The Garlic Farm's community-supported agriculture
October 2018: The CSA pickups end in
October. Sign up for the CSA info newsletter using the blue
button on the left if you want to receive mailings about next
year's signups in late winter or early spring 2019.
First CSA pickups for the 2019 season: July 18
and July 20.
Since 2010, the Garlic Farm has offered the
opportunity to purchase in advance a share in the harvest
through its community-supported agriculture program (CSA).
Shareholders pay a flat fee in the spring to
join the CSA program. Then, during the season, they pick up a
selection of vegetables at the farm each week. The CSA season
lasts about 12 weeks, starting in mid-July and running to
mid-October. Shareholders also are entitled to pick up a
generous portion of garlic scapes during scape weekends in
Garlic Farm owner Gary Cirullo started small
with his CSA to allow it to evolve gradually with little risk to
the CSA members. Each year he has added a few households to the
How the Garlic Farm CSA
If you've belonged to other CSA programs, you
may have some idea how a CSA works, but you may also expect all
CSAs to be alike. So whether you're new to CSAs or experienced
with another CSA, it's worthwhile to read along as we describe
how the CSA works at the Garlic Farm.
If you've shopped at the Garlic Farm regularly
during a season, you know roughly what to expect of the variety
and quality of the farm's produce. Each year Gary grows all of
the most popular summer veggies except corn, which he buys
(conventionally grown) from a nearby farm to include in the CSA
shares. For part of the season he also brings in organically
grown potatoes from another producer for the convenience of
Garlic Farm shoppers, and some weeks the potatoes are part of
the CSA share.
See the list of veggies grown at the farm in
the sidebar to the right to refresh your memory of the farm's
Gary and the crew harvest whatever's in season
the morning of the CSA pickups, which means the produce could
hardly be fresher. They work hard to ensure good quality and
good flavor in the veggies, which are grown from organic seeds
and without chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. All
the farm's growing practices follow the guidelines of the
Northeast Organic Farming Association.
At the Garlic Farm, Gary limits the number of
CSA shares because he wants to make it likely that each portion
will have enough tomatoes and peppers and eggplant and onions,
etc., each week to satisfy a household of four members. While
the tomato vines are producing abundantly, for instance, CSA
members take home pounds each week, not just two or three
tomatoes. Gary wants to make sure that CSA shares provide a good
value to the members.
How members pick up the
CSA pickups start on July 18 and July 20 for
the 2019 season.
The pickups take place on either Thursday or
Saturday, depending upon which is your assigned day. Members can
pick up their shares any time during regular business hours,
from 10 am till 6 pm when the barn closes. CSA members can have
a friend pick up their shares if they are out of town. Two
households can buy a share together, but they need to work out
for themselves how to divide the share.
When you come to pick up your share, you'll
find a chalkboard that specifies what quantity of each item to
select from the retail display in the market. CSA members select
from first quality produce, the very same produce offered for
sale at the market. You select the items in your share as if you
were shopping, but instead of paying at the register you just
mention your name--unless you opt to buy something extra beyond
your week's allotment.
Keep in mind that the variety available each
week changes with the season and the weather conditions.
What's the point of a CSA
CSA fees help farmers cover costs at a time of
year when the expenses of seeds, greenhouse supplies, and labor
mount, yet the season's income hasn't begun. In effect, the CSA
members provide working capital in exchange for a share of the
harvest, which means that the farmers don't have to take out so
many bank loans to keep the farms afloat. So CSA members very
directly support local farmers in their communities and
therefore help keep agricultural land in production.
CSA members also contribute to a smaller
carbon footprint by buying locally grown produce harvested just
in time and distributed with minimal packaging, minimal
refrigeration and warehousing, and minimal expense of
The CSA members also shoulder a small share of
the risk along with the farmer, as the harvest always depends
upon factors beyond our control and so the quantity and variety
of the produce may vary from year to year, despite the best
efforts of the farmer. For example, one year the tomatoes may
come in early and remain plentiful well into September, and
another year a big storm may truncate the tomato harvest in
August. Once in a blue moon we might harvest garlic that breaks
records for its size, another year it may be only average sized
bulbs. In short, Gary intends to offer every CSA member a
generous share of the harvest, but it may not be wildly generous
every week of every year.
The upside for the CSA members is fresh,
locally grown produce from a trusted supplier at a bargain
price--the cost per pound usually works out to wholesale prices
by the time the season ends.
If you'd like more info about how CSAs work in
general, from the consumer point of view, review Local
Harvest's CSA info pages, where you'll find excellent
Some households don't need a weekly share of
the harvest, or they prefer to shop at our market more often or
less often. That's OK; our regulars at the Garlic Farm stand
also contribute to the health of the farm and the local
environment. We hope you'll shop with us this season whichever
way makes sense for you.
How to sign up
this year for the CSA as a first timer
2019 CSA signup till June 1st,
2019 Check back in late winter for details
about CSA 2020. You might also want to sign up for the
newsletter for CSA info, using the blue button on the left to
receive e-mailings about 2019 signups.
Download a signup form (available here via PDF),
fill it out completely and legibly, and mail it to the farm to
indicate your very strong interest in this year's CSA:
New Member Desk
Garlic Farm CSA
76 Simsbury Road
West Granby, CT 06090
Gary immediately accepted the first 20 new
members who applied this year. After that, he waited until May 1
to determine that indeed he does have more openings for new
Gary doesn't want checks from new members
until he knows for certain that he can accept you; he will phone
up accepted new members to let you know that it's time to send
in the $455 fee.
New members are accepted on a first-come,
first-served basis; the sooner you send in your form, the better
your chances of landing a spot on the roster for 2013.
In the meantime, please add yourself to the
newsletter mailing list if you're not sure you're on the mailing
list with your current e-mail address. Use the blue box in the
left column of this page to join the mailing list. While you're
there, use the same link to update your mailing list choices to
select the special mailings for people who are interested in
this year's CSA. Or, if you'd rather the newsletter editor sort
out your mailing list options, send us an e-mail message
(GarlicFarm.firstname.lastname@example.org) saying you want to sign up for
the CSA for this year so we can send you the appropriate info to
keep you up to date on the CSA signups.
By the way, sometimes Gary can admit a few
people in June or early July; he makes that call after he can
see how the crops are doing, when he can be sure that he can
harvest enough veggies to go around. So being on the waiting
list is meaningful not just a formality.
If you've been a Garlic Farm CSA member before
but didn't have a share in 2018, you need to start over as if
you're new to the program.
Call us at 860-670-6314 if you are a 2019 CSA
member and have questions about the Garlic Farm CSA not answered
here (and then we can improve this description).
e-mail to the newsletter if you're having trouble with the
downloads or have any other difficulty with the website.
Updated May 21 2019