Belgium, WiRare Earth Farm

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: 

How much food is in a weekly farm share/How many people does a share feed?

Answer:  

When the season begins in mid June and for roughly a month after the weekly shares will be on the lighter side both in variety of items (5-7 different crops) and in weight  (lighter weight crops like greens are more abundant early on).  As the season progresses the variety of items each week increases (8-13 different crops) along with the total weight.

In our opinion it is relatively easy for a household of 2 adults to work through the beginning boxes assuming you are not picky eaters and are already use to eating veggies/whole foods.

The CSA share becomes more demanding and requires more time and thought in order to use up each week’s share as time goes on, especially if you have produce hanging around from previous weeks. Those folks that plan their menus and diet based on the CSA produce and are willing to eat all types of veggies will find using all the food much easier in comparison to members who try to make the CSA produce fit into pre-determined recipes and likes/dislikes.

We have a number of 2 adult households who use our share year after year on their own because they are committed to eating/planning around what they receive as well as taking time to preserve (freeze, can, dehydrate etc) what they don’t think they can eat fresh within a week. These folks have also been patient with themselves and the learning curve (that can sometimes take 1-3 years of CSA experience) involved in eating seasonally through a CSA.

Over time, members of any size household learn which crops are best to use sooner than later vs. which ones inherently have a longer shelf life. They also discover what works best for them personally in regards to prepping and preserving produce.

Changing the approach to how you choose recipes and prep food can take a little practice depending on what one is currently used to and what amount of time one has to devote to this. We (Steve and Debra Jo) spend a fair amount of time and effort on the weekly CSA newsletter in order to share helpful tips and info about all of this. Our newsletters are one part of our program that we constantly receive praise for and take great pride in. That said there is still responsibility on the member’s shoulders to investigate these items further depending on what you desire to get out of the overall program.

View past newsletters by going to our “Newsletters” tab on our website.

There are also numerous families that find it more suitable to partner up with another family and divide our share. This helps to eliminate the chance for feeling overwhelmed by too much produce in general and/or too much of something you just don’t want. Some partnerships choose to alternate weekly on who gets the share while others split each week’s contents. This is all at the discretion of the families involved. We encourage folks who want to split a share to look for a partner on their own as well as put the word out to us.

If you want to get on the farm list for finding a potential partner use the tab on the left side of our website.

Over our 25 years of CSA farming, we have learned that the majority of our customers want to see a good selection of produce consisting mostly of recognizable veggies/herbs/a few fruits with a handful of unusual/uncommon items thrown in. One never knows that rutabaga might be a favorite veggie unless given the opportunity to try it. So we will never stop growing crops like celeriac, kohlrabi, rutabaga, parsnip, etc but we will definitely limit the amount of these items we pass out through the CSA.

Question: 

What kitchen tools do I need?

Answer:

Invest in a salad spinner and a sharp knife if you don't already own them. These are two tools that make working with whole foods easy and pleasurable. Salad spinners are easy to find at most stores and make cleaning and "drying" greens a snap. A sharp knife (we use and recommend the style known as a chef's knife) makes cutting everything from tender greens/herbs to hearty root veggies easy and safe. Did you know you are more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife? Sharpen your knife regularly and it'll be a life long investment.

Not necessary but fun gadgets in the kitchen that allow one to be extra creative and efficient in the kitchen are: food processor, immersion blender and a spiralizer.                          

Question:

What tips do you have for 1st time CSA members?

Answer:

Keep an open mind and challenge yourself to try new foods and recipes. Humans are adaptable so you might be surprised at what turns out to be a new favorite vegetable or recipe. Our tastes can change over time so just because you hated beets as a kid doesn't mean you always will.  Don't beat yourself up if a few veggies end up getting neglected here and there. If you discover a forlorn bag of lettuce or turnips that was pushed to the back of the fridge take a deep breath and relax! A little waste happens. It's part of the learning curve and flow of life. If it seems like there really is too much fresh food for you every week then perhaps a neighbor or co-worker would appreciate a gift. Share the wealth when you can!

Question:

 How convenient is CSA?

Answer:

CSA was not built upon convenience. The concept originated as a way for community members to support a local farmer and acquire healthy and fresh food for their family. Being a part of a community that valued health, nutritionally dense food and the direct farmer to consumer connection are values held higher than convenience. Yes, in our busy lives we certainly want some amount of convenience and ease (a pick-up location near home/work, newsletters with recipes, tips about unusual veggies, washed produce that doesn't leave a field of soil in your home sink) but this is hopefully not the most important item. Please be willing to meet your CSA farmer half way in this relationship of bringing tiny seeds to fruition and the plates on your tables. CSA is a wonderful way to vote with your dollar and support small family farms rather than the industrial food system.

Question:

 What do I do with all this fresh produce?

Answer:

Read our weekly newsletters and check out these 3 great articles:

http://www.thekitchn.com/3-ways-to-cook-any-vegetable-in-your-csa-box-love-your-vegetables-205127

http://seriouseats.com/2010/05/10-secrets-tips-for-making-the-most-of-your-csa.html

http://memberassembler.com/hub/getting-hooked-on-cooking

Question:

 What do I do if I go on vacation and can't pick up my share?

Answer:

There are four options: 1. Have a friend or family member pick up for you. Just be sure they know the details of the routine. It is helpful to give them your host family's contact info in case they have any issues. 2. Have your share held at the farm over the weekend and pick it up on the following Monday or Tuesday. 3. Tell the farm you are out of town and want your share donated to a family in need. 4. Cancel your share for the week.

 

   
Rare Earth Farm
6806 Hwy KW
Belgium, WI 53004
Phone/Fax 262-285-7070

   Like us on our business page @ Rare Earth Farm

 

email: rareearthfarm@frontier.com

website: www.RareEarthFarm.com