When and Where is FarmShare Pick-Up? Each Monday from 3:00-6:00 in the Little Red Barn @ Full Heart Farm in Ledyard.
New for 2018: we will also be offering share pick-up (for small vegetable shares only) at Mystic Pet Shop on Tuesday afternoons from 2:00-6:00PM.
What are the Pick-Up Dates for Summer FarmShare 2018? PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR! June 4, 11, 18, 25 July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August 6, 13, 20, 27 September 3, 10
What happens if I miss a share pick up? We encourage our members to visit the farm each week during market hours to pick up items for their share, but understand that commitment is not always possible. Members are encouraged to send a friend or neighbor to pick up their share on weeks when they cannot make it to the farm.
Unclaimed shares will be donated at the end of the evening.
What happens if there is a terrible storm this season or bad disease? As members of the farm community, shareholders assume the risk of farming. In cases of bad weather (drought, floods, storms), disease, pests, and other unexpected challenges, there may be shortages in farm products or a lack of diversity. The farmers will do their VERY BEST to deliver high-quality farm products in their full value each week. We are part of a large network of local growers that we are happy to work with to fill in gaps in our growing schedule, to the best of our ability.
There are no refunds for missed shares (on the shareholder's part) or small shares (on the farmer's part). The farmers also reserve the right to reschedule a market day during weather situations where it is deemed unsafe to harvest or travel to the farm for pick-up.
Why should I join the FarmShare, instead of just purchasing food from somewhere else? First, the FarmShare program is the best way to ensure you have access to fresh, seasonal food each week. The easiest way to eat healthy is to surround yourself with fresh produce. It's a great way to learn about what's in season, gather new recipes, and be part of a growing community.
Second, the FarmShare program is one of the best ways to support local farmers! It provides us with the money we need upfront at the beginning of the season and spreads out some of the risk of growing food for others. Your investment in our farm directly supports our young family and our local community.
Third, FarmShare members play an ACTIVE role in the local food movement as they spend a season learning about how food on our farm is grown, prepared, and enjoyed. Through our weekly newsletters you learn about our life and local agriculture, as well as new recipes and menu ideas.
How does the FarmShare program differ from the MemberShare program you offered in the past? In a traditional CSA program, members sign up for a share of a farm’s harvest and receive a pre-packed box of vegetables selected by the farmer based on season and growing conditions. In the past, our MemberShare program expanded on that further to include protein (chicken + pork + eggs), designed in a way to create meals. As our member families evolved and we recognized the diverse array of preferences, we saw a need to expand selection.
It is our hope that our FarmShare Program allows our members to tailor their share experience to best suit their needs, while still allowing the farmers the upfront infusion of funding needed to start the season without relying on debt or outside funding. That money is used to purchase things such as seeds, potting soil, equipment, and other farm infrastructure. The upfront sign-ups also allows us to get an idea of WHO we are feeding, so we can grow more of the things that you like and develop a recipe selection that best suits your cooking interests.
Unlike shopping at a traditional farmers market, the FarmShare allows members to be truly connected to a small farm. The weekly newsletter includes anecdotes of life on the farm, recipes, meal planning ideas, and even tips on preserving the harvest to add diversity to your winter meals. Visiting the farm each week gives our members an indescribable sense of place.
What types of vegetables are included in the share? Full Heart Farm grows over 100 different varieties of vegetables, berries, herbs, and flowers throughout the calendar year. A short list includes; beans, beets, bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, greens, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, onion, strawberries, swiss chard, tomato, turnips, winter squash, zucchini, and so much more!
Our autumn share is focused on cool season crops, particularly lettuce + greens, roots, and squash, as well as some treats from the summer harvest season that we have preserved.
Can I buy extra items at the market? Yes! For the 2018 season our Member Market will be open during share pick up for members to purchase meat, eggs, dairy and produce in addition to their share.
Can I shop at the market if I’m not a member of the MarketShare? For the 2018 season, Full Heart Farm will largely be closed to the public while we focus building a deeper connection to the small community of members in our FarmShare program. When surplus allows, we will open to the public on Monday afternoons and update our social media accordingly.
How do I know if the FarmShare Program will be a good fit for me? Our members come to the farm from a variety of backgrounds and stages in their lives, but they all value good food, enjoy trying new foods, and set aside time each day to cook. They value learning about the farm and testing out new recipes. They value their health and recognize the importance of nutrient dense foods in their diet. They value developing a relationship with their farmer so that they can become more informed consumers. In our experience, people that have very busy schedules or enjoy only specific foods usually prefer to shop at the grocery store or farmers market.
What if I can’t use my entire share? You are always welcome to send a friend or neighbor to pick up your share or a portion of your share. We also maintain a list of families in need and regularly make donations to the Food Pantry, if you would like us to donate your unneeded share items to someone in need. Fresh food is ALWAYS appreciated by those in our local community and nothing at the farm goes to waste.
How will the FarmShare be set up? Inside our little red barn there will be signs indicating what is available as part of the share each week. Members can then “check out” their selections as they exit the barn, as well as purchase additional produce or meat to supplement their share.
Members are asked to bring at least one bag with them to pick-up each week to bring their share home in.
Can I sign up for just one month? In following the spirit of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), we ask that all members commit to the entire share season. This allows us, the farmers, to best plan the farm. In our experience, members that commit themselves to the farm for several months at a stretch are the ones that have the best experience overall, because they are able to immerse themselves in the experience and develop positive changes in their cooking and eating habits.
If you are moving or traveling for a large portion of the season, you are welcome to email and add your name to a waiting list.
What about the AutumnShare and WinterShare? We will have more info coming late summer 2018!
Are your raising meat this year? Or offering a meat share? For the 2018 season we have chosen to not raise livestock for meat. Instead of offering meat as part of the share or as a separate protein share, we will offer a selection of locally grown, pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy for individual sale (as well as monthly bulk specials) each week at our farm stand. We will be setting up a better credit card system for ease of purchase, and can offer a pre-paid system of farmstand credit for members who prefer not to pay each week. We have decided to make this change for a number of reasons:
1) our members meat consumption has drastically declined and we have an increasing number of vegetarian families. When we began the farm in 2012 there was a high demand for quality, pasture-raised meat and we could hardly raise enough to satisfy need among our members. Just two years ago we raised (and our members consumed) over 1,500 chickens. Last season we raised fewer than 300 and they did not all sell. As the cost of raising meat has steadily increased, we cannot economically produce chicken at such a micro-scale.
2) our land no longer requires the work that the animals did in our early years to both clear land and provide fertility. We plan to return to raising meat in a year or two as we expand our fields and continue to clear our wooded pastures, as well as nurture our passion for raising livestock.
3) with three young children we no longer enjoy starting and ending our day, 365 days a year, doing chores. The schedules of raising babies and animals are both unforgiving, and to keep our family farm sustainable we must prioritize our kids.
4) the local flower movement is currently strong and growing. We are excited to focus our efforts on raising quality produce and beautiful flowers for our local community.
We are sure this news comes as a disappointment to some, but we hope you can understand that in these difficult economical times (especially as a small farm), we must continue to evolve to stay afloat. It is our hope that the market-style offering of protein will offer increased flexibility and affordability (in terms of not having to pay such a large sum up front) to best suit the needs of the majority of our members.
Do you offer payment plans? Our hope in offering shorter FarmShare seasons is to make the upfront cost more easily affordable for a larger number of families. It is also our hope that members will make a commitment to the farm in advance of the season and budget to pay the remainder of their deposit before the share season.
That being said, we are always happy to work with families to make our food accessible to all. If you are in need of an alternate payment plan, please contact Farmer Allyson at allyson (at) fullheartfarm (dot) com, and we will do our best to develop an arrangement tailored to your needs.