Member Handbook

Welcome to the Denison Farm CSA 2017 season.

Last year Denison Farm CSA consisted of a group of 500 members. This season we anticipate the same and look forward to providing families in the Capital Region with locally grown, certified organic produce. We are farming 25 acres of Certified Organic vegetables, strawberries, melons, herbs, and cover crops in the most sustainable and ecological way we can. Denison Farm currently is USDA Certified Organic, participates in NOFA’s Farmers’ Pledge, and is certified by Certified Naturally Grown. Please look online at the USDA Organic, NOFA and CNG websites to learn more about all three organizations. We hope that your weekly CSA pick-up will be one of your Summer and Autumn highlights. As with any season, some crops will flourish while others will be less abundant. We offer to you the fruits of our labor and ask of you to understand and share some of the responsibilities and risks.

Included here are guidelines and instructions to help clarify the process. Please don’t hesitate to email or call with any questions you might have.

For a downloadable (PDF) handbook, click here.

Hours and Sites

Shares will be distributed each week at the various sites listed below:

Wednesdays from 4:00-8:00:

  • Albany
  • Ballston Spa
  • Glenville (4-6:00)\
  • Clifton Park (2 sites)
  • Colonie
  • Delmar
  • Denison Farm in Schaghticoke
  • Halfmoon
  • Guilderland
  • Niskayuna
  • Round Lake
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Troy

Saturdays from 9:00-1:00:

  • Denison Farm
  • Saratoga Farmers’ Market
  • Troy Farmers’ Market

CSA members must pick up their shares at the site that they have selected on the membership agreement form. We are not able to make switches from one site to another due to the number of families involved. This guideline is necessary to avoid any miscalculations and to maintain planning and harvesting efficiencies.

Please be respectful of your CSA site. If you are picking up at a member’s home, a store, or at a church, we ask that you leave the site picked up, clean, and tidy. We encourage you to help straighten out the returned boxes or pick up any stray debris.

*Please note that all shares not picked up at either the end of the market or by 8:00 at a host site will be donated to either the local food pantry or to the Squash Hunger program.

Check-In

Please check your name off on the list under the correct date each week. A clipboard for each share (vegetable, egg, and fruit) with all of the members’ names will remain at each site. Please email or call me immediately if your name is not on the list. We will also have at each site a board listing the vegetables in your share along with any farm updates.

Bags and Boxes

In an effort to re-use and recycle, we ask that you return the boxes the following week. The boxes are easy to break down so that they lie flat and thus pile easily at the distribution sites. A video can be found on our website demonstrating the technique of breaking down a box. We also recommend bringing your own bags and unpack your CSA box right there

*Remember the TABS when assembling or breaking down the boxes. The tabs get tucked into the slots. If you grab the flaps of the box and pull, the tabs tear. Then the boxes can no longer be recycled for later use. Please pile the boxes neatly in the designated spot.

Recipes

Recipes will appear in each newsletter and are available on our website. We would love to put together a Denison Farm Cookbook. Please let Justine know if you are interested.

Missed Pick-Ups

We harvest each week for the exact number of CSA Members at each site. If you do not pick up your share, food may be wasted. We suggest that if you are not able to pick up your share that you offer your box to a friend, neighbor, family member, or coworker. Any share not picked up will be donated to either a local food pantry or to the Squash Hunger program.

Pets

For the safety of everyone working, visiting, or picking up a share and for the well being of our chickens and our own pets, we recommend that all of your faithful dog friends stay at home or in the car.

Splitting a Share

Many CSA members split their weekly share with a friend, co-worker, or another family. If you wish to split your share with another person or family, we ask that you search for your share partner. You are also welcome to ask Justine to help you in your search for a share partner. We ask that one member be the primary contact who then can forward any of the newsletters and updates to the other share partners.

Book Keeping

Please take care of your share payments. Either print out two copies of the membership agreement form or make notes of what and when you have paid. As farmers, we want to focus on your vegetables and will rely on you to take care of your own accounting.

Children At The Farm

Denison Farm can be a wonderful place for families to come and take a walk, picnic, or help out in the fields. We ask that Parents supervise their children at all times. Please be aware that we use electric deer fencing and that equipment must be off limits to all children. An adult or parent must accompany children when seeing the animals or if walking to the creek. You are welcome to spoil the chickens with fruit or popcorn (they are especially fond of grapes).

Working Members

Working Members are required to work a total of 8 hours during the season. We work Monday through Saturday from 7:00 – 6:00.

We recommend that you come several times and work in the morning. But we are flexible and will welcome you most anytime that fits your schedule. We also suggest that you call to confirm the night before you plan to come out to the farm. For example, we might agree that you come on June 23 in the afternoon – but it turns out that severe thunderstorms are predicted and everyone has quit for the day. Or perhaps Brian is out on the tractor doing a very important planting so that you get lettuce in late July and won’t be around to work with you.

We will have plenty of work all season at the farm and at the Farmer’s Markets. I often send out SOS emails with pleas for help at certain crucial times.

Here are some tips when coming out to the farm:

  • Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Boots are a good idea for you may get muddy. Wearing layers is also recommended so that you can adjust to the ever-changing temperatures and weather. Rain gear and extra clothing may also come in handy.
  • Gloves are suggested for those with sensitive skin and hands.
  • If you use sunscreen and bug repellent, please bring some along with you.
  • Remember your water bottle and nutritious snacks/lunch.
Storage

It is best to wash all of your vegetables right before using. Store most vegetables (greens, leeks, cabbage, celeriac, carrots, beets) in the crisper of your refrigerator (about 40 degrees).

Not-yet-ripe tomatoes will ripen on a windowsill.

Potatoes, onions, garlic, and winter squash do well in a cool, dark place (50-60 degrees). Be especially careful to keep potatoes away from the light. If they are exposed to light, the flesh may turn green near the surface. Do not eat this part; it is toxic.

Perforated plastic bags work well for scallions, cooking and salad greens, beets, leeks, celeriac, and carrots (without tops). Regular plastic bags don’t breathe and may encourage spoilage. Close your bags loosely without pushing down or cramping your vegetables.

Reading Resources

(as recommended by the Poughkeepsie Farm Project)

  • From Asparagus to Zucchini: The CSA Cookbook
  • Greene on Greens, Bert Greene
  • Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford
  • Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
  • Putting Food By (on canning, curing, pickling, etc.), Greene, Hertzberg, and Vaughan
  • Root Cellaring, Mike and Nancy Bubel
  • Stocking up, Carol Hupping and the Rodale Food Center
  • The New Laurel’s Kitchen, Robertson, Flinders and Ruppenthal
  • The Simply Grande Gardening Cookbook, Jean Ann Pollard
  • The Victory Garden Cookbook, Marian Morash
  • Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison
  • World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Radical Homemakers, by Shannon Hayes
  • Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

Justine’s Favorite: Farmer John’s Cookbook (The Real Dirt On Vegetables), John Petersen

Sign up for the 2017 CSA Today

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