarmShare C.S.A. is our extended growing season with its strong focus on universally appreciated fruits and veggies. This means we grow what you like. And we do it all season long. That's not to say we don't grow some unique or less widely popular crops and varieties but, they're offered only periodically and in well-balanced moderation.
To further combat "I-hate-beets-but-adore-leeks" syndrome, we offer "The Swap Bin". If at pick-up time on any given week there's a particular item you don't want, it may be placed in this bin and swapped out for something more preferable. The Swap Bin is stocked with an excess cross-section of that day's harvest and offers a welcome degree of choice and flexibility with very little fuss. An honor system ensures that fellow members can enjoy the Swap Bin throughout the pick-up day. Due to logistics, this option is offered for pick-ups at the main farm only.
Absolutely. If a full weekly share seems a bit daunting for your particular household needs, a ½ share or split share can be a smart and economical work-around that still gives you access to fresh and sustainably grown local produce. Friends, family, neighbors or co-workers would all be great candidates for such an arrangement.
We leave this responsibility entirely up to the shareholders and their potential box mates. How and when they split the produce or handle shared costs is their individual decision. All we ask is that one primary shareholder is designated. This lead person would handle the FarmShare enrollment, account management and be responsible for all payments.
We also need to be kept informed of who is sharing with whom. Applecrest will record the complete contact information (mailing address, phone numbers and email address) for all persons involved in splitting a box. This is to ensure that all parties are informed about general farm news and events, as well as any specific changes or notices that are necessary to communicate to our shareholders.
Again, the actual physical process of splitting a box falls to the responsibility of the shareholders involved. But we do have the following guidelines which might serve to make the process move smoothly: First, the shares (which are packed in a single box) must be picked up all at once. We strongly encourage shareholders to take their whole box home and then split it with box mates; this is by far the easiest way. Another alternative is to "divide" the share by just having box mate's pick up on alternate weeks.
No problem. If you find that your present volume is inadequate for your band of ravenous locavores, you always have the option to upgrade to your own full share. We will simply prorate the cost of the increase. Please email us at CSA@applecrest.com and we'll help you with the transition.