Pick Your Own for CSA Members

Note: PYO is only available to Red Fire Farm CSA and Farmstand members.

As part of your CSA membership, you have access to our Pick Your Own patches.  The farm is family-friendly, so bring your little ones and check out our land!  PYO includes herbs, flowers, berries, peas, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, and more (changes with the season).

Late July, August and September are great months to come for pick your own, as by then we’re brimming with crops like cherry tomatoes,

basil, tomatillos, hot peppers, green beans, herbs, flowers, and ground cherries.

We’ll let you know as more PYO crops become available.

We have PYO limits to make sure all our members can get some of the bounty.

 

 

 

All Boston area, Hampden County and Granby members should now PYO in Granby from here on out this season.

Only Hampshire and Franklin County members should pick in Montague.

Our current PYO amounts for Granby and Montague are:

The PYO board at the farm always trumps what is listed here, so check the board when you arrive!

Frost has come, so the sensitive PYO crops have finished for the season; only the hardy survive!

Kale and Collards – in Granby only, 1 bunch per week per member. Farm stand members can pick at 1.25 per bunch.

Herbs – Oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, savory, parsley, remain in good supply in Granby & Montague.

 

GETTING TO THE FARM

If you have a car, share a ride! Meet some other local food loving people. You can post on our facebook seeking rides.

GRANBY FARM PICKING
Pick Your Own details are inside the farmstand in the center of the barn at 7 Carver St., including a map of field areas and a list of picking limits, and often containers for harvesting. Bring containers to take things home! You can come to pick any day at any time, except at night.
From Tuesday through Sunday, we usually have someone working the farmstand from 9-5. Otherwise it’s all self-serve.
There’s extra parking in the Brown-Ellison Park next door if needed.

PYO for Boston Area Members
When you come out there are usually two PYO picking amounts listed for each crop, one for folks that pick up at the farm and one for Boston area or further out members. Boston members can pick 8 quarts of strawberries at once, assuming they can only make it to the farm once for strawberry season.

PYO for Montague Area MembersNew Patch in Montague!
We now have a new patch in your neighborhood! The field is at 184 Meadow Road, in front of the greenhouse. This section is small, so it’s got capacity for Montague area members only! 

Please park on the grass along Meadow Road, not blocking any thruways or driveways. Also at head of driveway up to large greenhouse, not blocking the driveway. The shady driveway by the mailbox for 184 Meadow Road leads up to the brown barn. Pick Your Own details will be inside the brown barn on the left, including a map of field areas and a list of picking limits, and often containers for harvesting and measuring. Bring containers to take things home!

Self-serve. You can come to pick any day at any time, except at night. There will be a log book, so you can keep track of your picking if you are at the $300 Farmstand member level, as those members pay half of retail price for PYO items. Please tally your purchases as you go. PYO for CSA level members is free up to limits provided.

Preserving Parties
By the way, when you’re setting your schedule, if you like to make dates for things, I highly recommend planning a weekend or a day of preserving sometime late August or September. Make some tomato sauce, can some salsa, freeze some corn or peppers. Peach jam. Pesto to freeze. Watermelon eating party, what have you.
We send out a bulk order list once we have lots of things, and you can get ingredients for projects delivered to your CSA pickup.
Bulk pickling cukes for pickles are usually available from early July through the end of August. So plan to make pickles earlier on.

How-To for CSA Pickups

Here is our little primer for coming to get your share. This is a great thing to read when you are new, and to share with friends or family who might pick up for you during the season.

HOW TO GET YOUR VEGETABLES

1.    Bring your bags to the pickup location within the distribution hours.

Some locations have boxed shares – Pick up your box, and you are all set. We cannot reuse or recycle the boxes, please do not return them to the farm or leave them at your pickup site.

2.    Check in with your volunteer coordinator every week when you arrive, so they can sign you in. If these is no coordinator, please sign yourself in. For the first week, check your contact and share information on the sign in sheet to make sure everything is correct. If you have a fruit or flower share, ask the coordinator, and they’ll hook you up with it. (Flower shares don’t start until a little later in the season. Egg Shares start the first week of distributions. Fruit Shares will start the first or second week of distributions, depending on the strawberry crop.)

3.    Use the list of vegetables and amounts written on the white board to select the items that you want within the weekly guidelines. The produce will be displayed market-style in crates on tables. Some of it you weigh with the scale.
Special Weighing Note: We send various things by weight, with enough for each share at the pickup. Make sure not to go over the allotted weight or people at the end might not have any veggies left! Remember your neighbors who come at the end!

4.    Chat a little, swap recipes, and head out with your loot.

If there is a problem with your share, the site, or something missing - please contact us at the farm. We can work with you to resolve the issue. Our coordinators are volunteers who have donated their time to help our CSA program, they are not staff members.

*Please do not take add-on shares of eggs, fruit, or flowers unless you are signed up on the check-in list. Double-check the list if you are unsure.*

If you have a Farmstand Membership in Granby or Montague or at the markets, you just select your items from the stand towards your membership amount.

All the CSA pickup locations with times are on the website for reference.

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The Swap Box

At most of the CSA pickups the coordinator has time to set up a “swap box.” This is essentially a crate with one share worth of produce where people can make swaps item-for-item. Trade your bunch of kale for a couple summer squash, or vice versa.

If your volunteer coordinator hasn’t had time to set up the swap box, you can ask them if you can help by setting up the box and labeling it. Then you can make a swap and head out!

If you have something you really would like to exchange, and don’t have a swap box option around, don’t be shy to give a little shout to your fellow members “Would anyone want to trade something for my fennel?!” More often than not you will find a taker if folks are around at the same time as you.

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What Will Be in the Share? – It’s a Guesstimate!

We send out a guesstimate of what will be in the share in the weekly e-mail, which we try to get out early in the week on Monday night or Tuesday so you can start thinking about what to make. The share list in the email is based on our weekend field tours and the harvest plan that we create on Sunday evening. During the week, what we find in the field may change the CSA harvest for that day, so while we try to give an outline of what is likely coming, what you actually get may be slightly different. All will be seasonal produce freshly harvested for you!

 

HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CSA MEMBERSHIP

1.    Enjoy the produce in as many ways as possible. Trying things raw, cooking new recipes, sharing with friends, preserving for the winter, composting for future soil, taking pictures, writing limericks for our newsletter :).
2.    Read the e-mails and newsletter, especially to keep abreast of any changes, and stay in tune with the farm.
3.    Visit the farm with friends or family to pick your own any time or for a special event. You are always welcome!

Etiquette at the Pickup

How to help create the best pickups ever.
One year, I lived in an apartment with my brother, and we referred to the “Spirit of Goodwill” whenever that special something was lacking (and we needed make an effort to do the dishes), or whenever it was so present it needed celebration. May the Spirit of Goodwill be with you!

 

PRACTICE PATIENCE

If your CSA pickup is one of the locations where everyone’s schedule seems to converge right at the beginning of pickup, or a line usually forms, please take time to get to know your neighbors, network and enjoy!

 

REMEMBER THE PEOPLE COMING AFTER YOU

When weighing, don’t go over the weight limit, because if you take extra spinach, it means the person coming at the end won’t have enough. Please be gentle with the produce while you are selecting your share!

 

GO WITH THE FLOW and BE HELPFUL

The volunteer CSA coordinator will be directing traffic if lines form, and you can help keep things going smoothly by staying in line, helping people arriving find the line, being quick when it’s your turn to pick up, and generally being aware of the flow and helping it along. If you see something that needs help, go for it! The coordinator will appreciate a helpful hand if the pickup is very busy, so don’t be shy to offer.

 

OBSERVE THE PICKUP HOURS

Please be aware of the hours of your pickup. The coordinator will usually need all the set up time to get ready before opening time, so give them space and time to prepare. Same at the end, they need time to clean up to get home in a timely fashion! Please plan to come by about 15 minutes before the end time so you will have time to get you things before close.

KIDS
Please make sure your kids are close by, safe and watched at the pickups. Also please make sure they are respectful and gentle with the produce and scales, and don’t handle other people’s produce. It is great to have them come and participate – kids are welcome.

 

BUILD COMMUNITY

How does such an amorphous thing happen! Say hello! Trade vegetables with other people. Hold a bag for someone. Rideshare with folks. Every time we are together it is a gift and a chance.

 

GIVE US FEEDBACK

How is the pickup going for you? If you run into consistent problems or anything you want help with, please get in touch so we can assist and fix things before they continue too long. We want it to be a great experience for you to be part of the farm! Likewise, if you are finding it to be great, please tell us that too, as we pass it around to the whole crew.
At the end of the Summer season we do a survey where we take crop requests and lots of details for our crop planning the next year, so think about your crop requests over the season and let us know!

 

OTHER CSA INFO

Rain or Shine; Same Time, Same Place

The CSA happens every week rain or shine. We usually hold the CSA even on holidays, as it is quite difficult to reschedule our locations. You always pickup on the same day you signed up for at the same time through the season. Except any announced exceptions through the year (good reason to read your e-mail ☺).

FOOD RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS PICK UP EXTRA PRODUCE
We organize to donate leftover produce to food relief organizations in the area. Any produce left at the end of the distribution gets picked up by a food relief organization right after the distribution hours close. So if you can’t make it one day, your goods will go to a good cause.

IF YOU’RE GOING AWAY
If you’re planning to be away for the day of your pickup, we recommend setting up a friend to come pickup your share. You could hook them up with some veggies for their help! This is a great way to introduce new people to the CSA concept.
Also if you give us one week’s notice, you can arrange to pickup your share at another CSA pickup that week – only use this option 1-2 times per season!

HAVE TIME TO HELP OUT SETTING UP YOUR PICKUP?
If you have time to come by and help your coordinator set up the distribution the hour before it begins each week, let him or her know and you guys can work out when to come.  A volunteer or two can really help make things go more smoothly at setup!

ARRIVE EARLY AND THE COORDINATOR IS STILL SETTING UP?
Don’t be shy to lend a hand! Sometimes the truck gets delayed loading at the farm or traffic prevents the vegetables from getting there as early as planned. If your coordinator is running around like crazy, he or she will welcome a hand writing signs or doing anything to get the shares set up. You can also help unload the truck in a situation like that.

MAKING PAYMENTS
The best thing to do for quick processing is to mail check payments direct to our farm office at 184 Meadow Road, Montague, MA 01351. You can also make payments online at this payment page. Here are more details about how to make CSA payments. Payments can also be given to our CSA coordinators, though these can take time to get to us and get cashed, as these folks mail them back to the farm.

PICK YOUR OWN (PYO)

During the Summer CSA Season, we have Pick Your Own crops at our farm that are free for all CSA members to come pick, up to the posted limits. We will have a link to PYO information in our weekly email, and a list of what is currently available. If you have a longer drive, organic strawberry season is a great time to visit, as is August or September for later summer crops. Save some dates now to visit!

PYO is a sweet BONUS for being part of the CSA
When we plan our shares for the year, we set a value for different crops. Over the season, we build each weekly share with the value calculated to make sure we give out enough produce. And over the season make sure that it adds up collectively to at least the share price or more. Our pricing for CSA vegetables comes out to a discount of about 25% off our retail prices. We make sure that we are giving out the full value of the share in harvested vegetables. PYO crops are not included in the calculation. So if you never make it to the farm, you are still getting the full price or value of the share coming pre-harvested to you in the CSA. We usually exceed the price of the share in harvested value each year too – sharing the bounty!

 

DO YOU HAVE A FRIEND SHARING YOUR SHARE
WHO IS INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR MAILING LIST?

Direct them to this link:

http://www.redfirefarm.com/mailinglist/index.html

Instead of ‘general interest,’ have them choose their pickup location from the list of options to get the weekly CSA email. (This only works starting in June forward for summer shares, as that is when we set up the lists for the summer)

 

Thank you for reading!

CSA Payment Plan

HOW TO DO THE CSA PAYMENT PLAN
Deposit and Three Equal Payments Over the Season

Please make your payments on time so we can keep our cash flow working! Split your balance up equally into three payments to be paid by the dates below (but you can make the amounts easy, like pay a little more one time so you don’t have .3333 cents). You can also switch out of the payment plan by paying your whole balance at any time if desired.

What’s My Balance?
You can find out your balance by checking with your distribution coordinator at pickup; they have a list with all the info! You can also e-mail thefarmers@redfirefarm.com or call 413-467-7645.  Check your address and info the first week to make sure we don’t have any typos! (and let the coordinator know of any changes we need to make). We don’t send bills, just email reminders to the email we have in our list with the share.

Making a Payment
You can pay by check mailed to the farm (preferred for us!) or through Paypal or Dwolla in our website CSA signup page.  Your payment should be reflected in the next week or two after we receive it on the distribution coordinators list at your site.  We will also always send a confirmation e-mail once the payment has been received and applied to your account!  Please call or e-mail if you have questions. Make a payment for the CSA Online.

Many people use Online Bill Pay services with their bank to pay for their shares – which you can set up on the schedule of dates below. Great!

Paying on Time Is Great :)
Please pay on time! If it’s late we may have to cancel your share until the payment is received, so please make sure to mark the dates in your calendar or on your fridge to make sure this doesn’t happen!  We love fresh organic veggies, and know you do too!

Payment Dates
For people who signed up to pay in full by June 1st, please send your payment for that date.  For the Three Payment Folks, Here’s the Dates to pay by for the season:  Please make sure all payments are received by the due date, so if mailing a check, make sure to give yourself plenty of time for mailing and processing!  Thank you!

Payment Plan Due Dates:
July 1
August 5
September 10

 

Thank you for your support!