Full Moon Farm

About CSAs

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA’s are a means of creating a mutually beneficial connection between consumers and their farmers. Community members who want to support a local CSA farm can buy a subscription from the farm early in the season. In turn, once the season is under way, members receive weekly bounty from their farm. The bounty depends on how many members the farm supports and what the farm is able to produce.

How This Works

Jill and Dave

Once you decide you want to sign up, you need to make a few decisions. First, you need to decide whether the regular or large share is right for you. (If you need help deciding, please check “What size share is right for me?” on our FAQ’s page.) Next, you need to choose a pick-up day and location. Members must keep that day and location throughout the season. Sorry, no switches. Next, you need to fill out a registration form and send it in with your payment. Then you wait for an email confirmation saying that your registration is complete. Rejoice!

Members will receive an email or phone call in late May, informing them of the impending arrival of the first harvest. Pick-ups should begin in the first or second week of June and continue through the middle of October.

At your first pick-up and as often again as needed, David and I will walk you through the process. Produce and choices will be posted. You bag your own produce with staff present to assist you. You can bring your own bags. We also bring re-used, clean, handled plastic bags for folks to use if they forget their own.

How Farmers Benefit

By supporting local farmers directly, you eliminate the middle person, thereby moving agriculture towards a livable wage. Having share money up-front, early in the season, prevents the growers from having to borrow money to pay wages or purchase supplies. Normally, the bills start coming in January, but the income doesn’t arrive until June. Knowing how many families to grow for, the growers can concentrate on crops that are pre-sold and not waste time, energy and earth’s resources, speculating.

We would be liars if we also didn’t admit that direct contact with our members saves us during the season. Farming is incredibly hard, non-financially rewarding work. It is crucial for us to interact with our members on a weekly basis and reap the rewards of our business through your friendly faces, positive comments and useful suggestions. In the casual atmosphere of the pick-up site, members learn more about life on the farm, food preparation, planting cycles and pest management. We, in turn, learn more about teaching, medical school, engineering, social activism, marketing and immigration law.

How Members Benefit

  • Know your farmers: Our pick-up option allows you to interact with the farmers on a regular basis. Children and adults learn to see the connection to their food source and to the cycles of the growing season. Staff and farmers are always on-hand to answer any questions, concerns, or just to shoot the breeze.

  • Get a Full-Service Operation: Our produce is harvested, washed, bunched and displayed for you. Our 3 pick-up locations are located on convenient commuter routes. On your walk, bike, or drive home, just pull over and pack your bounty.

  • Freshness Counts: At Full Moon Farm, our fruits and veggies are picked fewer than 36 hours before you lay your hands on them. This short period from the farmer’s hands to your hands, guarantees vine-ripened taste and crispness, unmatchable by stores.

  • Money Talks: Members’ dollars purchase 15-40% more produce than they could at our farm stand or at local health food stores.

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    How the Environment Benefits

    Locally grown produce is distributed with minimal waste of fossil fuels. Certified organic growing methods improve soil fertility, thus assuring sustainable crops for years to come. By not using any synthetic pesticides or herbicides, the soil remains ‘alive’ with vital microbes that promote plant growth, thereby eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers. Supporting an organic farm in your community makes you a steward of your local land. No herbicides on the land means no chance of them sneaking into our water supply. You can sleep well at night knowing that the food you eat is helping to healthily re-establish the headwaters of the LaPlatte River.

    So What's the Catch?

    Joining a CSA means making a commitment to the process. You receive super fresh food at a discounted price. In return, you agree to endure certain limitations:

  • Limited hours of pick-up: CSA’s can not offer the convenience of grocery-store hours. Sometimes convenience comes at the cost of quality. To keep food fresh, Full Moon Farm Inc. limits its pick-up hours. Members need to arrange to pick-up your produce during that time. To make it easier, any member can arrange to have any friend, family member or neighbor pick up for them at any pick-up. Failing that, you either forfeit your share or…see **** below. We will make sure that food is not wasted. We will deliver unclaimed food to Meals on Wheels, the Food Shelf or our hungry crew.

    **** New in 2009: Members can collect pre-packed, ‘missed’ shares, (a $5 packing fee will be charged,) from our cooler in Hinesburg. This offer will last as long as it works. Only a limited # will be available each week.

  • Seasonability: Becoming a member also means that you agree to eat food that can be grown locally at that time of year. We can, however, offer vegetables replete with the splendors that in-season, local, organic produce possesses.

  • Exact specifications: Along with limits on what is available when, you may also not be able to get the exact portions you desire of a certain item. CSAs work because they are convenient, not perfect. Portions, based on that day’s harvest, are an approximation of what the ‘average’ shareholder will want. Since no one is truly ‘average,’ we offer choices whenever we can. Some members even enjoy the challenge of learning to live within the limits of that week’s bounty.

  • Risk: The members agree to assume all the risks that the farmers do. The farmer is growing for you. If the weather does not cooperate and a crop fails, or is greatly reduced in yield, if our seed supplier sends us non-viable seeds and nothing grows, if it’s so hot that all the lettuce bolts, members will feel it. In fact, many of these things have happened at some point in the last decade on Full Moon Farm. In ’06 we kept waiting for our Walla Walla onions to bulb up. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. When we talked to other farmers, they were having the same trouble and also couldn’t figure it out. As it turns out, the seed company had mislabeled thousands of packets of Walla Walla scallions as onions. The nice thing is, if you ask our members, most of them won’t remember. Perhaps that’s because ’06 was also the year our farm was 7’ under water in the first week of June. We lost our first couple of plantings of head lettuce, spinach, and lettuce mix. Delicate melon and cucumber seedlings were crushed under the weight of the water. Although members didn’t feel that pain for two months, they did eventually feel it. After all was said and done, however, 2006 members didn’t suffer too badly. It’s true, they didn’t get the usual bounty and the usual 20-40% extra produce they typically do. But they did end up getting what they paid for and that’s not too bad of a risk. The truth is that our farm is so diversified that some crops will always do well in conditions that other crops hate. Even though the idea of a CSA is that you agree to take the risk with us, in ten years, the risks have proven to be quite minimal.
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