Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Welcome to the 2013 Regular Season CSA

The following has been edited from emails sent to those who have signed up for the 2013 Regular Season Farm Shares.  We felt it would be useful if it were also on the blog for those who might prefer having a reference here.
Greetings from the Genuine Faux Farm

This is our first email of the season regarding the 2013 Regular Season Farm Shares.  For those of you that are new to the program - welcome!  We hope what follows will answer some of your questions and alleviate any concerns you might have.  For those of you who are returning - welcome!  We also encourage you to read what follows as there may be some changes or some pieces of information that might be of use to you as well.  We just ask that you be patient if there are things that appear here that you already are aware of.

Our phone numbers:

These can be especially useful during distribution days.  If you are running late, give us a quick call and we'll find a way to accommodate you.  Note about phone calls - be prepared to leave a message.  We will not drop tomatoes or watermelon in an effort to get to the phone.  We have changed phone service and have had much less problems with dropped or missed calls (hurray!).

Why does GFF need an email address?
We like to keep our members informed.  We use this email list to remind you of distributions and make important announcements.  During the regular season we will send out an email prior to the distribution.  In these emails, we attempt to predict what produce we will be bringing for you.  We do our best, but sometimes time runs out and you get a note the same day.

If we are sending to the incorrect email address and you would prefer we use another, reply and tell us.  If you are SHARING with someone else and you don't think they received this note, please give us their email.  We want all members to be informed.

Why does GFF need a preferred phone number?
If someone has forgotten to pick up a share (especially during the first few weeks of the program), we try to make a quick call to remind you.  This does not guarantee a call - so don't purposely test it.  But, we do want you to have your produce and if we are able to get to it, we make the calls towards the end of the distribution period.

Staying in touch with the farm.

We have a website. http://www.genuinefauxfarm.com
    Our website includes things like our schedule, recipes, event information and links to the things you see below.  If you need directions to the farm, they are at the bottom of our About page.
We maintain a blog. http://genfaux.blogspot.com/
    Numerous things appear there from informational to humorous.  It is simple to follow that blog by email.  Look under the sunflower, enter your email.  It will send you a note when something new is posted. 
We are on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/GenuineFauxFarm
   If you are a person who uses this, we try to put things out there periodically - often referring to the blog or other things.  We do not rely on Facebook because their software determines what you see unless you regularly tell it to show all posts in order of most recent to least recent.

Genuine Faux Farm events. 
We have three festivals.  We hold Tom Sawyer Work Days.  We may be at farmers' market or other events.  Go to our website and check out the schedule.  Dates for our festivals are already finalized, as are most of the Tom Sawyer Days.  Come be a part of the farm.  Check out our calendar here.

How Distribution Works
Cedar Falls distribution is held at the Hansen's Outlet (East side of their building - outside).  We place CSA material on tables that are East of the walk that runs right by the building.  There is an overhang there that should keep you dry if there is rain - but you may have to dodge a drop or two on the way to the car.  Pick up time is from 4:00pm to 6:00 pm on Thursdays.  Note - as the season wears on, we have a tougher time getting there.  If we are running around setting up, please stay out of the way - we don't want to run over you.  However, we have made a few adjustments this year and hope it will aid us in getting there a bit earlier.

Waverly distribution is held at the Waverly Farmers' Market (by the Qwest Building).  We place CSA material at the SIDE of the truck.  Things placed on our front table would be excess we allow for sale at the market.  Many days, there will be nothing there because all produce is intended for you that day.  Pick up time is from 3:30pm to 6:00 pm on Tuesdays.  Note - the farmers market opens at 3:00 pm.  We usually get there by 3, but need to set up.

Tripoli and Sumner members, please refer to the email, we will work with you to determine what is best for all involved.

There will be a check off sheet.  Please check off your name when you arrive.  It will have a reminder as to what size share you have purchased.
Bring a bag or a box for your produce.  This is our way of recycling containers.  If you need a nice organic cotton bag, we have some for sale with our logo for $5. 

Produce will be set out by TYPE of vegetable.  Each tray of veg will have a sign that gives an amount for standard shares AND for large shares. 

For example, the sign might say:  Cucumbers  Large 5  Standard 3
Those with a standard share may take any 3 cucumbers from that bin for their share.  Those with a large share may take any five. 
Some bins may have various types of veg in the bin.  For example, one bin might have cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.  If it tells you to take one, then you must choose one of those options in the bin.

We encourage people to talk with each other about the produce.  Ask questions of us or of other farm share members.  If you really don't want something, trade it with another share holder.  Or, leave it in the basket and tell us you are doing so.  If we know this, we may be able to offer something else in return because we know someone else left something behind!

When is the first distribution?
June 4-6 are the intended first distribution dates.  Given the very slow Spring, we will let everyone know if this must be moved back a week.  If that is the case, we simply go later into the Fall.  You will get 20 weeks of produce.

What if I have to miss a distribution?
If you know you must miss in advance, we encourage you to find someone to pick up for you.  It could be a neighbor or relative.  Tell us this is happening so we can be prepared to walk them through the process.  It could be another CSA member.  They can pick up for you and hold it until you get home.  And, of course, you could simply donate your share for the week.  In that case, some of the produce goes to the Cedar Valley Food Shelf, Cedar Valley Friends of the Valley and/or Waverly community dinners.  We do not give them the share as you would get it because their needs do not necessarily match up with a share.  But, we prepare excess so everyone has choice, so there will be plenty to give.
If you realize you are missing distribution or just missed it, give us a call.  It takes a while to pack up and we want you to get your produce.  However, if you do not realize you missed until much later, you have to assume we found a home for your share for that week.  You can ask us - and maybe we'll be able to accommodate.  But, do not make the assumption that we are still able to give it to you.

Ask and Tell
If you have a question, please ask.  We cannot help you if you don't direct us to do so.  And, if you have a problem with the program or the produce, please tell us and we'll do what we can do to make it right.  If there is nothing we can do, it still helps us to understand how we can provide excellent produce for you.  At the least, we can provide an explanation.  For that matter - we encourage you to talk with other members as well.  Sometimes they answer BETTER than we do.

Where does your produce come from?
Practically ALL of your produce comes from our farm (Genuine Faux Farm) with exception of early beets, carrots and sweet potatoes that come from Jeff Sage.  Jeff works for us to provide these products and is doing so for the third year in a row.  In all cases, we know exactly HOW the produce was grown.  We can answer your questions about them and we invite them.

Certified Organic?
The majority of your produce WILL be certified organic.  Any tag with the green USDA Organic logo will be certified organic from Genuine Faux Farm.  However, many of you know that an aerial sprayer hit part of our farm last summer.  Any produce from that part of the farm will be safe to eat, but it cannot be certified organic for three years.  Any thing from that part of the farm will NOT have the green USDA logo on the tag.  Also, Jeff's gardens are not certified organic.  However, the size of his operation allows him an 'exempt' status and he is not required to certify.  And, we vouch that all of Jeff's methods adhere (and perhaps exceed) the standards we place on our produce.  Even so, anything from his operation will have his name on the tag and no USDA logo according the law.

Finally - if there should be a situation where we feel an obligation to acquire additional produce (as we did last year after the spraying event) we will fully disclose to you where it comes from.  We do not anticipate a need to do this, but we did not anticipate having all of several of our crops destroyed last year.

Offerings of Extra Produce
During the growing season will offer special prices to our CSA members for extra produce for those who might want to can, freeze, etc.  Typically, we have extra green beans, tomatoes and other product on and off throughout the season.  We will sell some of this produce via the farmers' market in Waverly.  We also might sell some through Hansen's Outlet in Cedar Falls and we often sell produce to the Waverly Day Care and/or Bartels Retirement Center. 

You may now ask us how we can call this a farm share if we don't let you pick from everything on the farm.  The reality is this - we have learned that most people only want a certain amount of produce per week and our shares are based on those amounts.  Our intent is to provide enough to stretch most of you with a bit more than you might normally want.  But, we don't want to overwhelm.  We grow even more of certain crops to maintain a profitable operation.  For many farms such as ours, the CSA provides the basis for our expense.  Additional sales provide profit.  However, you should know that you come first.  If we only have enough for the CSA, the CSA gets the produce and there are no other sales.  Put another way, in a typical GFF year, standard share holders who pay $330 for a season get about $460 worth of produce from us. 

Why so much in this post?
Thank you for reading to this point.  A farm share program goes no where without the support of the share holders.  This much text may seem overwhelming, but there is much to tell.  And, we still will miss many questions.  So, ask and we will do our best to answer.  We believe in being responsive to your needs and it is our intent to keep you informed as to how YOUR produce is being grown by YOUR personal farmers.  It is our belief that more people need to have a stronger connection to their food supply and we hope this is a part of making that connection with you.

Rob & Tammy Faux

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