Join Our CSA!

Frequently Asked Questions about our CSA, how it works, and what’s in store when you become a member.

What is CSA? What is a CSA Share?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In short, a CSA Share is a way for members to purchase local, seasonal vegetables and other farm products directly from a farmer, by pre-paying for a season-long series of veggie boxes. This supports the farm up front, allowing us to confidently sow, tend, harvest, and pack enough food for multiple families, whether a handful, dozens, or hundreds, through the growing season.

A share is your part of that CSA program. Your share = your percentage of the crops grown.

Typically far higher in nutrients and freshness, your weekly share box is full of just-picked veggies and fruits to take home and nourish your family. Its the easiest way to eat local, eat healthy, and support local farmers. By sharing the risk and bounty of the growing season, its a win-win for the farmer AND member.

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2021 CSA Shares Middlebury Vermont

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a CSA Share right for me?

Imagine picking up a box of fresh local veggies every week, grown, nurtured, and harvested here in Middlebury, and taking it home for your family’s table—food that was picked that day—that you’ve already paid for. Is that you?

Our CSA is probably a good fit if you:

  • Live in or nearby Middlebury, Vermont.
  • Want the freshest produce you can get, in season.
  • Feel cooking is time well spent and shared with my family and friends.
  • Feel supermarkets are too crowded. The less time spent in one, the better.
  • Want to support farmers who respect the environment, their customers, their animals, and the land they tend.
  • Don’t want harmful chemicals or preservatives on or in the food you put on the table.
  • Try to eat local, buy local, and support local farms and businesses as much as possible, so they’ll be here tomorrow.
  • Want your kids to really know and learn about where their food comes from.

CSAs aren’t for everyone, though:

For a more in depth approach to finding out if a CSA commitment is right for you and your household, take a walk through these FAQs.

When will the 2021 CSA begin?

In 2021, we plan to start June 24th. This will continue for 18 weekly CSA boxes, with the last scheduled box the week of October 31.

How much does is cost?

$575 for 18 CSA boxes, one per week for 18 weeks. It works out to about $32 per week.

I’m only here for the summer. Do you offer a half share?

Yes! If you’re only in Vermont for less than 18 weeks, we can pro-rate your share to fit your time in Vermont as low as 10 weeks. Just include your time frame details when you sign up and we’ll work it out.

Do I get to pick what I want each week for my box?

Yes and no. CSA boxes (we use washable reusable totes) are pre-packed and available for pick up at the farm stand. This usually consists of at least 6 staple items plus any available specialty items. After you claim your box, you then have the chance to take whatever you like from our surplus bin at no extra charge, located at the farm stand. NOTE: The first weeks of the CSA have much lighter boxes than normal. This is to be expected. Don’t freak out! You’ll have heavier boxes as the season goes on to make up for it.

What can I expect to find in my weekly CSA box?

We will send out members-only emails each week before CSA pick up day. Those emails will highlight the most likely scenario of that week’s box contents. We’ll post what will typically go into your box each week throughout the season. This is not 100% accurate since we can’t force Mother Nature to have exactly what we want on a set date. But it gives you a rough idea of when certain veggies are in season, what we classify as “staples”, the variety available, and creative ideas about how to use them. CSA member boxes get first dibs on everything we grow, and there’s always more in the farm stand.

Typical share box items depending on where we’re at in the season:

Kale, Chard, Asian Greens, Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach, Salad Mix, Scallions, Winter Squash, Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Onions, Garlic, Radish, Peas, Green Beans, Head Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Culinary Herbs, and more. One dozen eggs are included with every weekly box, as well as a bouquet of fresh flowers when available.

Member perks also include free choice of all the Jack-o-lanterns and decorative squash they want in the fall, and first dibs on any specialty crops.

How will I know what will be in my CSA box each week?

A few days before pick up day, we will email you the likely contents of your CSA box for that week, inside our newsletter. This list is mostly accurate, but there are almost always changes, especially since we have multiple harvest nights, weather changes, surplus, or surprises. This list will include tips about how to use and store each item, plus other useful information.

Is anything in my box certified organic?

We are still in the process of becoming certified organic. It takes a little time and can be costly. In light of that preparation and to pass with flying colors when the time comes, we do not use any harmful herbicides or pesticides on our plants, soil, or seeds, nor do our animals consume GMO feed. On the occasions when we bring in produce from another farm, all attempts are made to ensure they are purchased from certified organic growers. All seeds, starts, and soil amendments put into our growing beds are indeed certified organic.

What will I do with all the veggies in my weekly box?

Every week we send a members-only newsletter highlighting that week’s box items, how to put them to use with recipes suggestions, storage tips, and other useful information. We are also standing by for all of your questions about anything in the box.

How are you keeping us safe during the pandemic?

Your safety and the safety of our crew is SUPER important. Any staff that doesn’t already live here at the farm is temperature checked before they begin working. All crew are required to wear masks during harvest, packing, and pickup. The plastic CSA totes are washed and sterilized every week prior to repacking with fresh veggies. We ask our customers to wear a mask when they pickup their share each week, and anyone entering the farm stand is required to wear a mask and encouraged to use onsite hand sanitizer. Pick up can be in person (with masks) if you’d like to explore the farm stand stock further, or a simple drive-through. Just honk when you pull in and hold up your name sign (included with your first box of veggies) in your vehicle window, and we’ll place your tote into your trunk. The farm stand is kept spic and span, and has available hand sanitizer.

What if I go out of town and miss my weekly box pick up? Can I change my pick up date? Can I get it later?

Yes. If you cannot make our CSA box pick up day or time, you can try to make special arrangements. You must give us 2 days notice so we can make the necessary changes to our packing system. You might also ask a friend to swing by and pick up your weekly box. As for what happens if you “miss” your box?… It depends. We can hold your packed box for 24 hours. If you fail to contact us or are unreachable after pick up time ends, your box will be donated to the food bank after that 24 hours. We do not credit your account if you miss a pick-up. We ask that members do not make it a habit of missing pick up day, and to make it a priority in your schedule.

Give us a call at (802) 382-8704 if you know you won’t be making the regular pick up window of time, and to schedule an alternative method of collecting your veggies.

Can someone else pick up my box if I can’t make the pick up window?

Yes! If you cannot pick up your share yourself, simply send a substitute. All they have to do is give us your name. Please give a call or email us prior to let us know you’re sending a friend.

What if the weather is terrible on pick up day?

We define “inclement weather” as severe thunderstorm, hail, tornado warning, scary lightening storms – anything that would prevent us from safely standing outside. If it’s dangerous to leave your house, stay home. We will contact all members via email or phone with alternate pick up details.

Cancellation Policy

We’re so proud of our CSA and quality of the food we grow, we offer a money-back guarantee. If you are for any reason dissatisfied with your membership and wish to cancel, or if you have to move out of the area and cannot continue your share, please communicate this as early as you can. We will arrange a refund on a pro-rated basis.

How do I pay for my CSA Share?

We ask you to pay a deposit of 50% down once you sign up, or the full amount if possible. The first check should be sent after sign up. The remaining balance is due prior to the first pick up date of Thursday, June 24th. You can send us both checks — pro-rated for the date you want us to cash them. You can also pay via cash, cashier’s check, or money order. If you need to break up your payments into more disbursements, that is totally fine, we can work with you. Just call us to make arrangements.

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NOFA Vermont
Rural Vermont

Can I pay for my CSA Share with a Credit Card?

No. We accept credit cards for farm stand purchases, but to keep our costs as low as possible, CSA Shares should be purchased with a check, cash, cashier’s check, or money order.

Where to send your payments

Full/final payment is due by June 24th – the first week of our CSA pick up. Mail your check (made out to Next Chapter Farm) to 2571 Route 7 S., Middlebury, VT 05753. Or stop by the farm stand at that same address. Let us know you’re coming if you plan to drop in prior to June 24.

Can I come out to the farm and help harvest?

Volunteering is not required as part of your CSA membership. Certain harvest times require and an all-hands-on-deck approach, and we would certainly welcome your help! It makes the harvest go so much faster, and it gives you a chance to see how our operation works and develop a sense of ownership with our farm. On the occasion where we find the need for more hands, we will send out a bat signal to our membership and schedule some good old fashioned farm time.

Why do I need to clean my CSA tote?

To save us time on this end to scrub member totes, we ask you to help us out by pre-rinsing the bin before you return it. We will wash and sanitize it prior to filling with next week’s harvest. If you’d like to contribute to our compost operation, just leave your tops, peels, shells, cores, and other veggie scraps in the rinsed tote and we’ll put them to work in the next generation of soil. Produce scraps and egg shells only, and only from our farm (takes the guesswork out of “was this organic or GMO”?)

I am finding there’s too much food in my box that we just don’t get to. What should I do?

You may find that there are some veggies in your box that you just never got to, or that you don’t like. And they end up getting tossed into the compost pile. This can seem like a waste of food, and you may feel guilty about it. We want to encourage you to expect the fact that no matter how great you are at eating veggies, you will almost certainly compost a certain portion of your share this summer. It’s unavoidable. That being said, if you find that it’s happening a lot, we encourage you to find friends or neighbors to share with.

Here are some pointers to getting the more out of your CSA box:

  1. Share with a friend or another household if your family can’t finish the weekly box.
  2. We try to adhere to the Nopes checklist you filled out when you signed up, and if you find there’s repeated Nopes, let us know and we’ll fix it.
  3. Scour our blog, emails, or good ol’ Google for recipes and how-to’s to use everything you can. Even preserving or freezing is a great way to get all the bang for your CSA buck.
  4. Check out the farm stand when you pick up your box for additional or replacement items if you’d like. We’re super flexible and want you to thoroughly enjoy your CSA share!

How can I get the most from my CSA Share?

Check out the Farm Blog for recipes, how-to’s and more for getting the most from your CSA box. Sign up for our email newsletter which lands in your inbox just before pick up day – they’ll be jam packed with ideas and pointers to use all of the items for that week. If you still have questions, shoot us an email.

Ready to get a weekly veggie box from a local small farm?

Imagine picking up a box of fresh, local veggies every week—grown and freshly harvested right here in Middlebury—and taking it home to create your family’s favorite dishes? It can happen. You can do this.

Sign Up Today!