CSA Frequently Asked Questions

What are your farming practices?

We grow our produce using No-Till organic principles (never any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers), demonstrating our commitment to enhancing soil health, using resources efficiently, creating a safe working environment for ourselves, our farmers, and our volunteers, and growing safe, healthy food.

What is No-Till Farming?

The Earth loses roughly 23 billion tons of fertile soil every year. At this rate, all fertile soil will be gone within 150 years unless farmers convert to practices that restore and build soil organic matter, an essential component of soil fertility. No-Till farming is the practice of planting crops without tilling the soil or turning it over with machines. We have traded mechanization for technical human labor. Some benefits of No-Till farming are lower fuel costs, higher crop yields, less soil erosion, less evaporation of soil moisture, increased water going into the soil (increased infiltration), more fertile soils, more resilient soils, and higher soil quality and productivity. Agriculture is inextricably tied to climate change. Agriculture is estimated to be 30% responsible for climate change; hence, regenerative agriculture is also part of the solution for a healthy future planet. 

What is the difference between a small and a large share?

We plant a diversity of crops in order to provide a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to our CSA members. Shares contain different items each week, depending on what’s ready for harvest. Small shareholders receive fewer items, and larger shareholders receive more items. Large shareholders receive crops just as they come to harvest. Small shareholders will receive those items as the field produces more crop volume. Weather dependent, we aim to provide our customers up to 10% more value in vegetables.

How many large and small shares are for sale in 2023?

All shares are sold on a first come first serve basis and are limited. Sliding scale shares will be sold in the winter of 2023 when program funding is secured. 2022 households will be notified before shares are offered to the public.

What are Harvest Bucks?

Customers pay $255 dollars in the winter or spring to secure one of ten spots in this new pilot program for 2023. Customers will come during and outside of CSA season over a 30-week period to select and purchase vegetables during pick-up. The total cost of each purchase is subtracted from the $255. Any unused credit will roll into the next year. There is no physical debit card associated with the program. Weather dependent, we aim to provide our customers up to 10% more value in vegetables. All market rate shareholders pay a $25 membership fee to support our food insecurity programs.

How will my Harvest Bucks be recorded?

During the 16-week summer CSA season, a volunteer or staff member will record your purchase on our farm tablet during distribution. Outside the 16-week summer CSA season, the program is an honor system, and you will record your purchase in your neatest handwriting, and we will update your account.

What do you mean by “Pilot Program”?

We are trying this new sales model to see if there is a future market for Harvest Buck’s on our farm. There may be a few bumps along the road, and there could be rave reviews. Throughout the year, we will check in with you to see how it is going, and we welcome feedback as there may be space to make minor improvements. The farm will consider all input for planning 2024.

Why are your vegetables more expensive than the supermarket if they are grown locally?

When you buy from LCF or other local farms, think about the true cost of the vegetable in your hand. Was the vegetable grown from the one seed type used across the entire country and chosen only for color, size, shelf stability, and transport, or was it chosen for variety, flavor and its ability to grow in our region? Were the workers who produced that crop paid a living wage? Was it grown by an adult or a child? Were the natural resources of that farm managed and used to support the growing system or exploited? How much fuel and plastic were utilized, and carbon expended?

Society bares the “true” cost of growing vegetables not seen on your receipt at the supermarket.

The vegetable at your local farm is very different from the same vegetable in a supermarket. You are paying the true cost to grow food that does not contribute to water and air pollution, reduced biodiversity, or greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. Our No-Till organic practices means we hire more staff with technical experience and we do without mechanization. No-Till organic farming is more intensive, but we believe this style of farming is part of the solution to building a resilient food system centered on food justice and climate. When you buy from LCF or locally, you are not just supporting local farms, but you are paying the real cost of growing real food that is socially just, environmentally sustainable, and economically viable.

What is in a share?

We try to incorporate a wide variety of produce into our program, from the somewhat unique (tatsoi, sorrel, okra, pac choi etc.) to the traditional favorites (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, beans, and carrots). We grow for the CSA market, and we grow to meet our mission. Meaning we grow crops that are nutrient-dense, culturally relevant, and in demand by our food agency partners who support people from Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Brazil, Iraq and Afghanistan, and more. For those who have low access to nutrient-dense healthy calories, we prioritize growing and donating the best of the best – We all eat together.

What is in a Microgreen Share?

We are working on the crop plan but you can expect crop varieties such as broccoli, radish, kale, arugula, mustard, cress, mizuna and more. Some packets will be one crop type and others will be a yummy blend. Trust us, there is nothing like fresh local greens over a cold New England winter. Microgreens are not just a garnish; they are great in sandwiches, salads and scattered over a hot butternut squash or roasted tomato soup. Weather dependent, we aim to provide our customers up to 10% more value in microgreens. All market rate shareholders pay a $25 membership fee to support our food insecurity programs. If you buy a Summer CSA share later on in the season you do not need to purchase another membership.

2023 Pick-up Times (Projected Start Dates)

CSA Share, Tuesday afternoons, 3:00 PM -6:00 PM or Thursday afternoons, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, 16-week season. June 13th – September 28th.

Harvest Bucks, Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 AM – dusk, a 30-week season May – November

Microgreen Share This is self-serve and a 10-week season.

Session I February 4th – April 8th. Saturday 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (later winter pick up to allow for snow and ice removal)

Session II April 15th – June 17th. 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Flower CSA July – October, this is self-serve and weather dependent and typically runs for twelve weeks. July – October

Can I swap my veggies out?

No, you cannot swap veggies out. Nor can you swap a vegetable out for another of equal value. You may, however, purchase an additional vegetable. Our crop plan, harvest schedule, donation schedule, and shares are like a tightly wound clock, and being a very small farm limits what we can offer.

What if there’s a crop failure? Do I get my money back?

As a shareholder, you agree to share the risk of crop failure with LCF. You are investing in Mother Nature’s cooperation and LCF’s mission of growing produce to reduce food insecurity while providing educational programs and community. In the unlikely event of a crop failure, LCF will try to compensate for the failed crops by filling your share with other crops grown on the farm that are ready for harvest at that time, but there are no refunds. We ask that you familiarize yourself with LCF’s Farm Policy and our CSA Agreement.

What happens if I miss my pick-up?

If you are not able to pick up your share, feel free to send someone else to pick it up. Unclaimed shares will be donated to an organization.

Can I pick up my share early or change it to a different pick-up day?

In general, we cannot accommodate requests to change pick-up days or to pick up shares earlier.

Can I share a share with my friends?

Splitting a share among two households is okay with us, BUT we ask that shareholders take the entire weekly share in one visit to the farm. Please do not come to pick up your share and take a “partial” or “half” share. Keep in mind that our shares are designed for one household, and the contents can’t always be divided equally. If you decide to share a share, we suggest that you either come to pick up your share together, alternate pick-up weeks, or split the share at home. 

Why do you have a Membership program?

Littleton Community Farm has been made possible by supporters like you. Your support has allowed the farm to grow food for others, and encourage a better understanding of our food supply while building community. Members form the base of commitment for our mission and help to cover our basic operating expenses for our food outreach programs. Our farm is unique and your purchase allows you to participate in our mission.

Membership is $25 per household. Membership is good for 12 months and is tax-deductible. Join us, and
become actively involved in our work of reducing food insecurity and farm-based education in Littleton, Nashoba Valley, North Central MA and the gateway city of Lowell. 

If you purchase a Microgreen CSA and then purchase a Summer CSA share you do not need to purchase another membership. Memberships are not required for flowers.

Do you accept SNAP with the HIP match?

Currently, we do not accept SNAP/HIP. However, we are exploring the SNAP market and Senior Farmer Market Coupons in 2023.

How do I contact the farm?

The best way to communicate with us is via email: [email protected]

Do I have to volunteer on the farm?

No, there is no volunteer work requirement for CSA members, but if you are interested in volunteering, we have many opportunities. April is the perfect time to reach out to indicate that you wish to volunteer. 

How do I sign up?

You can pay online or choose to send a check to Littleton Community Farm, P.O. Box 1186, Littleton, MA, 01460. Send us an email at [email protected] if you are sending us a check to let us know, and indicate your preferred pick-up day and the size you are buying. We do run out of shares, and it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis.