If you're a new CSA share member this year, you may have some questions about what to expect. (And even returning members may want a reminder!) So here are some CSA FAQs. And if you've got other questions, let us know! You can always email Clay Dunn, who manages communications for the CSA, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (You can also simply reply to the emails you receive from us.)
The season starts next week! That means the first pick-ups will be Wed., May 15 in Dupont Circle or at the farm; Thurs., May 16 in Annapolis; and Sat., May 18 on the farm.
- Dupont Pick-up: Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the alley behind Dupont Circle Physicians Group (1737 Fraser Ct, NW, Washington DC 20009). To get to the alley, look on the south side of S Street, NW, between 19th and 20th. A table will be set up in two parking spaces, beside our white, unmarked cargo van. Here is map of the location.
- Annapolis pick-up: Thursdays, 4:00-6:30 p.m. at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Phillip Merrill Center, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis. The van will be parked on the right side of the building.
- Dupont Circle and Annapolis folks may choose to pick up at the farm instead on Saturdays or Wednesdays any week without giving us advanced notice.
- Clagett Farm Pick-up: Wednesdays, 3:00-7:00 p.m. or Saturdays, 1:00-4:00 p.m., at Clagett Farm, 11904 Old Marlboro Pike, Upper Marlboro.
- Members who sign up for farm pick-up may go to the Annapolis or Dupont pick-ups for up to six shares over the course of the season.
DIRECTIONS to Clagett Farm, 11904 Old Marlboro Pike, Upper Marlboro MD 20772
- FROM 395 OR 295 IN D.C.: From 395 North, follow signs onto 295 South. Take exit 3A onto Suitland Parkway. After 9 miles, turn right onto Route 4 South (Pennsylvania Ave). Continue 5 miles. Take the exit on your left Ritchie Marlboro Rd. At the stop sign turn left, and then at your first stop light, turn left onto Old Marlboro Pike. The farm is one mile down the road on your right. Look for the sign "Clagett Farm; Chesapeake Bay Foundation."
- FROM 495: Take exit 11A, Route 4 South (which is Pennsylvania Ave. running out of SE DC) and continue 5.7 miles. (DO NOT take the Old Marlboro Pike exit from Route 4). Take the exit on your left Ritchie Marlboro Rd. At the stop sign turn left, and then at your first stop light, turn left onto Old Marlboro Pike. The farm is one mile down the road on your right. Look for the sign "Clagett Farm; Chesapeake Bay Foundation."
- FROM BALTIMORE AND POINTS NORTH AND EAST: Take Route 301 south and then Rte. 4 north (towards Washington) for 2 miles. Take the Ritchie Marlboro Road exit. At your first stop light, turn left onto Old Marlboro Pike. The farm is one mile down the road on your right. Look for the sign "Clagett Farm; Chesapeake Bay Foundation."
- ONCE ON THE FARM: Follow the drive around to the first fork and turn left. Pass the barns on your right and park at the top of the hill; a shed will be on your left and a large field with a greenhouse frame will be in front of your parked car. Please turn around and walk to the washing station directly behind you (opposite direction of the field) to pick up your share.
HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT'S IN THE WEEKLY SHARE
- Here on the blog: This blog is the go-to place to find what exactly will be in the weekly share. As soon as the harvest is finished on Wednesdays, we will post the details on the site. In addition to the share details, we will also be sharing recipes and other farm news here.
- Via email: If you join our email list in the top left corner of this blog, the latest posting will be delivered in your inbox the same day it is published, usually around 2-3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN YOUR SHARE EACH WEEK
- We created a chart of what was in the CSA share each week in 2018. Every year is different, but this might give you an idea of what a typical season looks like. You will see that our harvest shifts dramatically with the changes in season and rainfall.
If you have missed a week, or know you will miss one in the future:
- Members who purchase a full, 26-week season may double their share any Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday to make up for any weeks missed—or even come twice in one week—without giving us advanced notice. As long as you don’t pick up more than 26 shares in a season, or pick up more than two shares at a time, we're happy. Members who purchase a 13-week season are expected to skip half of the 26 weeks. In this case, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to pick up two shares on one day, but you are welcome to ask when you arrive. The pick-up staff will accommodate the request if there is enough produce on hand.
No food will be wasted from shares that you miss. We donate all food remaining at the end of the pick-up times to one soup kitchens and food pantries.
If you're going to miss several consecutive weeks:
- If you will be gone for a few weeks, you might consider allowing a friend to pick up your share. Ask your friend to tell us your name when you come to the pick-up, and we will tell them how to pick up your share.
- No food will be wasted from shares that you miss. We will donate all food remaining at the end of the pick-up to one of the soup kitchens or food pantries that takes our donations.
Things to bring when you pick up your share:
- Bags and containers to carry your vegetables. We do usually have some plastic bags on site, but it's always better to re-use your own. Some members bring a combination of plastic and reusable canvas bags. Large plastic clamshells (the kind that hold baby spinach in the grocery store) are also useful for carrying tomatoes, which bruise easily, and salad greens.
- A jar or vase for you-pick flowers. The vase life of your flowers will be much longer if you can put them in some water as soon as you pick them.
Other things you can bring that we would love for the farm:
- Kitchen scraps for our compost pile. Any plant matter is great, as well as egg shells and coffee grounds. Please don't bring any compostable plates or utensils (they take too long to break down), and remove any twist ties, rubber bands, plastic bags, or other trash.
- Rubber bands. We use them to bunch herbs.
- Scissors, pruners, garden tools, garden hoses, work gloves, dry erase markers, permanent markers, pens, pencils, office paper with one blank side, old sheets, and old towels.
What to do when you get to your pick-up:
- Dupont pick-up: Your food will be set out on tables beside our van.
- Farm pick-up: You will find your produce on benches at the washing station.
- Annapolis pick-up: Your food will be set out on tables in front of the Merrill Center front doors.
- A staff person or volunteer will be waiting there for you with our check-off list. Tell that person your name, and the primary name (if it is different) that you gave us when you purchased the share (for convenience, we only put one person's name on the check-off list). If you do not see someone to check you off, you may get started picking up your share and ask to be checked off once a staff person or volunteer appears.
- We will list on a dry-erase board what produce you can take. We will often ask you to weigh out a certain amount of produce on one of the scales nearby. Please weigh carefully, as we often have just enough for everyone. We prefer to let you bag your own share because it saves us time (so we can spend more time growing your food), and it allows us to offer you choices about which produce you want to take.
- If you don't recognize something or don't know how to cook it, we can give you general advice about how we prepare it. We also recommend finding recipes online here at the blog, where we have recipes sorted by vegetable. If you know you don't like something or can't use it, don't feel obliged to take it. We will donate anything you don't take.
- If we are running low on something, we might have more in the van or cooler. Please let us know. We might also have something different to bring out to replace it.
- You will see a bin somewhere on the ground near the pick-up area for compost. If you brought something for our compost pile, you can empty your bag into that bin. If you're at the farm, you can also take your compost straight to the pile (we can direct you to it).
If you come late:
- Harvest days are VERY long days for the staff, and we are not eager to stay late. At the D.C. and Annapolis pick-ups, once the van leaves you are out of luck for that day. Take your missed share another day. If you have come to the farm late and there is no one at the washing station, you can look around the corner in the walk-in cooler. We will stow our leftovers in that cooler until an agency comes to pick them up. You can look on the board at the share, bring a scale to the cooler door, and take your share from the bins in the cooler. Garlic and tomatoes are not refrigerated, so you will find them elsewhere in the washing station. If you will be at the washing station alone after dark, bring a flashlight.
- On the same dry-erase board that lists your share, we will list the items that are available for U-pick at that time. CSA members can U-pick any day of the week, any time of day. We will leave some notes at the washing station about where to find the item in the field, but if you are not sure where it is, it's best to ask us during the share pick-up. We have scissors and pruners at the washing station which we encourage you to use. Many items are difficult to pick without tools, and we don't want you to accidentally uproot the plants.
- There are always herbs around the washing station for CSA members to pick, and you may take any flowers that you see anywhere on the farm. You can also help yourself to anything that is growing wild, such as the wild black raspberries, mulberries, stinging nettle, lambsquarters, and other edible weeds.
- Enjoy your farm. Bring a picnic! Go for a hike! We have chickens, sheep, and cows that are fun for kids to see. And dogs can run freely in the pastures. Keep your eyes open for poison ivy—it tends to grow at the edge of the woods, and other spots that the mower does not regularly hit. Also, be sure to drive only where it's paved or you see well-worn tire tracks. Never drive in the vegetable fields or pastures.
- Bathrooms: We have a pair of composting toilets across the driveway from the washing station. The building is painted red, so you can't miss it.