What is csa?
CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. Luna Bleu Farm is one of the oldest CSA farms in Vermont. We were drawn to this business model back in the late 80’s because it forges a unique bond between farm, farmers and the local community. In a CSA, farmers and shareholders share in both the risks and the bounty of the season. By joining a CSA, members support local agriculture and invest in the local economy.
The price of food in the regular market place often does not reflect the true costs of production or take into account the environmental, social and energy costs. Yet access to fresh, nutritious, safe food can also be limited by economic class or other social factors. Community Supported Agriculture helps us answer the one of the central questions on our farm:
“How do we provide good food to all economic levels of our community and still remain economically viable?”
We still do not completely have the answer to that question. In fact, maybe more questions arise: what do we even mean by “economically viable”, what else limits access to good food and good eating…. and what is Kohlrabi!?
So, when you join our CSA, you can help us answer some of these questions– the big ones or the small ones. With our CSA, we try to make the price work for you. We give you lots of good food and try to make it fun. Many of our members have told us that they really have changed to a more healthful diet when they joined our CSA. Even kids like our vegetables. Parents tell me that their children eat all the spinach from the bag before they get home from the farm! Kids have asked me if they can take an extra bunch of Kale for their share (and how can I refuse!?)… and lots of them really like that Kohlrabi!
CSA gives the farm some wiggle room with production… If there is not enough carrots one week, members might get beets or celery… no spinach? pick chard or beet greens…. If there were a crop failure of say, tomatoes, the loss spread out across 100 families is much less than when it is all carried by just the farm family. (Luckily, with our crop diversity a complete crop loss is not so likely.)
The Nuts and Bolts
CSA members typically pay for a share of the harvest before the start of the growing season and thus help cover early production costs. Members receive fresh, organic vegetables weekly from June to October, and may also choose to receive winter crops from November to May– completing the yearly seasonal cycle. In addition, CSA members can purchase special meat shares and egg shares and other Luna Bleu farm products.
You and your neighbors can help transform local agriculture and your connection to food. CSA begins to redefine the economics of farming. With CSA the price of our food better reflects the actual cost of production and the true value of sustainable agriculture while keeping local farms healthy. Our members appreciate where their food comes from and even celebrate in the eating! It is a quiet — but exciting — revolution!
Come to the farm in South Royalton Tuesday afternoons after 3pm to pick up you share. While you're here, take some time to pick some flowers, visit the animals, or just take a walk around to see what's growing.
Work Shares are available to anyone willing to help with whatever needs doing here on the farm. In exchange, members receive a reduced cost for a share.
Work Share is not limited to field work: many talents are needed on a diversified farm like ours! If you are interested, please contact us.
Our vegetable shares are the backbone of our CSA. We offer a full year of local, organic eating from our farm. Harvest Season Shares run weekly from early June through most of October (20 weeks). The Winter Share has monthly pickups from November through April.
Harvest Season Vegetable Share
Harvest Season shareholders enjoy a weekly share of fresh vegetables during the main growing season, June to mid-October. Shares include the wide diversity of vegetables we can grow here in Vermont. The mainstays in your shares will be the familiar lettuces, tomatoes, cukes, carrots, potatoes, squash, melons, and other favorites.
We also like to introduce people to some less common crops: look for fennel, celeriac, garlic scapes, bok choy… Oh, and did I mention, Kohlrabi? You may also enjoy new flavors in the varieties we grow that you’d never see in the grocery store: Black Krim tomatoes, Carmen sweet peppers, Graffiti purple cauliflower or Sun Jewel melon . .
A few examples of what a small harvest season share might look like throughout the season.
Winter Season Vegetable Share
Luna Bleu is the first farm in the area that has offered a CSA share through the whole winter. In 2013 we expanded our winter vegetable storage rooms so we can maintain a greater amount and diversity of high quality storage vegetables throughout the winter and into the spring.
Winter-stored crops include carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squash, cabbage, beets, rutabaga, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
As a bonus, we add greens from our solar-heated greenhouses. In the last few years we have been able to provide spinach with every winter share and other greens most months except perhaps January and February. Our members just love our winter greens . . . it’s like magic!
Vegetable Share Sizes
A small vegetable share feeds two adults who eat an average amount of vegetables, or a family with a small garden of their own. It is our most popular share size.
A medium vegetable share feeds two to three adults who are good vegetable eaters, or a family of 5 average eaters.
A large vegetable share feeds 4-5 adults who are good vegetable eaters.
We strive to make our organic produce accessible to our neighbors of all income levels and still pay us, the farmers, and our employees a living wage… a work in progress. To this end, we have this fancy-dancy chart with all these different prices.
The Basic Price is what most people choose and most closely reflects what it costs for us produce the share. You will typically save 15-20% on our regular retail prices.
The Sustaining Price helps us more easily attain that living wage and makes it easier to offer discounted shares.
The Discounted Price is intended for households that do not qualify for the NOFA Farm Share, but would have trouble paying the Basic price.
NOFA Farm Share is a lower priced share for income eligible households. For us this means shares are half price or get a up to a $300 discount, depending on the total basic price. You may also donate to the farm share when you sign up for the CSA.
*NOFA-VT Farm Share
We are strongly committed to making the food we raise available to members of the community in a wide range of economic situations. Luna Bleu participates in the Farm Share Program sponsored by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT). Contributions are collected to help pay for CSA shares, enabling us to provide vegetable shares to low-income families for half price or a discount up to $300.
To Donate: You can help to share the Luna Bleu harvest with other members of the community by donating to the Farm Share Program. Contributions to Farm Share are tax-deductible and every cent goes toward low-income shares. Any size donation will help your neighbors eat local and organic.
To donate online, follow this link. Please indicate that you would like your donation to be designated toward the Farm Share Program and specify Luna Bleu Farm!
You can also send a check to the farm. Please indicate “NOFA-VT Farm Share” on the memo line.
To Apply: To apply for a subsidized share, please visit NOFA-VT, fill out the application, and send it directly to NOFA-VT. Please also fill out our CSA Membership Form and let us know that you are applying for a NOFA Farm Share. If you find the process confusing, just contact us and we will help you through it.
In addition to vegetables we also offer meat and egg CSA shares.
In the past we have only offered meat shares if you are already signed up for our Vegetable CSA but now they are open to everyone (they will still have the same pick up as vegetables).
Our meat shares are a great way to get a mix of cuts every month at a small discount. It helps us to plan on sales and showcase some lesser known cuts, and it helps you because that planning means we set aside cuts for CSA that might otherwise sell out, introduce you to some different cuts, and all at a lower price than retail.
Each share will include a whole chicken, sausage or bacon, ground beef, and a selection of cuts. We aim to give you somewhat of a seasonal selection, i.e. more stew beef and slow cook style cuts in the winter and cuts more suitable for grilling, stir frying, etc in the summer, but of course many cuts are perfect no matter the time of year.
We offer a harvest season meat share and a winter season meat share to line up with our vegetable shares. Each meat share season lasts six months to give you year-round access to our meat. Each season pick ups are once a month (the first week of each month in the summer and the same date as vegetable share pick ups in the winter).
While we don't have a regular vegetable CSA pick up in May, we do often offer a special bonus share to pick up at our annual May open house, and your may meat share will be available for pick up there as well.
Meat Share Sizes
A small meat share is designed for one or two light meat eaters. It has a retail value of $85 per month for a total value of $510 over six months. Our CSA discount means you pay $450.
A small share might look like one of these
Whole chicken, pork breakfast sausage, pork loin chops, ground beef, London broil steak, top round steak.
Whole chicken, pork Italian sausage, ground pork, baby back ribs, ground beef, ribeye steaks, top round steak
A large meat share is designed for one or two more frequent meat eaters, or a family that just eats meat a few times each week. It has a retail value of $125 per month for a total value of $750 over six months. Our CSA discount means you pay $650.
A large share might look like one of these
Whole chicken, ground pork, pork Italian sausage, country style ribs, ground beef, beef short ribs, chuck steak, top round steak
Whole Chicken, pork breakfast sausage, spare ribs, ground beef, beef tenderloin, chuck steak, top round steak.
I don’t know what it is about our eggs, but some of our customers tell us they won’t eat any other . . . I guess it’s some of that mysterious magic again at work . . .
Since we often sell out of eggs, especially in the summer, a Luna Bleu Egg Share is a good way to insure your supply of our organic eggs. When you purchase an Egg Share(s), you will get a dozen eggs (or multiple dozens) with each pickup.
The harvest season egg share lasts 20 weeks (same as our harvest season vegetable share) and costs $100 for one dozen eggs each week or $50 for a half dozen eggs each week. You can sign up for any number of shares depending on how many dozen you'd like.
The winter season egg share totals 6 weeks over the course of 6 months (pick up the same day as your vegetable share) and costs $30 for one dozen eggs each pick-up or $15 for a half dozen eggs each pick-up. You can sign up for any number of shares depending on how many dozen you'd like.