DeLano Farms CSA: FAQ's
How much food do I get in a share?
Volume will vary with the season; less in spring, more in summer and fall. At each week’s distribution, we commit to provide enough vegetables for a family of four or two serious veggie eaters.
What happens if I can’t make my scheduled distribution day?
We encourage people to keep to their selected pick-up time to assist the farm staff in managing the complex logistics of harvesting and distributing food for so many families each week. If for any reason you are not able to make it, please feel free to send a friend or family member to distribution in your place with your member card.
Can I join at any time?
CSA shares are sold prior to the start of distribution in late May. Space is limited, so sign up early! Once the current harvest season begins, you are encouraged to have your name added to the waiting list for the following season.
How does the Farm Manager determine what crops are available at distribution each week? Variety, abundance, and maturity are all considered in planning what goes in to a share.
Is the food “organic”?
DeLano Farms is not currently certified organic. In 2011 and 2012, glyphosate was applied to control invasive quack grass on new farm ground before cultivation and planting. This herbicide is not allowed in organic systems but KNC staff decided that the intensity of the grass pressure made glyphosate the most responsible tool for creating new, healthy agro-ecosystem space. In 2013, our practices will continue to prioritize the most responsible environmental stewardship. From seeding to harvest, all crops will be managed according to practices listed in the USDA National Organic Program.
Sometimes I find a blemish or hole in my produce. Why?
Growing produce in an ecologically conscientious way some times results in less than perfect cosmetic appearance because insects and wild animals are interacting in the diverse farm ecosystem. This is a sign of a healthy environment! With this knowledge in mind, it is our goal to provide the highest quality, fresh vegetables to you and your family. If you ever receive items that do not meet these standards we are more than happy to exchange them. Just let us know!
Why don’t we have tomatoes yet (June 10)?
In the Michigan growing season, tomatoes begin to be ready for harvest in late July or early August.
We end up with more food than we can use. What should we do?
Our market-style-pick-up offers choices so you can match your preferences to what is seasonally available. Don’t ever feel that you need to take food that you won’t use. If distribution amounts seem overwhelming, ask the farm staff for some cooking and preserving tips or find a friend to split your share with.
Who decides what to grow?
The DeLano Farms Manager makes all final crop planning decisions based on feedback from the previous seasons CSA members and farm staff.
Do I have to help harvest, weed, irrigate…?
Volunteers are welcome and encouraged but CSA members are not required to contribute any labor at the farm. If you are interested in connecting a little more deeply with where your food comes from, this year we are especially seeking volunteers to help out in the U-pick garden and with greeting at CSA distribution.
What is an “heirloom” vegetable?
An heirloom plant is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Heirloom vegetables tend to have more flavor, nutritional value, and colorful appearance but lack characteristics good for storage and shipping.
How many acres are in production?
We will grow 15-20 acres of vegetables in 2013, enough to provide more than 300 families with plenty of food during the Michigan growing season.
Do you use horses or tractors?
We use tractors and are grateful to these powerful, labor saving machines.
How do you keep critters out?
We plan for some loss and will likely be installing a fence around a new “salad garden” in 2013, to protect our precious lettuce from deer.
What do I do with squash?
Ask some of the farm staff for recommendations at CSA distribution or refer to recipes in our weekly newsletter. There are so many options: zucchini-potato pancakes, pickled summer squash, sesame roasted squash on rice, curry lentil butternut soup, acorn spice cake!!
How can I convince my kids to try this?
Parents can lead by example and encourage kids to try at least one bite. Children are often more excited to try new foods that they have been involved in selecting or preparing—feel free to bring the whole family to CSA distribution and have the little ones help in picking out produce from the tables or harvesting from the U-pick garden. Involve the whole family in meal planning and preparation!
Are you doing educational programs on the farm?
Carrie Cohen is our Farm Education Coordinator. She leads a variety of educational events on the farm throughout the season. For our most up to date event calendar, email Carrie or visit the Calendar page on our website.
Can I buy a share for a friend as a gift?
What a wonderful idea! Of course!!
Are there scholarships or subsidized shares available to folks who can not afford to participate? Are there working shares?
DeLano Farms does not currently offer any of these options. We do donate excess produce to local food banks.
How is DeLano Farms CSA different from others in the area?
1) As a project of the Kalamazoo Nature Center, all DeLano Farms CSA members have access to all KNC resources and programming. 2) We offer a unique, market style distribution that provides unrivaled produce choice for our members. 3) By investing in the DeLano Farms CSA you are also investing in the overall KNC mission.
Can I make a different selection if I don’t like something?
Yes! Our market style pick-up allows members to select varieties and quantities of items to meet their personal preferences and needs, within the constraints of product availability and weekly share value.
Do you sell produce anywhere other than CSA?
All of our market quality produce is currently distributed to our CSA membership only.
What is “GAP”?
“Good Agricultural Practices” is a voluntary, fee based audit program run through the USDA that inspects farms and distributors for adherence to basic food safety and handling procedures. All DeLano Farms staff are trained in GAP standards and procedures.