Veggie boxes - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It means buying direct, and in advance from a local farmer, and helping to grow a community of people who care about access to good food and healthy, regenerative farming practices. It means making a commitment to support me as your local grower, and to accept whatever is in season and available from the market garden, with all the vagaries and risks of farming. Your 'share' of the harvest.
who do the veggie boxes suit best?
If you cook at home most nights of the week, if you enjoy cooking and adapting recipes to suit what's available and in season, and you care about having really fresh produce, then the veggie boxes will be for you.
If you eat out a lot, or like to cook with a limited repertoire of ingredients, then you might prefer to do a smaller shop at the Saturday market. Likewise, if you grow a lot of your own veggies over summer it might be better to get a fortnightly subscription, or just sign up in autumn/winter when your own garden is slowing down.
We recognise that eating locally and seasonally can be challenging; this is not a convenient box scheme with produce sourced from all over the country. Some items you might be used to buying year-round at the supermarket are only available in the Otways for a limited season. We hope the benefits of eating truly fresh local produce and being part of a supportive community provide a deeper satisfaction than capsicums and green beans in June or tomatoes in October.
When are the veggie boxes available?
There will be 4 blocks of CSA 'shares' or subscriptions for 2018/19: November & December, January & February, March & April, May & June. A further share may be released for July depending on the success of the growing season.
How much do they cost?
They work out as $30 medium or $45 large per week. Each pre-paid share will usually be $240 medium or $360 large (but may differ depending on how many Tuesdays there are within each month). Halve that for a fortnightly subscription.
Do I have to pay as a lump sum?
That is our preferred payment method, but we can also arrange a weekly cash payment, working one week in advance. The same spirit of commitment is entered into for each subscription.
Do you deliver?
Nope! Pick up is from the Otway Food Coop in the Apollo Bay youth club on Moore St every Tuesday afternoon, between 3.30 and 5.30. You can also pick up from the farm gate in Marengo by arrangement. If a subscriber has transport or mobility issues we can work together to find a solution. Another subscriber may be able to pick up on your behalf.
Are CSA shares limited?
Very much so. Priority is given to returning customers, and then it's first in best dressed for the people on our waiting list.
What's in the box?
Around 8-12 different seasonally available veggies each week, reflecting what can be grown commercially in the cool-temperate Apollo Bay climate. Lots of leafy greens and quick-growing crops like radishes and peas in spring, fruiting crops like tomatoes and cucumbers in summer, and root veggies, storage crops like pumpkins, and greens in winter. We grow over 50 different crops across the year, and the veggie boxes are planned to provide plenty of variety as well as staples like carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and lettuce. We don't generally include fruit (the notable exception being strawberries in summer and a very occasional bunch of rhubarb), and don't currently grow large quantities of spuds, or subtropical crops like melons or sweet potatoes.
Can I choose what's in the box?
Yes and No. The Green Acre is a one-person operation and harvest days are crazy busy, so there isn't time to customise the boxes at the farm. However, at pick up there is a 'swap box' where you can exchange your least-favourite veggies for other items.
Can I pick up my box earlier or later than the advertised time?
You can't pick up early. Harvesting is done on pick-up day and the boxes are packed just before delivery to the Food Coop at 3.30pm. You can pick up anytime after 3.30pm from the farm gate in Marengo (by arrangement) but we don't recommend you leave your box until the next day, and cannot guarantee the quality of the produce if you do.
Can I cancel my share?
Shares are non-refundable, however in an emergency situation we will try to find a replacement subscriber. You are always welcome to transfer your share to another household.
What if I go on holiday?
Please find a friend or neighbour to take your box while you're away. Lots of people are thrilled to get an organic veggie box for a week or two. If you get really stuck you can get in touch, with at least a week's notice we may be able to advertise the box on your behalf.
If I am a fortnightly subscriber can I switch weeks?
Sorry, but no. Fortnightly subscriptions are evenly balanced across the two weeks.
What if your crops get wiped out by pests or an extreme weather event? Will you refund the subscriptions?
Part of the commitment to a CSA is that you share the risks and variables of farming with the farmer. Like any farm we have our share of failures from human error, pests, and nightmarish weather events. But because we are a highly diversified market garden across two locations we have a lot more resilience built-in than a farm growing just one or two crops, and it is unlikely that all the veggies would be wiped out completely unless we had a major event. In a scenario like a flood or bushfire we would either provide less variety, or pause or reschedule deliveries for a period of time. If we cancel the subscription entirely you will be refunded for any veggie boxes not yet received.