CSA Member Agreement
low-down on shared community and risk
Owl’s Nest Farm
CSA Member Agreement for 2017
Welcome to Owl’s Nest Farm
Greetings from Upper Marlboro, Maryland! We’re Liz and Spencer. We thrive as farmers and people thanks to the support of our community of fresh-food eaters. No two years are alike on a farm, but there are certain perks of being a CSA member that you can count on - like fresh vegetables, friendly farmers, and opportunities to learn about how your food is produced. This agreement explains what it means to join our CSA. Please read it carefully and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a relationship between customers and producers in which everyone shares the risks and rewards of farming. CSA customers are shareholders who pay in advance for a portion, or share, of foods that will be harvested throughout the season.
Our 2017 CSA season is 22 weeks, from late May through late October. During this time, we bring shares to our CSA pickup locations on a weekly schedule and you come to your chosen location to pick up your food. If you buy a full share, you pick up a share once per week. If you buy a half share, you pick up a share every other week. If you miss a pickup, we give your share to someone you send in your place.
CSA Share Contents
We strive to offer 8-10 items per week in the CSA share and to provide you with a wide variety of vegetables throughout the season. Shares at the beginning of the season are typically lighter than shares later in the summer. Each week, we tell you which vegetables are almost finished, which ones are at peak production, and what we think will be ready soon. When you pick up your share, you have some choices about what to take.
Here are some of the vegetables we’re growing this season and when we expect them to be in the CSA shares:
Spring: Arugula, beets, broccoli raab, bunching onions, carrots, chard, collards, cabbage, garlic scapes and scallions, kale, lettuce, peas, radishes, spicy mesclun mix, spinach, strawberries, tat soi, turnips, herbs, and seedlings.
Summer: Basil, beans, chard, hot peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash.
Fall: Remaining summer crops, plus broccoli raab, napa cabbage, carrots, chard, collards, kale, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, spicy mesclun mix, spinach, sweet potatoes, tat soi, turnips, and winter squash.
If we include any items in the CSA shares that we didn’t grow ourselves, we’ll tell you about them. For example, we don't grow many onions or much garlic, because the previous grower on our land had serious problems with allium pests, so we may source these items from other area farms. We’ll be able to tell you where items came from and how they were produced.
Sharing the Risks and Rewards of Farming
We want your CSA membership to be a great value and a great experience. We’ll do everything we can to ensure an abundant share for you. However, we cannot guarantee how well crops will produce or exactly what the CSA share will include from week to week. Extreme temperatures, too much rain, drought, four- and six-legged pests, weeds, and plant diseases can all lower vegetable yields. When a crop thrives, you’ll have lots of opportunities to enjoy it. When a crop suffers, you’ll receive less of that crop. We appreciate your willingness to share these risks with us.
CSA Share Pickups
You’re responsible for picking up your CSA share from your chosen location. Plan to spend about 10 minutes at the pickup. An Owl's Nest Farmer will be present to answer your questions. Members who buy a full share come every week. Members who buy a half share come every other week.
If you are a half shareholder, we'll send you your pickup dates for the season in May. If you're unable to make a pickup and want to switch weeks or pickup sites, please let us know at least 48 hours before the pickup you will miss and we can plan for you to come on a different week.
In the unlikely event that only a few people buy shares for a given pickup location, we reserve the right to move that pickup to another location. In this situation, we'll contact everyone who's bought a share for the location in question before the harvest season begins and discuss our options.
We'll share the contact information for the farmer hosting your pickup each week. If you're running late on a pickup day, let them know as soon as possible and they may be able to leave a share for you.
As a CSA member, you agree to:
Bring your own bags to carry your bounty! We don’t pack boxes or bags for you. Instead, we set up like a farmers market and provide instructions and choices about what to take.
Be respectful of our pickup site hosts’ property, patrons, and neighbors.
Pick up your share within the stated time frame. If there’s ever a day when you can’t pick up your share, you may send someone else to pick it up for you.
Shareholders who pick up on-farm receive boxed shares, rather than the market-style pickup, but we still offer you the same produce choices as other shareholders. After you receive our weekly email, email us to let us know what you'd like in your box. As long as we receive your email within 48 hours of pickup time, we can ensure you get the item you want.
Our Growing Practices
We’re Certified Naturally Grown (CNG). The land we lease has been CNG certified since 2013 and has been managed according to organic guidelines since 2011.
Here is a quick overview of our growing practices. If you’d like additional information, please let us know.
Soil fertility: We test our soil annually and amend it according to those test results. We maintain soil fertility by rotating crops, planting cover crops, and applying organically-approved fertilizers and micronutrients. The products we use include blood meal, fish emulsion, compost, lime, kelp, and a number of mineral supplements.
Weed control: We block weeds with landscape fabric (woven, reusable, plastic fabric), BioTelo (biodegradable plastic), straw mulch, and cover crops. When weeds appear among our vegetable crops, we remove them by hand, with hoes and other hand tools, and with tractor-mounted cultivators.
Pest control: We plant flowering farmscapes and cover crops to attract beneficial insects to the areas around our crops. We hand-pick pests and sometimes buy beneficial insects to be released where pest populations are causing crop loss. When necessary, we spray our crops with organically-approved controls, including Bacillus thuringiensis and Safer Insecticidal Soap. Rotating our vegetable crops also helps with pest control.
Plant diseases: We manage plant diseases by balancing soil nutrients, rotating vegetable crops, planting cover crops, and removing severely infected plants.
Buying a CSA Share
Buying a CSA share before the harvest season begins is a huge help to us. Having income early in the year enables us to purchase the seeds and equipment we need for the upcoming season.
For the 2017 season, CSA shares prices are
$675 for a full share, and
$340 for a half share.
You may pay by check or credit card.
To pay by credit card, visit our website.
To pay by check, mail a check payable to Owl’s Nest Farm to 2612 Ritchie Marlboro Road, Upper Marlboro MD 20774.
Thank you for investing in our farm. We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing you delicious, fresh, seasonal, healthy vegetables.
Communicating with Us
We invite you to contact us with questions, feedback, concerns, recipes, etc. You may reach us via email or phone:
Our email address is farmers[at]owls-nest-farm[dot]com
The best phone number for us is (847) 989-2347
We do our best to respond to email messages and phone calls within two business days.
We’ll communicate with you by email. When you buy a CSA share, we’ll add you to our distribution list and send you a weekly message about the crops available that week, recipe ideas, and other farm-related news.
In the unlikely event that we need to change the time or location of a farm event or CSA pickup, we will notify you via email. Please read the messages we send you to make sure that you don’t miss important information.
- We may sometimes offer discounts or bonuses for CSA signups. These are only applicable at the time of purchase and cannot be used retroactively.
- Your CSA purchase is non-refundable. If you have a significant change in your life (i.e. you're moving out of the area), let us know.
- We try to make the same options available at every pickup site each week. However, we may make minor adjustments based on crop availability, and we'll always to our best to make sure every shareholder receives shares of equal value.
By checking the Member Agreement box on the CSA signup form, you are declaring the following:
I have read this Agreement and accept the terms outlined herein. I understand that the Farm may need to make changes to this Agreement from time to time. I understand that Owl’s Nest Farmers will contact me via email in advance of any changes to this Agreement.