Winter Harvest Box – CSA Program 2017 Edition

Collard GreensSweet carrots, juicy tomatoes, delicious root crops like potatoes, beets, parsnips and yes, even Turnips, grown in and around Calgary - those are the veggies you want in your fridge! So why settle for Grocery store Produce? The YYC Growers' Winter Harvest Box CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) Program gives you fresh, local, ethical veg every second week at a convenient pick-up locations throughout the city so you can stop worrying about what's in your food, who harvested it, and whether it'll taste good! 14 Week (bi-weekly) Harvest Boxes are On Sale Buy a YYC Growers' Harvest Box and 14 baskets every second week of Fresh vegetables grown by all your favorite local farmers.

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GarlicYYC Growers' Harvest Box
is a unique CSA program  to Calgary. We draw from 18 farm owners, who grow in and around Calgary, that produce a diverse medley of vegetables. By drawing from 18 different farms, our customers are protected from typical risks associated with CSA programs.  In addition, this system means the YYC Growers’ Harvest Box offers customers much more variety than they would typically get in a box program. This is one of the most local CSA style programs in Calgary.

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Winter Harvest Box FAQ

CSA stands for either Community Shared Agriculture or Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a close partnership between farms and end consumers. The Alberta Department of Agriculture defines it as this:

Community Supported Agriculture or Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a community of individuals or families who support a chosen farm and its family. Each individual or family purchases, in advance, a share, called a subscription, of the year’s crop. Thus, the customers become virtual partners or ‘co-producers’ in the farm, sharing risk and reward with the farm family. Throughout the growing season, each week subscribing member receives equal shares of the freshly harvested food from the farmer.
Alberta Agriculture

The YYC Grower’s Harvest Box is a subscription based program. Preseason payment means farms can cover up front basic costs needed for a growing season like seed, irrigation and labour. It's a commitment on both the farm side as well as the customer side.

There is only one size of winter share. It is $25 a week. The entire season will cost you $350 + a $5 signup fee.

Winter items may include: Beets, Parsnips, Potatoes, Carrots, Radish, Lettuce, Cabbage, Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, Garlic, Basil, Frozen Saskatoons, Winter Squash, Pumpkins, Onions, Turnips, Horseradish, Collards, Sunchokes, Honey, Preserves, Microgreens, Basil, Mushrooms, Kale, Chard, Spinach, Tomatoes, Cucumbers

Remember that this is Alberta and farming is hard here. Some of the crops may not work out so don't be too disappointed if something is missed. We may be able to throw in a few extra things like preserves and basil salt.

Because the winter shares are a bit trickier, we only guarantee 5-6 items a week. We try to give you a little more than we would in the summer because the shares are bi-weekly. So you'll be getting a larger bag of potatoes for instance.

This year we have a lot of winter choices. All pickup times are approximately 4-7pm.

Tuesdays
  • Ramsay - The Commons
  • Aspen/West Springs - Blue Door
  • Bowness - Leaf & Lyre
Wednesdays
  • Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers Market
  • Airdrie - Social Supper
Thursdays
  • Market on Macleod - Shirley's Greenhouse
  • Bridgeland - TBD
  • Marda Loop - Forage Foods

Other locations maybe announced at a later date

First deliveries are the week of October 24 all the way to April 26. 14 deliveries in total every second week.

We will have fruit for 5 weeks only. This will take you to the end of December. The fruit share is $15 a week (total of $75) and will consist of Apples, Pears, Fruit Plum, Walnuts, Dried Cherries, Dried Other things, Cherry Juice, Apple Juice, Apple Chips and other things.
Try and get a friend, family member, or neighbour to come and pick up your share in your absence. As long as they mention your account, we will be able to find it on our checklists. If you can’t find someone, then our organization takes all the leftover shares and donates them to the Alex Seniors Centre where the food goes to seniors who can’t afford fresh vegetables. The seniors thank you for the fresh food.
Remember, this is still in the CSA style meaning if a crop failure happens you may not get that particular product in your box. We try our hardest to replace items and if you are indeed short some items, we try to make it up down the road so you won’t miss out on any of the value. If this worst case scenario happens, you may be without produce for a week or two until farms bounce back from said disaster. With the YYC Growers Harvest Box program, the overall idea is that the risk is decreased incredibly, like a well diversified farming portfolio. This creates strong farm camaraderie, where farms willingly help other farms, knowing support will be there when they need it.
We are pleased to have three payment plans.
  • Entire payment upfront
  • 2 equal payments, one due upon signup and the other due the following month
We also have 2 payment method options, you can use a credit card through PayPal and automating payments moving forward this way. Or you can send an etransfer to info@yycgrowers.com.
This is a complicated and longer conversation than possible to answer in a FAQ, but here it goes. To operate as YYC Growers does--18 farms, urban and rural, using different growing practices; soil, aquaponic, hydroponic--it is not possible to operate as a certified organic operation. Though Our Family Farm is certified organic, and Eagle Creek is in the process of becoming certified, some of our members are precluded from being Organic either because they are Hydroponic or because they are Urban. As customers need to know how their food is grown, YYC Growers puts transparency first. We meet and travel to our member farms and would encourage you to do the same. We are happy to answer any questions you have in person too (come visit us at our Farmers' Market booths). YYC Growers also believes that soil health equals vegetable health and in turn, your health. We work hard to build soil by focusing on soil health through a variety of methods: no spray, no till, and adding organic matter. But all farms have different methods to do this. Organic is a big conversation, while we cannot say we are certified, we want you to know that our products are grown as sustainably and regeneratively as possible, with an eye and an ear towards continuous improvement.
We do allow for up to two weeks of vacation holds. If you put a hold on your weekly share we will double up your share the next week or two weeks. So won’t necessarily get the same vegetables as the missed week but you’ll get double the value the next week. This is a new addition this year due to your request.
Every one of our farms are owners in our Coop. In order to be a Coop member, you must be a producer. So please head over to our member page to get more information about all the farms you may get produce from and what they specialize in growing. Here is a complete list of our farmer owners and producers.
Many!
  1. Supporting Local Economy. With you supporting local farms and local business, you are in turn helping local economy. You've heard it all about how instead of helping some CEO get a new vacation home, you're helping our farmers pay for dance lessons for a daughter, extra infrastructure on the farm, etc.
  2. Sequestering carbon. Well, you are aren't directly doing it but in purchasing our harvest box you are enabling us to eliminate carbon by increasing soil health.
  3. Fresh food. For the most part, everything that is in your box was harvested the day before you receive it. Not a week before like a lot of food that comes from California or Mexico.
  4. Great value in local produce. If you are used to shopping at farmers markets you'll realize that local/organic vegetables aren't cheap. Our program makes it more affordable and convenient.
  5. Convenience. There is no shopping that happens, you just show up with your bag, fill up your bag with your share of produce and go home. No wandering around (except if you want to shop further at our farmers market locations, which we encourage), or even money changing hands.
  6. Selection. Sure, some people may not like parsnips or mushrooms so we've come up with a way to allow some selection while still allowing us to grow our large selection of vegetables for you. It's called a Trade Bin. You'll be allowed to trade up to two items each week in the trade bin.
  7. Education. You'll learn what can be grown in Calgary, when it can be grown and we will also help you with what to do with some of those stranger items. Haven't had a Kohlrabi or Salsify before? Don't worry, we always provide a recipe in the weekly email that goes out.
  8. Community building. Not only will you be rubbing elbows with the people who grow your amazing food, you'll also meet others at the pickup site and other social gatherings throughout the year that share your ethical values.

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