Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are different for every farm and community. At The Farmers’ Daughter, we provide our CSA members with the freshest strawberries and vegetables that we can grow, along with other locally grown seasonal fruits. The definition of “Local” for our farm is simple, within the borders of Alexander County; where our farm is located. That way, our CSA truly helps our local economy. Alexander County borders Wilkes, Iredell, Catawba, and Caldwell Counties. It is nestled at the foot of the Brushy Mountains and north of the Catawba River and Lake Hickory. This location allows us and our local growers to produce a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season. So, “What is a share?”, you might ask. A share is a weekly portion of farm fresh produce for your family. We offer three different sizes of shares and several subscription length options, based on our growing seasons. We offer the opportunity for Strawberry Subscriptions and Egg Subscriptions exclusively to our CSA Members. Our Egg Subscription members receive 1 dozen farm fresh eggs from 4 local growers that raise free-range hens. By joining our CSA program you will become part of our family farm community.
What is available during the growing season?
As a CSA Member, you purchase a share of our produce before the beginning of our growing season. During the harvest season, you receive a weekly box/bag of our freshest seasonal produce from June to November (different subscription length options available). There are 3 growing seasons during the harvest season: spring, summer, and fall. Spring crops include: tomatoes, Spring onions, carrots, and leaf lettuce. Summer crops include: tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, new potatoes, dry onions, green beans, lima beans, Swiss chard, peppers, sweet corn, okra, watermelon, and cantaloupes. Fall crops include: tomatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, collards, Crowder peas, kale, leaf lettuce, October beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Our Commitment to Each Other
When you become a member, you are dedicating yourself to being our customer for the growing season – therefore providing us with a secure market for our produce. Likewise, we dedicate ourselves to being your farmers. We will achieve this by providing your family with the best variety of nutritious vegetables that we can grow.
Shared Risk; Shared Bounty
Right now, we are starting the process of planning, sowing, transplanting, and projected harvesting for our 2016 season. Sometimes, due to the unpredictability of the weather, diseases, or pests, those projected yields look a lot better than the actual ones. We cannot give you a guarantee in February that we will have watermelons in July. However, we promise that we will grow a diverse selection of produce for the entire season. We grow a wide variety of vegetables and plant multiple plantings throughout the growing season, to help distribute the risk of crop failure and ensure that you have veggies in your shares. If any portion of the crop fails we compensate for the failed crop with others ready at the same time, as best we can. We cannot give guarantees; only God knows what 2016 holds for us. But, know that we are committed; putting our time, land, and resources out there for you. We will do our very best to bring you a beautiful and diverse share each week.
One of the premises of a CSA program is that the members share the benefits and the risks of the farm. The members do so through their financial support for our program. We provide the land, labor, expertise, and risks involved in growing the crops. The members agree to share the risk and are expected to contribute their share price no matter what the season brings. We will not refund CSA share money in the event of a crop loss.
The CSA members receive priority on crop availability over our farm stand and The Downtown Hickory Farmer’s Market. We appreciate your business and we are committed to growing for you!
What is a share?
We pack a “Farmer’s Choice” share of fresh produce from our farm and local orchards in Alexander County. That means, whatever is being harvested that week is probably going to be in your share. But, the items in the shares are set by us. There will not be an option to tailor your share to your own personal preferences. This is not a practical option for our farm. You will have a “CSA Swap Bin” at each of the pickup location, where members can trade out one item for another in the bin (1xper week). These will be items that are in that week’s shares.
Really Fresh, Really Local
Growing seasons have been lost in the global food market that the big box stores push. Nowadays, you can get “fresh” produce any month of the year. You just have to be careful to read the label. It might be from Mexico, Chile, California, or Florida. Here at The Farmers’ Daughter, fresh means we hand-pick most of the vegetables in your share within 48 hours of your pick-up day. For us, local is right here in Alexander County. So, if we don’t grow it (fruits other than strawberries), we buy it from local orchards.
Know Your Food, Know Your Farm
We publish a weekly newsletter acquainting you with your share. We will include some recipes, produce info, fruit grower spotlights, garden info, and farm stories in it. We also recommend that you prepare your kitchen to cook fresh produce. Here is a link to some recommended CSA/Seasonal cookbooks.
The majority of our crops are grown on our farm in Taylorsville, NC. We are not an organic certified farm. However, we believe in being open and honest with our customers and building relationships that last; based on faith and trust. We use a mixture of both conventional and sustainable practices to produce the best tasting strawberries and mixed vegetables that we can! Starting this season, we are building better soils through sustainable practices, such as: organic compost, cover crops, and organic fertilizers. We use only heirloom or non-genetically modified seeds and transplants for our crops. We utilize both non-synthetic and synthetic pesticides as needed; when a foliar disease or insect damages our crops to an unacceptable level. We spray about every 7-10 days during the peak of the summer season. We always observe the label recommendations for post spray harvesting. There are some crops, like lettuce, Swiss chard, and green beans that we do not spray much, if any; due to the post spray harvesting window being too high (It requires we wait too long after we spray to harvest. So, we just opt to not spray Leafy Greens or spray very early with beans.) We are careful with the products that we use on our produce. Our biggest reason is that our family eats our produce too; probably more than most!
Come Back to Your Roots
We all came from farmer blood; some rich landowners, some tenant farmers, some slaves or indentured servants. But, most people are disconnected from the farming ties that made them part of the land. We will reconnect you through stories of farm life. You can also connect yourself and your family by joining us for our CSA Kick-off party, a visit to our U-pick strawberry field, our Strawberry Festival in May, or a hayride to the pumpkin patch in October!
How You Get Your Share
The majority of our shares are picked up at our farm on Thursdays, between 1pm and 6pm. Customers just like coming out to the farm. They enjoy the sights and sounds of farm life; and sometimes the smells! We also deliver to The Downtown Hickory Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays, between 10am and 2 pm. You choose the most convenient location and pickup at the same day and time each week. You have at least a 4 hour window, during which you can pick up your box.