Pick-Your-Own (PYO) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
How does PYO-CSA work?
Read the full description here.
Do I have to come to the farm every week to pick my fruit?
Not at all! You’re welcome to come twice a week and pick small quantities, visit every week or once a month, or just come once or twice during the season and pick larger quantities for preserving (but if you’re planning that last option, please make sure you read these VERY IMPORTANT NOTES so you understand that some fruit types may be limited at times to make sure the different fruit types are spread out among the whole community).
Can I share my CSA with a friend?
Absolutely. We’d love you to. You could alternate who comes out to the farm to pick, you could pick fruit for a friend who is less able, or you could come together and have your weekly catch-up in the orchard!
What’s the best day to come?
The orchard will be open exclusively for PYO-CSA members on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 am to 4 pm. The farm shop won’t be staffed on those days, but we’ll be around. The first time you come we’ll show you how to pick, weigh, and record your fruit.
You’re also welcome to visit on Fridays and Sundays when the orchard and farm shop will be open to the public and the farm shop will be staffed.
What will I be able to pick each week?
The varieties that are available will change throughout the season (see the list of varieties here). We grow a lot of varieties, but only small quantities of some of them, so when they’re gone, they’re gone! Availability will be a moving feast each week depending on how many people come each day.
Can I decide what I want to pick?
You can choose what you want to pick from what’s available on the day you visit. It’s likely there’ll be the widest choice on the members-only days of Wednesdays and Thursdays.
In the spirit of trying to give all members the chance to try everything, we strongly encourage PYO-CSA members to spread their fruit over the season if possible and to try a bit of everything rather than taking their entire allocation as one fruit type.
We’ll send an email every week telling you which fruit is available that week.
Why is there a suggested price range?
In alignment with the concept of risk sharing, and following on from the system that our first orchard lessee Ant Wilson developed, we invite customers to name a price for their subscription.
The basic premise is that more affluent members of our community can elect to contribute more towards their share, in order to enable less well-off members to access shares at a lower cost.
How is CSA different from other food box schemes?
CSA is based on the Teikei Principles and is a risk-sharing, direct relationship between farmers and eaters.
It aims to address systemic health, community, economic, environmental, and political issues.
What does ‘risk sharing’ actually mean?
Growing food is an unpredictable business. Factors such as weather, pests and diseases, and natural disasters are often out of the control of the farmer.
If the risk is shared among the community, the impact is softened rather than one person or family taking the full brunt of it. Farmers provide crucial support for their communities by feeding them. CSA is about asking for that support to be mutual.
In the event of crop failure, each CSA member may eat less fruit or a lower quality as opposed to the farmer being stuck with a huge loss. This support network is required to help reduce farmer attrition and improve the mental health of farmers.
It is our job as farmers to be excellent growers, to mitigate these risks, and to improvise solutions where possible. Diversity of crop varieties, encouraging ecology, and value-adding are some ways we do this. CSA provides us with a guaranteed income so that we can invite in these solutions and build a more resilient farming system.
What benefits do I receive as a member?
There are three main benefits of your membership:
- You are buying fruit at a lower price than casual PYO customers or market customers.
- You have access to fruit on Wednesdays and Thursdays before the farm is open to the public on Fridays and Sundays, giving you ‘first dibs’ on each variety as it ripens.
- You receive a dedicated CSA members’ weekly newsletter with alerts about what’s ripe, recipe suggestions, and other one-off opportunities for members.
We may also host special CSA member-only events (which you’ll hear about in your weekly newsletter).
Why sign up when I can see you at the markets?
Aside from the additional value members receive (e.g., first access to premium or limited fruit varieties), CSA aims to address many systemic issues through collectivisation and solidarity (e.g., food sovereignty and solidarity economy).
But if picking your own fruit doesn’t work for you, we’d love to see you at the markets!
Please let us know if you have any more questions and we’ll add them to this page.