What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The CSA model for farming is also referred to as subscription farming or farm shares. In this model one subscribes a season’s worth of vegetables, sharing both the risks and bounty of agriculture. You place your food dollar directly in the hands of a local family farm and in exchange receive a share of fresh, organically grown vegetables each week delivered to your local neighborhood in Palmerston North, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and several places in Wellington (e.g. Aro Valley, Mt Victoria, Berhampore, Kilbirnie, Vogelmorn, Eastbourne, Mana and Ngaio).

By joining our farm as a CSA member you gain greater knowledge of where your food comes from and how it is produced through weekly newsletters, farm visits, and recipes. Community Supported Agriculture unites farmers and consumers to create direct and mutually beneficial relationships around the production of environmentally sustainable and healthy local food. By joining a CSA you support small farms and a production system which provides nutritious and fresh food for your family.

What do I receive as a CSA member?

A year-round supply of vegetable/fruit deliveries if you subscribe for a year, or 13-week supply per season. Our CSA is designed to bring you a diverse and seasonal cornucopia of produce. Each week you will receive a selection of vegetables from the different vegetable families (8 – in winter – to 10 types of in our standard large veggie share). The variation depends upon the season and the specific items. If there are more high-value items in a particular week (such as peaches or salad mix), the number of items may be one less. If there are more standard crops that week, the number of items will be 10 or more.

  • Regular farm newsletter with recipes.
  • Farm events
  • Ability to order additional items, organic eggs and apple juice, all produced on our farm.
  • A farm in which you can be involved in diverse ways – from harvesting your own food to letting us know your preferences for vegetable varieties. We are dedicated to answering your questions on how we grow your food or how to prepare the vegetables in your share.

What can I expect in my bag?

Sample Fruit Bag ($12.50), March 2018:

750 grams each of Gala apples, oranges and Packham pears.

Sample Fruit Bag ($12.50), March 2018:

700g new season gala apples, 700g pears, 1 punnet of fresh figs, 1 large rock melon and 800g bananas.

Sample Small Veggie Bag ($18.00), March 2018:

1k potatoes, 200g perpetual spinach, a green cabbage, either 150g capsicums or corn , and either 400g courgettes or a Lebanese cucumber.

Sample Large Veggie Bag ($36.00), March 2018:

1k potatoes, 200g perpetual spinach, 1 green cabbage, 300g radish, 200g kale, 120g salad mix, 350g carrots, 1 Lebanese cucumber, 150g mizuna greens, and 80g basil.

While we try to send the same produce in every bag, occasionally there won't be enough of one item and there will be an "either/or" item, e.g., "chard OR perpetual spinach".

Via our webstore you can add certain items we have in bulk extra if you like. Another way of dealing with produce you are not keen on/extra keen on is to talk to other members at your pickup point, as we have learned that everyone's taste buds are different and what you dislike someone else likes, and vice versa.

What if I do not like some types of produce? 

To make it work for a small farm like ours, and as our ecological mixed farm is very labour intensive we have to keep the shares as much the same as possible. As we are becoming more and more resilient and better set up (including software), we have introduced the option for members to choose a maximum of 3 ‘dislikes’, which mean that if you subscribe to one of these we will substitute with something else. It might mean you receive double of something else.

Can I pick what comes in the box and how much is in it?

Members can't chose what is in his/her box, all boxes are prepared as much as possible identically. However, we do understand that people can have allergic reactions and cultural dislikes. To accomdate this it is now possible to have up to 3 'dislikes'.  You can manage this from season to season in your own CSA buckybox account.  We love to hear what our members have to say about the box contents, please email us (csa@wefs.co.nz)

How do I join?

It's very simple. Just visit our Bucky Box webstore and select the harvest share that best suits your household.

How does the CSA delivery system work?

Once you have joined, your name is on one of our weekly harvest and delivery lists. On Monday and Tuesday we harvest all the crops for that week. On Wednesday we have a big pack out and on Thursday morning our local farm driver/courier drops it off at the different pickup locations in the region.

Each week, you go to your pickup location, during the time allotted, and pick up your share of fruit and vegetables to take home with you (we do offer door-to-door delivery, which incurs a packing and delivery fee).

Your harvest share will be delivered within a plastic liner in a crate. You leave the carte behind for collection so we can send your next week's delivery in it. There is a Pickup Protocol that explains this in detail and needs to be followed to ensure everything goes to plan and everyone on the list receives his/her share.

What if I can't pick up my share during the allotted time?

It is important to find a way to get your share during the stated time frame. If you cannot get to the pickup location on time or are out of town, we suggest sending a friend or family member in your place. It's a great way to introduce the CSA to others. We cannot guarantee that CSA shares will be available outside of the stated pickup time.

What if I'm going away?

You can pause your order at any time. If you are part of a 13-week CSA share, the 13-week cycle will extend for the number of weeks you are paused for. However, in line with the CSA principles, we encourage you to find friends or family to take over your subscription for those weeks, or to gift or trade them. This helps us immensely in our crop planning and reduces risks, giving the project more chance of success. And it is a nice way for you to introduce others to this project.

How can I find information about cooking the produce in the CSA share?

There is an extensive selection of recipes listed on the Our crops & some recipes page. In addition to that, the internet is filled with wonderful recipes based on seasonal produce.

Where are the pickup locations for the CSA?

We keep an updated list of CSA pickup locations here. The exact locations are available upon request or during membership confirmation.

Can I be a CSA host site/pickup location?

Yes, we are looking for members who are willing to be a pickup location for CSA deliveries. Please let us know your address, and we can assess the possibility of adding your location to our delivery route.

What is required to be a host site/pickup location?

The short answer is, not much. It can be at your home or business. The CSA boxes simply need a cool, protected place that is easily accessible to members. It is not required to be present during the pickup, but it is necessary to provide contact information in case we need to reach you. The produce comes stacked in plastic veggie crates that the driver will pick up, so it is also necessary to have a bit of storage space for the CSA crates. We typically accept sites with room enough for 10–20+ boxes. As a host with a minimum of five people collecting from your place, you receive a gift fruit share.

When not to join? The CSA is not for you if:

  • You have a great veggie garden yourself and grow most of you weekly produce; we grow produce that is seasonal and local and thus pretty much what can be grown in your garden.
  • If you need/want to know exactly what you are going to get at the start of every week. The CSA share is a surprise every week. We have a rough idea what we will harvest every week, but much depends on the weather and circumstances in the garden. You need to be willing to be flexible in your cooking.
  • If you are out of town most of the time, and not able to pick up your weekly CSA share or if you are a convenience person, prefering not to commit to a whole season.

It is possible to order one-off baskets from our online shop, but to discourage this type of customer, the prices are 20% more expensive.  Why do we do this, to reinforce our CSA philosophies; we want to build up a membership that is based upon long-term partnerships, so we can both rely on each other to build a better place.