Choose your Schedule
• DeLano Farms Market
(357 West E Ave)

Monday 4-6:30 pm OR Thursday
4-6:30 pm

• Nature's Way Preschool
(4442 Oakland Drive at Kilgore)
Thursday 5-6:30 pm (limited to 50 shares at the Nature's Way location) 

DeLano Farms CSA:  FAQ's

What is CSA?
What food do I get in a share?
How does the market-style distribution work?
What happens if I can’t make my scheduled distribution day?
Can I join at any time?
Is the food “organic”?
Sometimes I find a blemish or hole in my produce.  Why?
Why don’t we have tomatoes yet (June 10)?
We end up with more food than we can use.  What should we do?

Who decides what to grow?

Do I have to help harvest, weed, irrigate…?

How many acres are in production?

Do you use horses or tractors?

How do you keep critters out?

What do I do with so much squash, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, etc.?

How can I convince my kids to try this?

Are you doing educational programs on the farm?

What if I forget my CSA bag?

Are there scholarships or subsidized shares available to folks who can not afford to participate?  Are there working shares?

How is DeLano Farms CSA different from others in the area?
Can I make a different selection if I don’t like something?

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Do you sell produce anywhere other than CSA ?

How does U-pick work?

Why can’t we harvest the U-pick cherry tomatoes?  So many seem to rotting on the plant!

 

What is CSA?

 

CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Most simply this is a community based economic model where local food consumers and local food producers provide each other with mutual support and share in the risk and benefits of food production.  At DeLano Farms, CSA members pay up front for a share of the farm vegetables, and then receive a bag of the crop each week throughout the growing season.


What food do I get in a share?

We plan to distribute approximately 20 weeks of produce throughout the share session.  $500 divided by 20 weeks is about $25 worth of vegetables every week, though volume varies with the season; usually a bit less in spring and more in summer and fall.  


A late June share might include: lettuce, arugula, kale, brassica salad mix, fennel, collards, scallions, garlic scapes, swiss chard, and basil.  A July share might look like: cucumbers, broccoli, garlic, basil, eggplant, onions, cabbage, chard, parsley, and lettuce.

An August share could include: kale, tomatoes, parsley, leeks, carrots, watermelon, basil, potatoes, and green peppers.  A September share might include: pumpkins, butternut squash, sweet red peppers, onions, leeks, carrots, mustard greens, turnips, fresh herb choice, cauliflower, and radishes.

An October share would likely include: decorative gourds, acorn squash, cilantro or dill, lettuce mix, beet greens, carrots, potatoes, red sweet peppers, hot peppers, parsley,scallions, and onions.

How does the market-style distribution work?

As a relatively new farm, we are still working out the best approach for providing as much choice as possible within the limitations of our small scale production and the shorter Michigan growing season.  We may do some tweaking to the distribution approach this upcoming 2014 season but in 2013, we laid the available produce options out on several long tables in our barn and allowed members to take a certain number of each item up to a listed limit.  Some things that can be harvested multiple times for several weeks, like cucumber, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, etc. would have large limits—2-3 pounds or 10-15 each.  Other things that are more difficult to grow, time consuming to harvest, or for whatever reason less bountiful, would have lower limits, often 1 bunch or 1 bag.  Members were not allowed to take any more food than would fit in their canvas share tote but never obligated to take more than they could eat.  


What happens if I can’t make my scheduled distribution day?

We encourage people to keep to their selected pick-up time to assist the farm staff in managing the complex logistics of harvesting and distributing food for so many families each week.  If for any reason you are not able to make it, please feel free to send a friend or family member to distribution in your place.  Unfortunately, because our cooler space and staff time are so limited, we are unable to make exceptions, even for unexpected emergencies.


Can I join at any time?

CSA shares are sold prior to the start of distribution in mid-June.  Space is limited, so sign up early!  Once the current harvest season begins, you are encouraged to have your name added to the waiting list for the following season.  


How does the Farm Manager determine what crops are available at distribution each week?  Variety, abundance, and maturity are all considered in planning what goes in to a share.  We try to always include at least one allium-- like onions, a starch-- like carrots, a fruit--like peppers, and a green--like kale.


Is the food “organic”?

DeLano Farms is not currently certified organic but our crops have been managed according to practices listed in the USDA National Organic Program since the start of the 2013 growing season.  In 2011 and 2012, glyphosate was applied to control invasive quack grass on new farm ground before cultivation and planting.  This herbicide is not allowed in organic systems but KNC staff decided that the intensity of the grass pressure made glyphosate the most responsible tool for creating new, healthy agro-ecosystem space.  In 2015, the three year “transition” window will be complete and we will be eligible to apply for official certification.


Sometimes I find a blemish or hole in my produce.  Why?

Growing produce in an ecologically conscientious way some times results in less than perfect cosmetic appearance because insects and wild animals are interacting in the diverse farm ecosystem.  This is a sign of a healthy environment!  With this knowledge in mind, it is our goal to provide the highest quality, fresh vegetables to you and your family.  If you ever receive items that do not meet these standards we are more than happy to exchange them.  Just let us know!  


Why don’t we have tomatoes yet (June 10)?

In the Michigan growing season, tomatoes begin to be ready for harvest in late July or early August.


We end up with more food than we can use.  What should we do?

Our market-style-pick-up offers choices so you can match your preferences to what is seasonally available.  This means that there are almost always more options available on the distribution table than need to be taken to reach your weekly $25 share “value”.  Basically, we suggest that you only take what food you and your family want to eat—we promise you are still getting your money’s worth!  


Who decides what to grow?

The DeLano Farms Manager makes all final crop planning decisions based on feedback from the previous seasons CSA members and farm staff.


Do I have to help harvest, weed, irrigate…?

Volunteers are welcome and encouraged but CSA members are not required to contribute any labor at the farm.  If you are interested in connecting a little more deeply with where your food comes from, this year we are especially seeking volunteers to help out in the U-pick garden and with greeting at CSA distribution.


How many acres are in production?

We will grow 15-20 acres of vegetables in 2014, enough to provide more than 300 families with plenty of food during the Michigan growing season.


Do you use horses or tractors?

We use tractors and are grateful to these powerful, labor saving machines.


How do you keep critters out?

We plan for some loss and rely on the inherent competition in the farm ecosystem to create some level of balance


What do I do with so much squash, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, etc.?

Every season a few crops yield an exceptional abundance of food.  It is impossible to predict how the weather will go and which items will stand-out from year to year but this is the nature of eating seasonally in North America.  If you are the kind of person who likes to have broccoli and tomatoes every single week and quickly get sick of more unusual things like kale or eggplant, joining a CSA may not be for you.  Part of the challenge of eating seasonally is learning to eat what is available, creating variety with your cooking technique.  Our farm staff is available at every distribution to answer questions and offer recipe suggestions.  But at the end of the day, members must do the work to get creative and transform the produce in to beautiful meals!  Think of all that you can do with just squash: zucchini-potato pancakes, pickled summer squash, sesame roasted squash on rice, curry lentil butternut soup, acorn spice cake!!


How can I convince my kids to try this?

Parents can lead by example and encourage kids to try at least one bite.  Children are often more excited to try new foods that they have been involved in selecting or preparing—feel free to bring the whole family to CSA distribution and have the little ones help in picking out produce from the tables or harvesting from the U-pick garden.  Involve the whole family in meal planning and preparation!


Are you doing educational programs on the farm?

Scott Weber is our Farm Education Coordinator.  He leads a variety of educational events on the farm throughout the season.  For our most up to date event calendar, e-mail: sweber@naturecenter.org.


What if I forget my CSA bag?

You have two options: 1) borrow a bag to go around the distribution table and then transfer your produce in to your own container and return the bag before leaving the barn 2) buy another bag for just $1.


Are there scholarships or subsidized shares available to folks who can not afford to participate?  Are there working shares?

DeLano Farms does not currently offer any of these options.  We do donate excess produce to local food banks.  And we offer a monthly payment plan for members who wish to begin investing in increments in the fall or winter proceeding the next growing season.


How is DeLano Farms CSA different from others in the area?

  1. As a project of the Kalamazoo Nature Center, all DeLano Farms CSA members have access to all KNC resources and programming.  2) We offer a unique, market style distribution that provides unrivaled produce choice for our members. 3) By investing in the DeLano Farms CSA you are also investing in the overall KNC mission.


Can I make a different selection if I don’t like something?

Yes!  Our market style pick-up allows members to select varieties and quantities of items to meet their personal preferences and needs, within the constraints of product availability and weekly share value.  


Do you sell produce anywhere other than CSA?

All of our market quality produce is currently distributed to our CSA membership only.  


How does U-pick work?

Items available for U-pick are generally small and labor intensive for harvest: cherry tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, flowers, hot peppers, herbs.  To save the farm labor costs and provide members with the most food possible, we ask that you harvest these items yourself.  It is different than a traditional U-pick in that there will usually be a limit on each item so that all of our members can have some—usually just 1-2 pints/quarts or 1 or 2 bunches.  We provide the tools, harvest containers, and written instruction each week.  There is a wrong belief that a pain medication, such as hydrocodone can be puchased onlinewith a chiropractor prescription. This food is included as part of the value of your weekly share.


Why can’t we harvest the U-pick cherry tomatoes?  So many seem to rotting on the plant!

Managing U-pick harvest is a tricky thing.  When we offer an item for picking, we need to make sure there is enough for everyone but then sometimes fewer people come to pick than expected.  It is made more difficult by the fact that many of the items available in U-pick ripen very quickly and than are done—the plant will not continue to bear new fruit.  Also, many of our members are inexperienced harvesters.  We do our best to provide information that ensures proper harvest technique but it is not the same as having professional farm hands do the work.  Please trust that we are doing our best to manage these logistics and plan for the average number of members who come to U-pick.  And know that food “rotting” on the plant is actually not going to waste—it will eventually decompose and go back in to the soil, adding carbon and nitrogen for future plantings.  This is an important part of the farming process.







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Kalamazoo Nature Center  •  7000 North Westnedge Avenue  •  Kalamazoo, MI 49009
PHONE (269) 381-1574  •  FAX (269) 381-2557