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 See below for CSA membership waiting list details.

What is a CSA?
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) arrangements are based on a contractual agreement between a farmer and a consumer.   The concept is that the consumer, often described as a "shareholder" or "member", purchases a  "share" or "membership" prior to the growing season.  This not only provides the farmer with capital to start the season, but also ensures a guaranteed market for their product and members can rely on fresh, local produce throughout the season.  As each crop comes in throughout the growing season, members receive a portion of that crop.  The portion of any given crop varies in quantity and variety as dictated by that crops' harvest .  The produce is picked up by members at the farm or at a central location.  As members of the farm business, members share the risks with the farmer of a successful crop.  In this way, the risks are spread throughout the whole membership rather than falling solely on the farmer.

Every CSA arrangement operates differently and in a variety of forms.  Some farms grow for a combination of outlets:  CSA, farmers markets, restaurants, and/or wholesale; some farms grow for only CSA members and split everything evenly regardless of quantity; some have a-la-carte systems for the make-up of the box; some require members to contribute labor hours.  Generally though, a common denominator among all  CSAs is that the members share in the bounty when the weather and other variables favor the growing of produce but also in the risk of poor weather, pests and disease that all crops are subject to.

Becoming a member of a CSA arrangement may not be practical for everyone.  There are several things to consider before deciding to join.  Being a member may mean reorienting your household's food habits and routines.  Produce you receive from a CSA arrangement are seasonal; variety is limited to what's in season.  Therefore, you will need to learn to eat in season with potentially new varieties of produce.  It may also be important to learn different cooking, storing and preserving techniques.  Members have to be prepared to deal with the food once they receive it before it spoils.  This is can often be a challenge for many new members.   If a CSA arrangement works for you, the benefits are great.  Besides enjoying, fresh, great tasting, local food, you become directly connected to your source.  You will be supporting a small farm and contributing to your local economy.  There is also the opportunity to see how and where your food is grown.

How does the Blue Gate Farm CSA work?
We grow high-quality, chemical-free vegetables for our CSA members and one farmers market with the CSA always taking priority.  
Each delivery provides a variety of produce we package in a box with approximately enough for two veggie-loving adults for a week.   When we have an abundance of a particular crop(s) we pack a fuller box than normal or bring more of it to the pick-up spot for members to choose from.  In poor weather years or due other dire circumstances, the boxes may be lighter than we would like.  We do not require labor hours on the farm but members are always welcome to come visit and get their hands in the dirt!  Events are also planed for social gatherings at the farm.

We have two distinct CSA seasons:  Summer (generally early June to mid October with typically 19 - 20 weekly deliveries) and Winter (November and December with typically four deliveries - every other week with a volume approximately one and one-half to twice the size of the Summer box).  Deliveries are made on Tuesday evenings to a central location in downtown Des Moines (for Summer 2013 that location was the Ritual Cafe - 13th & Locust) as well as a central location in Knoxville (for Summer 2013 that location was at The Next Chapter bookstore on the square).   Members may also pick-up at the farm.  A newsletter is e-mailed weekly to keep members informed about produce varieties for the week, what's up on the farm, recipes, etc.   A Newsletter archive is accessible on this website under the Newsletters tab.

What is included in a the weekly box?
What is in each week's box changes throughout the growing seasons.  The following is a sampling of the seasonal offerings.  For a detailed, week-by-week listing, look to the Newsletters.

  Spring Summer Fall Winter
  Arugula Basil  Beets    Beets
  Asparagus Beans Cabbage      Cabbage
  Broccoli  Carrots   Garlic    Carrots
  Garlic Scapes Edamame Leeks      Kale
  Pac Choi Eggplant Onions   Leeks
  Peas  Green Garlic Pac Choi Radishes
  Radishes Green Peppers Peppers Pac Choi
  Spinach Kohlrabi Potatoes Sweet Potatoes
  Sorrel  Okra Shallots Swiss Chard
  Swiss Chard Pac Choi Sunchokes Sorrel
  Swiss Chard Tomatoes Swiss Chard Spinach
  Tapestry Salad   Tapestry Salad Tapestry Salad
      Tomatoes Turnips

What does it cost?
                                                                                                               Summer 2014          Winter 2013

Produce (base membership)........................................................................ $490                    $240
Fresh from the garden vegetables (and occasional fruits).  Delivered
weekly in the Summer and every-other week in the Winter

                                 _________________________________ 
                Add-on Options (in addition to the base membership): 

Honey ............................................................................................................... $26                      n/a
C
omb or raw honey (your choice) four times over the Summer
or two times over the Winter.

Pasture-Raised Eggs ...................................................................................... $80                      $16
One dozen free-range eggs weekly.   A half-egg option is available
with one dozen eggs delivered every-other week for half the price.

Preserves ......................................................................................................... n/a                      $12
Two deliveries of your choice of any half-pint of our farm-fresh
preserves
, such as: Apple Butter, Ginger Peach Jam,
Gooseberry Sauce, or Rubarb-Huckelberry Jam.

Herbs ........................................................................................................... $45                      n/a
Freshly harvested herbs weekly such as extra basil (beyond what is
normally included with the base produce), chives, parsley, sorrel,
sage & dill.

Goat Cheese .................................................................................................. $140                     n/a
 1/2 pound of Goat Cheese every other week in the summer and with
each delivery in the winter from our neighbors at Reichert's Dairy Air. 
Visit their website, www.reichertsdairyair.com, to learn more about them. 


How to become a CSA member?

We are intentionally a small CSA with a limited number of memberships available.  Staying small allows us to insure the highest possible quality standards, strong customer service, and experimentation with some unusual produce.   

The Summer 2014 CSA is full.  E-mail us with your interest along with your city/town and we will place your name on our waiting list for future seasons.  After offering current members an opportunity to renew in future seasons, for remaining or expanded membership spots we contact folks on the waiting list in chronological order of when we received their initial inquiry.

Have a question or want more information?  Then please e-mail us at mail@bluegatefarmfresh.com or call us at 641-203-0758.

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Last modified: September 17, 2014