Veggie Shares CSA

Serving Guelph and Hillsburgh

 

I’ve belonged to several CSAs over the years, shopped at health food stores and farm stands and consumed many an organically grown veggie! Zocalo Organics produce is truly a world apart! Bursting with colour, beauty, vitality, and totally delicious, their produce is consistently the best I’ve ever tasted! Beth and Seb’s devotion to the land, to community, and to good works shines in their eyes, lights up their faces and shows up in the food that they grow. It’s as simple as that. Truly I have never tasted such delicious and satisfying food. I’m hooked and can’t wait for more! Donna Jennison

CSA Member

What is Community Shared Agriculture?
A CSA member is someone who is excited to share in the joys and challenges of farming by purchasing and consuming “a share” of the vegetables grown by a farmer through the growing season!

CSA members share in the bounty of our farm, get to be a part of our farm’s story, and celebrate eating with the seasons!  Members experience the ebbs and flows of a real farming season.  For example if there is a new insect pest that damages part of our garlic patch, your veggie shares would contain less garlic.  And if there are good rains, your shares would contain more water-loving plants such as broccoli and kale.  (*In the event of an over 50% crop disaster, ie. a tornado, we would call together our members to come up with a solution, and refund those who cannot afford to take on that loss.)

You pay your membership or deposit before the season begins so that we, the farmers, can use the money to buy seeds and the supplies we will need to grow your vegetables.  The best time to sign up is in February/March when the farmers have more time to do administrative tasks, and are buying supplies for the season.  However, we accept members until our program is full (which we will indicate on this page).

CSA members pick up a selection of in-season fresh organic vegetables from our farm or from our drop-off location in downtown Guelph every week from mid June until mid November.

10 Great Reasons to Join a CSA
Put a face to your food. Being a member means direct connection between you and us, your local farmers.

Members share in the abundance and also the risks of farming, creating a real relationship with food.  For example, if a crop is affected by pests or weather, shares may be smaller or less diverse. However, when there is a bumper crop, members reap the rewards!

Expand your culinary horizons. We may introduce you to vegetable varieties that you haven’t tried before; but don’t worry we will send out recipes in our weekly newsletter!

TASTE! Everything is fresh, in season, and at its peak.

You support the local economy. Your membership keeps your food dollars in the community and keeps local family farms alive and thriving. Paying up front means farmers have money when they need it most for yearly expenses, and members help ensure that our products are sold.

You help create local biodiversity. We create habitat for pollinators and natural pest predators. We plant a large variety of crops to reduce the impact of crop failure and ensure we all have a diverse and nutritious diet.

You support local, small scale, diversified, resilient agriculture. Did you know that ecological farming practices fix carbon into the soil through “organic matter”? This means joining our CSA means reducing your carbon footprint!

Your food miles are reduced and you are contributing to regional food security.

You can come visit the farm and get your hands dirty… if you want! We welcome members with friends and family to visit to get a hands-on look at their food production at our open house and volunteer days.

We help CSA members connect with other local producers.

Why we sell our vegetables through CSA
We got into farming to support and to be supported by our community. Our first summer CSA program began as a 10-member program distributed out of the backyard of Seb’s parents house to a few friends and neighbours. That summer was the worst drought Southern Ontario has seen for a while, but we managed to help our members put local food on the table every week despite the drought because of the diversity of crops we grew. Sharing our struggles and our delights with these members became the inspiration for our continued career in ecological agriculture.

This coming season will be our 4th summer offering a CSA program, offering 90 shares at a sliding-scale price. Instead of 18 weeks like we offered in previous years, with the help of our greenhouses and storage crops we are now able to offer 22 weeks of local eating (about mid June until mid November), with 2 flexible vacation days.

What's in a Share?
Each share includes our signature salad mix and other staples such as lettuce, herbs, kale, chard, carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, cabbage, squash, garlic, cucumbers, and more.

We strive to provide a diverse and interesting box every week, with unique varieties and recipes to keep things fun. We also provide a swap bin so that you can trade if there is a vegetable you don’t like in the share (with a few exceptions). We can email you a spreadsheet upon request of the projected quantities and crops for this season.

Are Shares Pre-Boxed?
On-Farm shares and Guelph shares are distributed “market style”.  It usually takes 5-10 minutes to read through the list on the chalkboard and collect your items (and we are there to say hello and help!).  We like to offer “market-style” as it means we can offer you more choice about what goes in your box!

Late Guelph shares are boxed for a $5 fee.

What if I can't afford to pay all at once or at all?
We offer payment plans to those who need them.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Our ideal is to receive post-dated cheques dated for the 1st of the month.  If this does not work, cash is also an option.  No e-transfers please as they are slow to process on our rural internet!
  • You can make up to a maximum of 6 instalments, and you should pay off the share by Sept. 1
  • When you place your order please write a comment that you will be doing a Payment Plan and when we should expect your first payment
  • Please ensure that you send your first payment before the CSA share begins.

If you cannot afford the share at the listed prices, would like a work-trade, or want to pay for the share in more than 6 transactions (as recommended on our form below) email us your request.

How do Vacation Days work?
You tell us when you will be away, and then get a bonus share at the end of the season.  Regular and Large shares can do this twice through the season (so they will get 2 bonus shares), and small shares can do it once.

The CSA runs for 22 weeks so this means that in week 23 you come to the pick-up location to pick up your bonus items!

In order to use a vacation day we request that you notify us by writing in our scheduling book at CSA or sending an email at least two weeks before you go away.  And of course, if you are available to pick up every week you do not need to use vacation days.

If you miss a pick-up without notifying us in advance see “late shares”.  We are unable to offer double shares of produce for missed shares that are not requested as vacation days.

When and Where do I pick up my veggies?
Guelph pick-ups happen on Wednesdays at 47 Meadowview Ave (just outside of downtown Guelph) from 4-7pm.  On-farm pick-ups happen from 430-6 pm on Thursdays.

If you miss your pick-up you can call or text (NO EMAILS) the next morning to arrange a late share.  You can come to the farm the following day to pick-up your share or we can pack it to go to the Guelph Market.  We ask a $5 late-boxing fee as it takes time for us to box up your share.  If you do not indicate that you would like to pick up a late-box we try our best to donate the produce.  Remember, you can send a friend to pick-up your share anytime you can’t make it.

Sliding Scale Pricing

We understand that eating organic and local can be expensive, so we provide some flexibility in our pricing. If you are able to pay the higher price (or somewhere in between) please do so!

We piloted this pricing model in 2015 with great success; we were able to reach our CSA financial target and more community members were able to afford our produce. Members pick up a selection of in-season fresh, organic vegetables from our farm (in Hillsburgh) or from a drop-off location in downtown Guelph, from mid June until mid November. 

Shares include:

  • 7+ different seasonal vegetable items per week (includes our signature salad blend and other staples, such as carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, beets, broccoli, squash, garlic, cucumbers, asparagus, rhubarb and more.)
  • 22 weekly pick ups of fresh, organic vegetables (*small shares are biweekly with 11 total pick-ups), from June until mid-November
  • A swap bin; trade one item for another item you’d prefer
  • 2 vacation days for regular and large shares
  • 1 vacation day for small shares
  • A regular newsletter with recipes and stories from the farm
  • An open invitation to farm events, such as tours and potlucks

Sign up Today!

Our 2019 CSA Registration is open as of January 1, 2019!  Place your orders using the “store” to the right. 

Please note: for 2019 we are trialing a new online ordering system to help us with our bookkeeping.  Since it is not perfectly designed for our CSA, one thing that you need to do when placing your order is “select pick-up date”.  Please select either June 12 or 13, these will likely be the week of our first shares.  Also note a few changes from last year:  the sliding scale is now in increments (3 options for each size of share), and you now have the option to pay with credit card!

Payment.  After placing your order we ask that all those who are able pay-in-full do so immediately to help us with our cashflow (this is part of how CSA works- so we can buy our seeds and supplies for the season to come during winter!).  You can pay by credit card, cash, e-transfer, or cheque.  If you need a payment plan please read the instructions above regarding payment plans!

• E-transfers can be sent to zocaloorganics@gmail.com.

Cheques can be sent by mail to:
Zocalo Organics
5881 Third Line
Hillsburgh, ON  N0B 1Z0