What is CSA?
Homeless Garden Project’s CSA was the first in Santa Cruz county! CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is an economical way to source local, organic vegetables. It serves as a means for community members to become more invested in where and how your food is grown and establish a closer, direct connection with the farmer and the farm that produces their food.
People buy “shares” of a farm’s harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they’re harvested each week. Farmers earn important early-season capital and have a guaranteed market for their produce, and members enjoy overall lower food costs and field-fresh produce!
What are the benefits of a CSA?
So many! Just to name a few:
- You’re supporting small-scale organic agriculture, your local community, and HGP’s transitional employment program for individuals experiencing homelessness
- It encourages more fruit and vegetable consumption
- You get to experiment with different types of produce
- You’re eating what’s in season
- You save money!
- Families & children love the U-pick option — which gets everyone’s hands dirty and teaches kids where their food comes from!
What are my CSA share options?
Pick-Up or U-Pick: Members may choose whether they want to come and harvest their share themselves (U-Pick) or pick up a share that has already been bagged for them (Pick-Up).
Fall Extension: Members may choose to extend their season for 4 additional weeks into November. All extension shares are Pick-Up.
Value-Added Offering: Members may add our Value-Added offering which includes one of HGP’s delicious organic food products or delightful bath and body products in your share every other week. Items include jams & jellies, baking mixes, lotions, bath teas and more!
What is included in a CSA share?
A more intimate involvement in the Homeless Garden Project Community • Weekly box of fresh, certified Organic produce, strawberries, herbs and bouquet of flowers • A weekly newsletter with recipes and suggestions for using the produce • Farm and program updates • Promotions on produce, surplus, and value-added products
When is the CSA season?
The 2023 season will begin on Friday May 19th and run through October 20th. The Fall Extension will run from October 27th through November 17th.
When do I get my share?
Members with Pick-Up shares can come on Fridays between 2:30 – 6:00pm.
Members with U-Pick shares can come on Fridays between 12:00pm-6:00pm or Saturdays from 10:00am – 3:00pm.
Where do I get my share?
HGP’s farm is located on Shaffer Road at the end of Delaware Avenue on the west side of Santa Cruz. At the end of Shaffer Road, you will see the Farm Stand on the right where you can receive your share.
How much does a CSA share cost?
Fall Extension: $120
Value-Added Offering: $120
PREPARING FOR YOUR VISITS
What should I bring with me each week?
Pick-Up members do not need to bring anything with them, just provide your name at the Farm Stand and pick up your bag for the week.
For U-Pick members – we are able to provide whatever you need to gather your share, but members are welcome to bring their own bags, baskets, rubber bands, and tools to reduce consumption of single-use items. It’s also a good idea to bring water on hot days.
Will I be told what is in my share before I come each week?
Yes! We will be sending you a newsletter every Thursday evening with a list of the items in your share as well as recipes, storage tips, stories from the garden, and more! Items may change slightly depending on availability.
Can I bring my dog to the farm?
Yes! We love to see the pooches, but we do ask that all pets be kept on leash while on the farm. We also have a farm cat, so if your dog doesn’t care for felines, it may be best to leave them at home.
What should I wear to the farm?
For U-Pick members, and those thinking of staying awhile and exploring the farm, we suggest wearing long pants and close-toed shoes in the field. We are also very close to the coast and it can be chillier here than in the rest of town. Bring layers.
If I bike to the farm, is there anywhere to lock it up?
Yes! We have a large bike rack next to the farm stand where you can secure your bike.
OTHER CSA OPTIONS
Can I split my share with other people or do I have to be the one to pick it up every week?
You are more than welcome to split your share between as many people as you like or have another person pick up your share on your behalf. Just have them come and tell us the name of the person the membership is registered under.
Can I purchase items in addition to what comes in the CSA share?
Yes, if you’re hankering for a second bunch of kale, no problem! Our farm stand is open for additional purchases during CSA Pick-Up and U-Pick hours. Additional items can be purchased a la carte with cash or credit card.
Can I swap out items in my share for something else?
We cannot guarantee this, but depending on availability, we may be able to accommodate requests to swap one item for another.
CHANGE IN PLANS?
Can I pick up my share on any other day or time?
Unfortunately, we can only offer CSA U-Pick or Pick-Up during the designated hours at this time.
What should I do if I know in advance I am not going to be able to come get my share?
If you can, try to find someone to take your share for you. If you can’t find anyone, you can contact us and let us know. Email email@example.com with the dates you need to skip. This helps us get an accurate count for harvest so nothing goes to waste, and we won’t need to bother you with phone calls at the end of pick-up time!
What should I do if, at the last minute, I can’t come to the farm to pick up my share?
Give us a heads up if possible, so we don’t worry about you!
What happens to my share if I can’t come get it?
If you miss the collection window for your Pick-Up share, we will try to donate the produce and make sure it goes to someone who needs it. If you miss the harvest window for your U-Pick share, the produce will simply stay in the ground. Conditions and availability on the farm change from week to week, so U-Pick members will not be able to make up for a missed week by harvesting more in future weeks.
How do I cancel my membership? Will I get a refund?
If you cannot continue your CSA membership, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we are able to secure someone from our waiting list to replace you, then we can offer a pro-rated refund for the remainder of the season.
Can I change my share mid-season from U-Pick to Pick-Up (or vice versa) or add the Fall Extension or Value-Added Offering?
Yes! Just let us know and we can make the pro-rated cost adjustment.
***Blog post updated January 25, 2023***