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~Please read and accept to become a member~
Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership between a farmer and the community for whom that farmer is growing food. It is a unique way for you to have a meaningful connection to your farmer and get truly fresh organic produce. Many members state that they eat healthier when they get a box of produce from the farm each week. From the farmer’s perspective, we get payment early in the year to help with our up-front costs and know how many people we will be growing for during the season. CSA cuts out the middle man in food sales, reduces the distance your food travels, lowers your carbon footprint, and helps us farm in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
The following policies will help you know what to expect from us and keep our CSA working smoothly for all our members.
High Ground Organics delivers weekly boxes of certified organic vegetables and fruit to pick-up sites from Palo Alto to Carmel. Members (that’s you) sign up in advance and then pick up your box of produce at your pick-up site during the allotted hours on your pick-up day.
- You are responsible for picking up your box from your pick-up site on your pick-up day during the specified time window for your site. If you forget to get your box, most hosts will leave the boxes out for you to pick up the next morning. Hosts will donate the produce from any leftover boxes after that. We do not give refunds for boxes that were not picked up during the posted pick-up times.
- If for any reason your name is not on the list at your pick-up site DO NOT TAKE A BOX. There are exactly the number of boxes at the site as there are members on the list, so you would be taking someone else’s box. Call our CSA Administrator Sarah at 831-254-4918 to figure out what the problem is. If the problem was our fault and we can’t get you a box, we will credit or refund your payment for that week.
- Please treat our host sites with the utmost respect. Our hosts generously offer up their homes, schools, churches, and businesses for us to deliver your vegetables. Observe any instructions at your site as far as parking, and carefully fold your box and leave it in a neat pile at the site. Try to avoid excessive noise, and of course don’t leave a mess or trash at your pick up site.
- Some pick-up site hosts make their contact information available to members (you can see this if you log in to your account). However, please only contact hosts with reasonable requests regarding pick-up issues. All sign-up related questions or questions about why you may not be on the list should be addressed to the CSA administrator Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org, 831-254-4918).
- Organic field-grown cut flowers (from Thomas Farm) are an optional add-on and are delivered in a separate bucket at the site. Please only take flowers if you have ordered them and they are listed next to your name on the sign-in sheet.
- We will occasionally offer flats of strawberries, honey, tomatoes or other items for you to order and pick up at your pick-up site. Please only take items that you have ordered and paid for. If you ordered it, it will appear on the sign sheet by your name.
Donations, Vacations, and Cancellations
- If you will be out of town or otherwise unable to pick up your box, we suggest you have a friend, relative, or neighbor pick up your share. What a great way to introduce the concept of CSA to your friends!
- If no one can pick up your share for you we can donate it, with 24 hours notice, to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, a local Watsonville group that serves free meals to the hungry.
- If you simply don’t pick up your share, the host at your site is free to donate your vegetables as they see fit. We cannot refund money for vegetables not picked up, once we’ve planted, harvested, and delivered them. Also the scale of our planting is determined by the number of CSA signups and we have no ready market for our produce if the subscribers don’t use it. So we hope you will either find a friend to pick up for you or donate your box.
- However, we are not heartless. If you will be unable to pick up your box for multiple weeks due to travel or illness, you may put your box delivery on hold and maintain credit so that you can receive those boxes later. Log in to your account to make these changes.
- If you need to cancel your subscription mid-season for any reason, (e.g. you are moving or simply cannot continue with the CSA), we will refund your money for the shares that you won’t be able to receive. If a refund is requested, please allow up to 30 days to receive it.
What’s in the Boxes
We are a diverse small family farm that grows vegetables and fruit specifically for our CSA. We are not a vegetable delivery service. That means that you don’t get to choose what we put in your box. We grow the best vegetables we can and do our best to give you a good variety in your box each week. When the produce is ready to harvest, we send it to you in your boxes. We have been told on many separate occasions that pick-up day can feel like Christmas or a birthday—members like the surprise of opening up their box and finding the goodies inside.
- We send out a list of what’s expected in the box each Tuesday in the e-mail newsletter, and post it on Facebook and on our website earlier if we can. This is an “expected” list. Since we do pick your produce fresh we occasionally need to make adjustments based on the reality of what we come up with on harvest day. If we come up short on an item we will substitute it with another item of equal value. So consider this list as a guideline, not a promise.
- All the boxes at the site are the same. You can’t personalize your box. But we do offer a trade box at many pick-up sites so that you can potentially trade out an item that you won’t use for one you will. Our driver will usually “start” the trade box by leaving an extra item from the farm harvest in the box. Please be sure to leave a replacement item in the trade box if you take an item out.
- For those times when Mother Nature prevents us from growing an adequate variety of produce, we occasionally turn to our friends at neighboring organic farms to fill out the box. From time to time, we also like to get you popular items from other local organic farms that we don’t grow– like Far West Fungi mushrooms or lemons and avocados from Steve Marsilisi. Any produce that is not grown by High Ground Organics will be noted as such in the newsletter.
Sign-Up and Costs
We use a web-based sign-up program. With it, CSA members have online access to their own accounts, so you can check on your subscription, renew, make payments, and access your pick-up site directions. Once you sign up online you will have an account with a password that you can access anytime.
- Our season is 36 weeks long and goes from mid-March to the week before Thanksgiving. We love it when people sign up in advance for the whole year, but we understand that it is easier for many people to budget it over the year. If you are making a one-time payment, we do ask that you pay for a minimum of 9 weeks at a time. This keeps our administrative costs down and helps us to plant the right amount for the number of members we expect to have.
- We have recently added the option for automatic payments. If you sign up for automatic payments by credit card or e-check, your credit card or bank account can be charged when your balance drops below the cost of the next week’s delivery. With this system members on a budget can pay on a monthly basis by choosing the 4 week payment plan. You can also choose automatic payment at 9-week intervals (or even 36 weeks if you wish).
- By choosing an automatic payment system, you don’t have to think about renewing your share. We will send you notices in advance before your account is charged. You may cancel the automatic payment any time by e-mailing us email@example.com
- The basic price per share is $22 per week with an optional $8 per week for flowers–that’s $198 for 9 weeks vegetables and fruit; $270 for vegetables/fruit and flowers.
- New members may sign up for a 4 week trial to start with to see if the CSA works for their lifestyle. The cost is $88 for vegetables and fruit/ $120 for vegetables/fruit and flowers. After the 4-week trial is up, we ask that you sign up for an automatic payment plan or pay for at least 9 weeks at a time. This provides more stability for our planning and planting purposes.
- You may sign up at any time during the year. Please note that your 4 or 9 week automatic payment may extend past the end of the season (November 14/15). After the final box of the season, the next regular season delivery will be March 20/21, 2013 and your subscription will simply continue then.
- Due to the mild winters here in California we can keep growing through the winter. However, shorter days and cooler temperatures make things grow more slowly and winter rains can make harvesting more challenging. We therefore cut down to every other week deliveries through the winter to a limited number of pick-up sites.
- There are now three ways to make payments: electronic check (bank to bank transfer) or credit card online, or check in the mail. (E-check is our preferred method for you to pay. The fees we pay for this are much lower than those for credit card payment.)
- If you like to pay by check, mail to High Ground Organics, PO Box 2601, Watsonville, CA 95077. Please make sure you mail your check in time for us to receive your payment at least 2 days before you’d like to start receiving your vegetables.
- If you need to change your e-mail address, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-254-4918. This is something you cannot do yourself from your online account.
~Thank you and enjoy!
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