I think this is what makes a CSA so fun! The contents of your basket are somewhat different each week. Check out our Proposed Basket List for more specifics, but first, let me tell you HOW we create these lists. We have looked at hundreds of harvest lists from CSA’s all over the country. Our primary question when evaluating these baskets was, “Would our family look forward to eating this food all week?” I don’t know about your family, but ours simply won’t eat the same thing day in and day out.
So, here’s the philosophy we developed to create our proposed basket lists:
- Garden produce runs the gamut from vegetables that are familiar favorites (like tomatoes or snap peas), to more exotic, less-familiar choices (let’s use Swiss chard or arugula for example). Yes, an important part of the CSA experience is having a culinary adventure and expanding your palette, however, we focus on growing those vegetables that most people enjoy eating. At the same time, we do grow several vegetables that may be new to your family! We go to great lengths to balance the contents of your weekly basket so that it is brimming with familiar favorites, while still adding in one or two less familiar varieties that may become new favorites! To guide you through your eating adventure, we provide recipes that are delicious, easy to follow, and don’t require exotic ingredients. (You are encouraged to send us your favorite recipes for everyone to try – often, our best recipes come from our CSA members!)
- We also try to balance your baskets by considering which vegetables are usually used for main, side, or salad dishes. Veggies used for main or side dishes are usually more nutrient-dense and a better value for your CSA dollar. Our baskets give you plenty of opportunity to make a a wonderful variety of side dishes throughout the week. Having said that, we also know most folks LOVE salad! When in season, we provide a variety of salad greens and a weekly “salad fixin’s bag.” Summertime and warm temperatures also bring the welcome addition of fruits, like apples and melons, in your baskets! Once again, it comes down to creating a balanced basket!
- To make your baskets more colorful AND nutritious, we also grow several varieties of old favorites – with a new twist! Purple carrots, white and pink radishes, golden beets, purple snap beans, red cabbages, as well as colorful cauliflower. Did you know cauliflower comes in green, purple and even orange varieties? These deeply-colored beauties are not only a treat to look at, but are loaded with incredible amounts of phytonutrients!
- Included in many weekly baskets, you will find a culinary herb bag. If you are among the many who have never experienced the culinary pleasure that fresh herbs add to common dishes, you are in for a real treat! In addition, they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are not plentiful in most of our diets. We provide generous portions, so they are a real bargain! (Have you ever tried to make pesto with the paltry amount of basil in a supermarket package?)
- We trial several new crops each year. They will not appear on the basket lists, as their success and actual harvest times may vary in the micro-climate here at Fall Creek Farms – however, if all goes well, they will simply appear as a surprise in your basket.
- Everybody loves to see fruit in their baskets! We are one of the few CSAs that regularly include a variety of melons in our CSA summer baskets. We will continue to trial “exotic” and “fancy” types of melons; however, we have found that the old standby watermelon and cantaloupe varieties perform better in our soil and allow us to offer you a more consistently sweet product. Once apples come into season, we try to include them in your baskets nearly weekly (what’s that old saying about an apple a day?). We are also looking at planting everbearing strawberries in the spring of 2016. Depending upon their success, we may be able to include some of these treasured berries in your baskets also!
- From time to time, we also include a few fun items that we simply love to grow, like: ears of popping corn, birdhouse gourds, and luffa sponges (these look like long cucumbers, but inside there’s a marvelous sponge!). Also, for your holidays, we grow pumpkins, decorative gourds and Indian corn!
- For 2017, we will be co-operating with several other local farmers to assure you of the highest quality and consistent production. These farmers all share our commitment to locally and sustainably grown produce.
How much food is in a share?
Our 2/3 share is geared for a family of 2, while the full share is suited to a family of 4; however, it really depends on your eating habits. Vegetarian couples may prefer the full share.
Now to get more specific: Your share baskets will contain about 8 -10 different types of produce. Some weeks this will overflow your baskets (Picture a typical, summer basket: 2 bell peppers, a large bag of green beans, 2 eggplant, 3 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, a cabbage, 3 summer squashes, and an herb bag! Then at the bottom you may find fresh sweet corn, or a melon! Other weeks, you baskets will be smaller, simply because the vegetables take up less space!
We like to provide enough produce for 4-5 vegetable dishes, some salad greens and salad items (when in season), as well as fruits (also when in season). No CSA can provide all your produce needs (for instance, we can’t always provide onions during certain parts of the season). However, we were gardeners before we were farmers, so, like many serious gardeners, we have always placed our emphasis on season extension – thus we are usually able to provide many items that stretch the seasonal boundaries. With our new share, we can meet more of your produce needs, and save you money – all at the same time!
How do I know if a CSA is right for me?
Good question! A CSA may not be right for you if:
- You (or your family) do not like many vegetables.
- You travel frequently during the growing season.
- You don’t have the opportunity to cook 3-4 times a week.
- You are not willing to try new foods, or new recipes.
On the other hand, a CSA may be just the thing for you, if:
You value local food, and family farms. CSA’s are your best source for fresh, locally grown food. In fact, at Fall Creek Farms, most of the food you receive was harvested the same day. Joining a CSA also supports family farms. In the last decades, family farms in this nation have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Farming has never been a lucrative career, but, nowadays, few farmers can support their families. Tennessee’s proud heritage of family farms is no exception. Less than 1% of the vegetables Tennesseans eat are actually grown here. The CSA model supports family farms by cutting out the middle man, making it possible for local farmers to make a living wage!
You want to help the environment. CSAs protect the environment through healthy, natural farming practices. Most CSA-type farms, like Fall Creek Farms, use environmentally-friendly farming practices that sustain the land. We consider ourselves stewards of the land that gives so much. Healthy soil, teeming with earthworms and rich in mineral nutrition, is the key to good farming! We never use synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. In the long run, these poisonous practices destroy the land and our health.
You support farm education. Most CSA’s are educational. One of the most satisfying experiences we have here at Fall Creek Farms is watching children on a field trip, as they dig a beet for the first time and marvel that the root they pull from the earth is the same thing they have only seen sliced and on their dinner plate! Years later, these same children are still talking about gathering eggs and learning to milk a goat at our farm. Plenty of adults have the same urge to enjoy the fresh air and dig in the earth as a relaxing change of pace. This year, after several years of building projects (which always make a terrible mess!), we will once again be hosting a variety of on-farm activities for folks longing to connect with the land – fun events like our annual Open House, school field trips, and workshops.
We are also a teaching farm – students from all over the country come to our farm to learn to work the land organically. Thus, when you join our CSA, you have a hand in promoting organic farming and the local food movement for the next generation!
In addition to the reasons above, why do we run a CSA? Because CSA’s are about community. Relationships are the heartbeat of the CSA model. We have met some of the most amazing, wonderful people through our farming experiences. A lot of our customers also make connections with each other – many of our best recipes come from customers willing to share their ideas! Our Spring Open House is a much-anticipated event for customers, new and old, to get together for food, fun, and fellowship! Several of you have also expressed an interest in setting up volunteer work days for fun events like pumpkin, potato and fall basil harvests!
What is the “Projected” Harvest List?
The reason it’s called a “projected” harvest list is that we take our job as farmers very diligently. However, we cannot control natural forces like hail, floods or tornadoes. Even the best farmers have crop failures from time to time. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that all our crops will succeed, in spite of our best efforts. And so we do reserve the right to acquire crops from other local farmers whose philosophy matches ours. Some crops perform beyond expectation, while a few others will vary in harvest dates (usually due to weather patterns), while a few fail altogether. As CSA farmers, we are usually tending 40 crops, all at various stages of development. One of the phrases you will hear associated with CSA programs is that you “share in the risk and the bounty.” However, to try to reduce your risk, we reserve the right to purchase produce from other local, natural growers. And this year we are planning on designing a CSA that is more of a cooperative model with other local farms! This benefits you and local farmers!
Projected Harvest List
Spring Baskets Typically Include:
- Strawberries (limited quantities)
- Salad Greens: Spring Lettuce Mix, Baby-leaf Spinach, Romaine lettuces, and Arugula
- Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, English Peas
- Lots of Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbages
- Gourmet, New Potatoes, including Baby Red or Yukon Potatoes, and Russian Fingerlings
- Colorful Radishes and Kohlrabi
- Bunching Onions, and Red and Yellow Spring Onions
- Healthy root crops like: Merlin Beets, Golden Beets, Sugarsnax Carrots, and Turnips
- Asian Greens, including: Chinese Cabbage, Tatsoi, and Pac Choi
- Spring Cooking Greens, like: Collards, Kale, Mustard Greens, and Swiss Chard
Summer Baskets Typically Include:
- Snap Beans (we grow many varieties, including green, yellow and purple fillet beans, Italian, flat beans, unusual varieties like Chinese beans, and heirloom favorites like McCaslin and Lazy Housewife beans)
- Japanese or Italian Eggplants
- Baby New Potatoes
- Red and Green Okra
- Summer Squash (changes every other week)
- Bunching Onions and Bulb Onions
- Colorful Bell Peppers, and Italian roasting peppers
- All kinds of Tomatoes (heirloom, beefsteak, cherry, and more)
- Sweet Corn
- An assortment of Melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, or exotic melon)
- Tomatillos and Hot Peppers
- Peaches and Pears
- Some spring crops like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, and carrots are still harvested
Autumn Baskets Typically Include:
Our October and November Basket Listings look different because autumn harvests are a time of change! Summer crops die off and fall crops take their place. Your baskets will be very full by the end of the season, but don’t worry – many of the crops (like winter squash) will store for quite a long time (in fact, historically people stored many of these crops nearly all winter!).
Before the cold weather gets too severe, expect to see:
*Cucumbers *Sweet Corn *Beefsteak Tomatoes (also Heirloom and Colored Varieties)
*Colored Bell Peppers and Italian Roasters, and Hot Peppers *Japanese Eggplant *Okra
THEN, as the colder weather settles in, the harvests will change to:
*Carrots *Beets *Potatoes *Sweet Potatoes *Cabbages *Broccoli *Cauliflower *Winter Squashes *Baby Leaf Lettuce Mix and Spinach *Snap Peas *Brussels Sprouts *Rutabagas *Turnips *Bunching Onions *Radishes *Greens like Collards, Kale, Mustard, and Swiss Chard *Popping Corn *Pumpkins *Kohlrabi *Arugala *Red, White, or Specialty Potatoes *Asian vegetables like Napa Cabbages and Bok Choy *Special additions like: Luffa Sponges, Birdhouse Gourds, Decorative Gourds/Corn
2017 CSA Form and Agreement
I appreciate locally and sustainably grown produce and want to ensure that it remains available in Central Tennessee by becoming a member of the 2017 Fall Creek Farms CSA. I understand that Fall Creek Farms will do their best to provide their sustainably produced garden produce at the projected times. However, I understand that, as a shareholder, I will share in both the risk and bounty of farming.
My designated pick-up time and place: (Choose one only.)
____ Wednesday, 4:00-6:00 pm – Chattanooga, Main Street Farmers Market
____ Saturday, 8:00 – 12:00 noon– Cookeville, Downtown Green Market
Note: CSA deliveries will likely begin in early June (Hopefully June 14 for Chattanooga and June 17 for Cookeville) and run for 20 consecutive weeks (Thru the last week in October, Wednesday the 25th for Chattanooga and Saturday the 28th for Cookeville). Start up date is dependent upon early spring weather patterns.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you cannot pick up your share, you may designate others to do so for you. Fall Creek Farms reserves the right to donate any shares not picked up by closing time to charity.
YOU CANNOT “MAKE UP” SHARES BY PICKING UP ON OTHER DAYS OR AFTER OUR LAST DELIVERY IN OCTOBER!
Pricing and Payment Schedules:
Choose one share size option:
____ 2/3 share $500
___ Full share $750
Please choose a payment option:
___ Full Payment Upon Sign-up OR ___ Partial Payment Plan
For those choosing the Partial Payment Plan, the payment schedule is as follows:
Deposit due at sign up to reserve your share: $200 for 2/3 share or $250 for full share.
Final payment due by April 1, 2017:
Fall Creek Farms CSA sign ups begin in December 2016. Payment in full or part, AND a completed, signed copy of this agreement are necessary to reserve your share. Payments and agreements are to be received or mailed to: 545 Walling Road, Spencer, TN, 38585. Because we offer only a limited number of shares, we cannot reserve shares w/o payment, which are available on a first come, first serve basis. You can also pay with PayPal, please call or e-mail for details.
e-mail address:____________________________________________________________ phone_____________________________cell_______________________________________________