Posts Tagged ‘CSA’

And Then There Were None

March 12, 2021 I received an email from out Google Form CSA Sign-Up. We just sold our last CSA share for the season. At this point we have sold 10 full season and 6 short season shares. That is all we can handle. Thank you everyone that has shared our social media posts and told your friends and neighbors about our CSA.

Thanks to all of our 2021 Share Holders. We are excited about the season. Last weekend we delivered our seed and the list of plants that Barb Quandt of Barb’s Greenhouse will start for us. Barb has great plants if you need some vegetables or flowers your your garden at home. We are always thrilled with what she grows for us and we can’t walk out of there without buying something extra. Here is a complete list of the plants that we asked her to start last week (Plants Started by Barb). We also planned to ask her to hold a tray of shallots and leeks for us this year like we have done in the past and were shocked to discover that she was unable to get seed. We came home ordered seed from another company and will take it out to her. Hopefully we will have shallots and leeks. If you are interested in everything we plan to grow this year take a look at the list.

This weekend the 13th and 14th we missed the snow. This is really good because it looks like we got about 3 inches of rain. The east end of our new property is under water. The grass and pasture are starting to green up though. Kathy checked on the bees during the nice weather last week and one of our hives was able to make it through the winter.

Seeds are Arriving

This is a fun time of year even if it is miserably cold right now. Current temperature is -5F and tomorrow when I go to work it is supposed to be -22F. It is fun, though, because seeds are arriving in the mail. Last weekend Kathy and I ordered seeds from five different companies and today we bought more seeds at Menard’s and Dollar Tree. It is okay to use cheap seeds sometimes.

It is interesting to note that many of the more expensive seeds from the catalogs do not have fancy 4 color packaging.

We are updating what we plan to plant regularly. You can find the whole list of possible plants here. We may or may not plant all of them in any given year and sometimes we run out of time to get everything planted.

Short Season Shares Still Available

It is February 4th and we have sold out of all 10 of our full season shares. We do still have 5 short season shares available. Our short season is 6 pickups between mid-July and mid-September. You can expect tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, garlic, potatoes, eggplant, okra, green beans, summer squash and peppers. This is the most productive time for our garden and we added the short season so that we can take advantage of that fact. A short season share is available for $180. You can sign up here, just make sure you select short season. The form will quit taking orders when we have sold them all.

The plan for this year is to have short season pickups on Thursday evenings. Pickup will be at GI Acres.

Below are pictures of 5 of 6 weeks from the 2020 short season.

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I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

Welcome to 2021! We are now Accepting New Members

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What we try to have for you to pick up late in the year.

GI Acres has been offering CSA (Consumer Support Agriculture) shares to people in the Grand Island, Nebraska area since 2015. We are beginning our sixth year and hoping to continue for many more.

What is a CSA Share?

Local Harvest (www.localharvest.com) is a great source of information about local food. Here is how they define a CSA. GI Acres is a market style CSA. We don’t pack the box for you but allow you a choice of what we have available.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

Is a CSA Share right for me?

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA (www.seriouseats.com) This article is a little dated given the prices in the New York metro area but they were also describing a CSA that provided 4 or 5 items for that price. Our is priced similarly but we aim to provide many more items and variety.

How do I get my food?

This year, our Full Season pick up will be on Monday evenings 6-8 PM. You will pick up your share at our farm location. In previous years, this was Wednesday or Thursday. We schedule the pickup the same day as Kathy’s regular day off from her regular job so that everything is picked fresh and ready to go for you. You can do self service pick up by getting your share out of our cooler shed the following day if you want. (We will prepare your share and pick items for you and put your name on the tray.)

Shares waiting for pickup the following day

Short Season pick up will usually be on Thursdays from 7-8. Again if you can’t pick up at that time we can leave your share in the cooler shed.

We may also be able to offer delivery in limited circumstances or pickup from an alternate location. That will be need to be arranged with signup. If you require alternate arrangements, please contact us first before signing up.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What options do you offer?

We offer both a Full Season (every Monday — June through September — planned for 18 weeks in 2021) for $425 and a Short Season (6 Shares offered on Thursdays between mid-July and mid-September) for $180. Short season shares are based on heavy production weeks and will not be every week. An email will be sent to members letting them know that a share will be ready for them. Look through the pictures below of our weekly shares from 2020, both Full and Short Season, to see what is available and how the season progresses from cool spring crops like lettuce, herbs and garlic scapes to longer season crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra and finally winter squash. If there is a vegetable that you really enjoy, but don’t see in the photos, please ask as we may be able to add it this year. Each of the photos is of one member’s share for one week.

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We do raise chickens and sometimes will include eggs in your share and they are almost always available as an add on for $3 per dozen.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

When is payment due?

Payment for your share is due on March 1, 2021. If we have not received your payment we may offer your share to someone on our waiting list. If you are having trouble meeting the March 1 deadline let us know and we will work with you.

What is my risk?

The CSA Model is shared risk/shared reward. We will do our best to make sure you get a good value for your hard earned money but we cannot control the weather. Living in Nebraska there is always the possibility of hail and wind that can damage the plants. Last year we had a fight with bunny rabbits and Japanese beetles. We did okay against the beetles with beetle traps but the bunnies devastated the Swiss Chard and beets. Two years ago the early August windstorm and hail took out most of the pepper crop. We plant in more than one garden on our property, rotate crops to minimize pests and the need for pest control, have water available to all of the garden areas, and minimize the risk as much as we can. You can review the Member Agreement here.

Why do I have to prepay for the season?

We use your funds to pay for seeds, plants, supplies, and equipment needed for a successful season. Because you have prepaid we have the money in hand to pay cash for all of the things necessary for a successful season. Last year we bought almost 1000 plants from Barb Quandt at Barb’s Greenhouse north of the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. She does a great job starting our plants from our seeds, and it is less expensive than maintaining our own greenhouse while supporting another local producer. If you have a vegetable that you would like us to add this year, please let us know early!

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

I want to preserve some produce. Will I get enough to can?

That really depends on you and your family’s eating habits. A single person or couple might have enough to preserve or share with family and friends. A large family that cooks and eat most meals at home probably won’t have any extra. One friend asked about signing up because she wanted to pressure can green beans: we explained that most likely she would not get enough for that. We have had members preserve some of their share as small batches of pickles or salsa. Some of the crops dehydrate or freeze well, too, if you are unable to use it all within the week. Our goal is to provide you with fresh food that you can eat and enjoy while it is in season.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

And We Are Back Again

Welcome to the end of 2020. It has been a strange year for all of us. At GI Acres, we had a good year for the farm. We sold/traded all 10 full season shares and sold 3 of 6 short season shares. The weather cooperated and production was good. We did have issues with rabbits this year. They really liked the beets and the Swiss chard this year so we had less of those.

We plan to offer both the Full Season (weekly from June through September) and the Short Season (6 shares between mid-July and mid-September when production is at its highest). Our CSA management platform Small Farm Central is no longer providing the same service. They have grown into a larger and hopefully more successful version. Unfortunately for us their new product is priced at a level that we cannot afford.

At this point we plan to use Google Forms for sign up. Our son Will has added some scripting that will automatically limit choices as shares are spoken for and so it will only let you sign up for what we have available. Former members have priority and are invited to sign up by December 31, 2020. On January 1 we will publish the link to the form publicly and open membership up to everyone.

If you are interested in what you get in each share look at the galleries below. We have 18 weeks of the full season from last year and five of the six weeks of the short season. Week 3 of the short season everyone showed up early or on time and we did not get a picture of the share.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”109″ gal_title=”2020 Weekly Shares (Full Season)”] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”110″ gal_title=”2020 Shares (Short Season)”]

Just What is in a Full Share?

We plant a wide variety of crops. You will start the season with cool weather and spring crops: Lettuce, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard), radishes, garlic scapes, rhubarb and winter onions. During the warmer months you can expect green beans (several varieties), summer squash, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , herbs, cabbage, onions, new potatoes and fennel. The summer crops will continue some of those above and add in tomatoes (last year we planted 39 varieties), peppers, egg plant, garlic, celery and sweet corn (we don’t grow it but buy it from a local producer). As we transition in to the fall months we will still have tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, onions, potatoes, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , maybe green beans, and add in winter squash, popcorn (if the squirrels don’t eat it again this year), horse radish root, apples, and maybe pumpkins or corn shocks for decoration.

In 2019 there will be 18 Wednesdays between June 6, 2019 and October 2, 2019. We plan to have at least 18 weeks of shares but we could have as many as 20 if we have things ready for the last week of May and have a final pick up after October 2. This last 2 seasons we have had a last pickup in mid-October. The cost for a full season share is $400. The full amount has to be paid by March 1 to secure your spot. If you are a returning member we do offer a 10% discount if you sign up and pay by February 16.

The Short Season share is similar to the Full Share but does start later in the summer and only includes 6 weeks. We plan to start it in July and end in late August or early September. Shares will not be available every week depending on our schedule. Short season shares are $150 and available on Sunday afternoons.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to use everything, and this can be an issue, you can always find someone to share with or donate the extra.

You can pick your season and sign up by following this link: GI Acres CSA Share Types.

New To Us This Year– Bounty From the Box Cookbook

Just received a physical copy of the book “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook” by Mi Ae Lipe.  In December I purchased a digital copy of the book with the hope that it would help us provide recipes to our CSA members. (The digital copy is only available to CSA farmers at this time with specific permissions from the author.)  Joining a CSA can be somewhat stressful.  Every week you are going to get a whole bunch of vegetables and it is likely that you will not have any idea what to do with some of them.  Last year we provided eggplant, kale, cucamelons, tatumi squash and a full 20 weeks of Swiss chard to our members.  We tried to give recipes, cooking and preserving tips especially when we were providing something new or even yet again.

The CSA Farm Cookbook

I had not really taken the time to look at the cookbook but did including a link to Bounty from the Box on our website and the announcement about 2017 membership.  Friday I received a print copy in the mail.  I was astounded by the size of the book.  It is the size of a 500 sheet ream of printer paper.  In actuality it is almost 700 pages long but it does really look like a ream of paper. The book is organized around the seasons beginning with spring CSA offerings and ending with winter.  Each entry includes a bit of history of the vegetable or fruit, nutrition facts, cleaning tips, several basic ways of cooking it (including microwaving) and information on preservation.  The book is easy to scan through and entertaining to read. I was truly impressed by the size of the book and the number of recipes and vegetables included.

Later, when we have fresh veggies from the garden and more time to play with them and I will post more about the recipes.  Looking through them though, they appear well balanced for a variety of eating styles and requirements.  If you eat meat, are vegan, need gluten free or other specialized diets you should be able to find recipes in this book that will help you eat the way you want or need to and use your CSA share in interesting ways.

We will be trying some of the recipes in the near future with food that we preserved last season.  I may even contact some of last season’s members to find out what they have preserved and share some of the recipes from the digital version early.  I know that some members still have food in the freezer.  They have told me about meals they have made this winter with our produce.  I find it especially gratifying to talk to a member in December or January that is pulling from their freezer a container of vegetables we grew and enjoying a bit of summer during the winter doldrums.

You can get your own copy of Bounty from the Box at www.bountyfromthebox.com. Follow them on Twitter @BountyfromBox and on Facebook @BountyfromtheBox.

Weekly CSA Shares

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Here is what our weekly shares contain.  If you see lots of veggies on a table that is the total for 9 shares.  If it is just in front of a basket that was one share.  Our goal was to provide at least $10 worth of Farmer’s Market quality fresh product to our members per week.  The contents of the shares change every week because different things are ready at different times.  We started with cool season crops like radishes, peas and lettuce and then progress into warm season items like cucumbers, summer squash and green beans.  Eventually we will have tomatoes, peppers, corn, and  maybe melons.  In the fall we hope to offer winter squash, late tomatoes and maybe some of the cools season crops like lettuce and radishes again.  Swiss chard has been a killer producer for us this year and I think people are getting tired of it but it sure is pretty and it tastes good.

We always send the beets and turnips home with the tops.  Our rabbits would love them but the tops cook up really nice for people too.

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? on Vimeo

A nice video explaining what a CSA is and how it works. We won’t be planting tomatoes with a tractor.

About GI Acres CSA

GI Acres is located on the western edge of Grand Island, Nebraska. The garden takes up about half of an acre. We also have chickens, rabbits and bees

Our farm is not USDA Certified Organic and we do not anticipate applying for such status. We strive to produce healthy vegetables using natural methods of fertilizing, building soil, and controlling pests such as insects and weeds. Those healthy vegetables will begin in mid to late May with herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. During the season you can expect a variety of greens, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and potatoes along with tips about how to cook and preserve your weekly share. The season will conclude in late September or early October. We aim for a 20-week season.

We did not grow up on farms but we did grow up in families with large gardens, eating a variety of fresh produce and canning/freezing the excess. We have maintained the tradition of growing and preserving food for our family for the past 20+ years. GI Acres is our attempt to share that passion for good food with our community.