Our main CSA season runs 22 weeks, June – November. The 2017 season is estimated to start the first week of June however, this date is weather-dependent. There are some years we have started the season the 2nd week of June. A CSA membership means you purchase a share of our harvest for the entire 22-week season. Whether you choose to pick up your share weekly or every other week, is up to you. Each farm’s CSA program is different, so while the following text is long, please take the time to read it thoroughly. We want you to be pleased with your CSA membership, so it is important that you understand how our CSA works before you finalize your application.
Once you have read all about us, and what to expect from the CSA season, it is very simple to become a member:
- Access the Member Assembler to begin your CSA application. *Please use the email address where you would like to receive weekly updates and/or other important communications from us.
- Choose your membership type and pickup location.
- Choose your payment option. Payment secures your membership and pickup location. Your application will be held on the waiting list until we have received payment.
- Sit back and think about all the delicious things you will be eating this Summer and Fall. We look forward to supplying you with exceedingly fine produce and getting to know you this year. Thank you for supporting your local farmer!
Section 1. Welcome to Vollmecke Orchards & CSA
A. Becoming a Part of Our Farm
We are very glad that you are interested in becoming a member of Vollmecke Orchards’ CSA program! Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is more than customers stopping by to purchase produce from us—it is a commitment between our farm and our members. You may wonder why our registration opens several months before the upcoming season begins. Winter is when we are ordering seed, planning for the upcoming growing year, and purchasing supplies in anticipation of the new season. We need to know how many members we are growing for months before the season actually begins. Your early membership fees go toward covering all of these costs. You can help us and save some money by signing up on or before April 10. All signups that occur after April 10 carry a $20 surcharge. This charge covers rush orders on additional seed, expansion of our crop plans, and the need for additional labor.
We are pleased to offer several levels of membership to meet the different needs of those joining our CSA community—we now have a Full Size Weekly Share (WS), a Mini Weekly Share (MWS), and a Bi-Weekly Share (BWS). Please read carefully (below in Section 3) to find out which one best suits your needs.
Throughout the season, our primary form of communication is email–we typically send an email the night before your pickup. Please make sure that your email address is correct so that you receive these updates! We will keep emails to a minimum, but these will contain important information on your share, farm events, crops and harvests, newsletters, and recipes. Check out our blog and Facebook page to keep up-to-date with farm happenings.
B. Our Growing Practices
Following organic principles, we grow all of our vegetables without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or sewage sludge. We are not a certified organic farm. CSA is all about the farmer-member relationship. If you have any questions about our practices, please just ask! We have a deep respect for our land, and want to do everything we can to preserve and care for it. We believe in nourishing the land, so it in turn, can nourish us. In our orchards, we practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management), a system that allows us to identify and target which pests are a problem, and use the least toxic control possible to deal with the issue. We use our own compost extensively in growing our fruits and vegetables. Soil health and fertility is further enhanced through the use of diverse cover cropping throughout the farm.
C. Expected Crops for the 2017 Season
Click here for a listing of the crops we plan to sow and harvest, and approximately when you might see them in your share. Farming is very dynamic; weather, pests, and other events affect production and timing, so actual harvests may differ somewhat from this list.
Section 2. Our (Farmer/Member) Shared Commitment
A. Sharing in the Risk of Crop Failure
Please keep in mind that in addition to the fantastically fresh and tasty produce you are signing up to receive, there are also risks involved in a CSA membership. We feel confident that our more than 25 years of experience have taught us a thing or two, and make us very qualified to mitigate many of these risks. However, when dealing with Mother Nature, there are always a few curve balls. The weather affects every aspect of farming. Sometimes overly wet weather prevents us from planting crops in a timely fashion; an early or late frost can damage crops; or too much rain during the growing season can prevent germination or keep us from cultivating and harvesting. Sometimes there is a complete crop failure (usually one specific crop or planting). For instance, we typically plant crops in succession, i.e., the same vegetable at different times to extend the harvest. It could be that an individual planting fails, due to inclement weather or pests, but other plantings do just fine–which is one reason we plant more than once. We have a small network of trusted local growers who contribute their responsibly grown produce to our CSA on a regular basis. This partnership helps lessen the risk to members and helps support other small local farmers. At times we may choose to purchase additional produce items from these farmers to round out the shares, at no additional cost to our members. Part of being a CSA member means that you understand these risks, and though we will do our absolute best to keep you from being impacted, horrible growing weather is beyond our control. On the flip side of the risks are the great rewards!
B. Sharing in the Reward of Crop Surplus
The biggest reward is that you are receiving fresh, nutritious, local, environmentally sound produce. The furthest your produce will travel is from our farm (or one of our nearby growers’ farms) to your front door. We are not a warehouse or a repacking facility. We are your local farmers working to connect you to nature and the growing seasons through your membership. Your produce is picked at the height of freshness, and because you receive it so quickly after harvest, you are getting it at the peak of flavor and nutrition. When our harvest is bountiful, you will benefit from the bounty. Other membership benefits include seasonal recipes, tips on how to use your share, the opportunity to pick select crops such as peas, berries, and flowers, and the ability to purchase other locally sourced/produced items (such as grass fed beef, artisan breads and cheeses, and wild caught salmon). You also will be invited to share in our pre-season Open House and end of season celebration.
C. Picking Up Shares
You are responsible for picking up your share each week, or every other week (depending on your membership type) from your pickup location (which you will choose during the sign-up process). If you cannot pick up your share, please see below. Pickup times for most locations will be from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Produce is perishable, and we want our members to receive the finest quality possible! Shares cannot be held past 7:00 pm at any of the sites. Unclaimed shares will be donated to a local charity, families in need or thankful neighbors. This community building is another beauty of CSA!
- Vollmecke Orchards & CSA (Farm Market Style), Tuesdays and Fridays, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Narberth, Anthwyn Rd – limited to 20 members. (Co-Op), Fridays, Each week, 1 member from this group will pick up the pre-boxed shares at the farm and deliver to the host location. Each member must take at least one turn (possibly two) per season picking up for the group. 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Station Taproom, 209 Lincoln Highway, Downingtown, Thursdays, 3-7 pm
Can’t Pick Up Your share?
Check out this Vollmecke Orchards & CSA special feature! If you will be out of town or unable to pick up your share, we hate to see you miss out, so we will defer one week’s pickup to a Make-Up Day at the end of the season (usually the week after our final pickup). To take advantage of this added value, you simply need to let us know by email, at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled pickup day, that you would like to defer your share. If at any other time you cannot pickup your share, please let us know ASAP so we do not harvest and pack one for you! Keep in mind that you can always send a friend or family member in your place. Once we have harvested and packed your share, we cannot offer you a replacement.
Vollmecke Orchards & CSA offers three share options over the course of the 22-week CSA Season. (All share options come with a “Make-up Day,” which is the ability to defer one share to the end of the year. See FAQs for more information.)
- Weekly Share (WS) – $820. 8–12 units*; picked up weekly; 22 share distributions per season. We have designed the weekly share to feed two adults with two young children, or two adults who really like their fruits and vegetables.
- Bi-Weekly Share (BWS) – $420. 8–12 units*; picked up every other week; 11 share distributions per season. We have designed this share option for two adults who consume a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables or two adults and two children who want to enjoy fresh local produce but only cook a few nights a week. Because our produce is so fresh, much of what you bring home will last for two weeks as long as it is properly stored.
- Mini Weekly Share (MWS) – $325. 4–5 units*; picked up weekly; 22 share distributions per season. This share is designed for a single person, a couple that doesn’t cook very frequently, or a family who wants to get their feet wet in the CSA world.
We realize that every family cooks and eats differently. Too much for one family is not enough for another. If at any time you wish to supplement your share, additional produce is available for purchase at our farm sales area.
Egg Shares. Egg shares are available for purchase at our off- farm sites only. . For those members who pick up at the farm, eggs will be available for sale from our retail cooler. Eggs are either from our own Happy Hens, or from our neighbors and friends at Highspire Hills Farm.
- Weekly Egg Share – $104.50. Weekly delivery of 1 dozen eggs (total of 22 dozen per season).
- Bi-Weekly Egg Share – $52.25. Every other week delivery of 1 dozen eggs (total of 11 dozen per season).
Working Shares. We offer a limited number of working shares. This is not a volunteer opportunity, but rather a season-long commitment and a chance to become a working member of the farm. In exchange for your on-farm help or other special skills, we will provide you with a full weekly share throughout the season. The time commitment is 5 hours per week (not necessarily all on one day), for 23 weeks, during the 2017 CSA season (for a total of 115 hours). Our work share members are important parts of our team—much of our farm work could not be accomplished without their help and enthusiasm. As such, we come to rely on them and require a fairly regular work schedule. Most of our work needs are in the morning hours during the week. If you are interested, please email email@example.com for more details.
What is a Unit of Produce? What constitutes a unit varies according to the season. A unit could be 1 bunch of beets, a head of lettuce, a quart of potatoes, or 3 tomatoes one week and a quart of tomatoes another, or 5 lbs on yet another week—it all depends on what is ripe for picking and able to be harvested. As a rule, our greens are in 3/4 lb bunches, similar to, or slightly larger, than what you find in most grocery stores.
How Does Fruit Figure Into My Share? Fruit is included seasonally in our share distributions, though not necessarily on a weekly basis. As our fruits ripen, we will harvest and have them available. Roughly, this means you should start to receive melons in mid-July through August, peaches in August, and apples in September and October. We also have raspberries for sale starting in late June throughout the summer, and blackberries for sale in August. We have a Pick-Your-Own raspberry and blackberry patch. Members may pick for a nominal fee.
We accept the following methods of payment:
- Member Assembler Payments (subject to a 1.5% transaction fee). Member Assembler Payments allow you to pay online using your Visa or MasterCard. After paying an initial $150 deposit to hold your membership, set up automatic payments that are charged to your credit card account over a period of three months (June, July and August).
- Dwolla (no fee). Pay in full. Similar to an e-check (you can sign up to become a Dwolla member, or checkout as a guest). Pay in full.
- Personal Check (email invoice). Pay in full, or spread out payments over 3 months; a $150 down payment and $25 administrative fee are due at signup if you choose to pay in installments.
To secure your membership and your pickup location, please be sure to sign up before April 15th. Membership positions and locations are filled on a first-come first-served basis, with the Farm pickups usually selling out first. Early registration is the best way to ensure the day of the week and location you want. After April 10th a $20 surcharge will apply to all memberships. This fee exists to cover the farm’s expenses associated with adding late members to the schedule, ordering more seed, and making crop and field changes—the closer we get to June, the more time we need to be in the fields growing your food! Your early sign-up is greatly appreciated!
- Pay in full. Pay the full amount of your membership using Dwolla or a personal check (Invoice option). Your membership and pickup location will be secured once your payment is received. Your early enrollment is very much appreciated! **IMPORTANT** During Step 1. of checkout, apply the coupon code NOFEE2017 to remove the $25 administrative fee from your total.
- Pay in 3 installments by check. A $150 down payment is due upon signup. (A $25 administrative fee will be added to this option). We will email an invoice for the following three payments approximately 1 week before they are due. The remaining payments will be due June 15th, July 15th, and August 15th.
- Pay in 3 installments online using your Visa or MasterCard with our Member Assembler Payments. (Online credit card payments subject to a 1.5% online transaction fee). A $150 down payment is due upon signup. Member Assembler will then generate a payment schedule for you, with the remaining payments spread over three months: June 15th, July 15th, and August 15th. Funds will automatically be charged to your credit card on those dates. **IMPORTANT** During Step 1. of checkout, apply the coupon code NOFEE2017 to remove the $25 administrative fee from your total.
Failure to pay an installment, or the total membership fee by August 15th can result in suspension of your membership.
Your membership and pickup location will be held once payment is received; if no payment is received within 10 days of signup, your membership will be moved to the waiting list. If you have chosen to pay by check, please make it payable to Vollmecke Orchards & CSA — your membership position and pickup location will be secured once payment has been received.
Mail to: Vollmecke Orchards CSA, 155 Cedar Knoll Road, West Brandywine, PA 19320
See our FAQs, send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call (610) 383-4616. Email is usually the best and fastest way to get a response! Keep in mind that we are usually out farming, so if you do not reach us, please be sure to leave a message; we will return your call as soon as we can.