Farm Share FAQ’s

How has Farm Share responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?

An aggregated CSA is a great option in times of disruption, for a few reasons:

  • All growers and staff are Food-Safety Trained and have always and will continue to prioritize food safety above all. We have instituted even more strict policies to address concerns about Covid-19.
  • Farm Share pick-up sites are much less crowded than supermarkets.  Our “Quick in/Quick out” pickup system means we can manage necessary social distancing needs. All shares are pre-packed and are available for curbside pick up.
  • Sourcing is always local, and is decentralized on many farms. Foods travel short distances to reach Farm Share members, so there is less opportunity for transportation disruptions or delays.
  • Your Share is secured and guaranteed to bring your money’s worth by the end of the season. Dozens of growers supply this program, so you’ll always get plenty of variety and value in every box.
  • Your share of the harvest is dedicated to YOU! Your foods will not be out-of-stock.
  • Foods come directly to you from nearby sources, and are handled MUCH less by human hands than the average supermarket produce.

What happened to the Fruit Share?

We’re no longer offering the Fruit Share – sorry! This share tended to attract folks that were new to Farm Shares/CSAs (who doesn’t love fruit?) but had the steepest learning curve – the seasonality of fruit in our area didn’t always meet perceived expectations. Consequently, this share was turning a lot of people away from local food, which is not what we want! It was also become increasingly difficult to source, given the increased frequency of extreme weather and the fragility of fruit. You can still purchase fruit on a weekly basis (subject to availability) on our Online Marketplace. Our new Loyal Locavore share is the equivalent of one fruit share plus one veggie share in volume and value.

Do I have to pick up every week?

The main season share season is 26 weeks long. You need to pick up every week EXCEPT the weeks you designate as your “vacation weeks.” You will select which weeks you’d like to skip on your registration form. The winter share which is 13 weeks long has two vacation days built in, one day will be December 27/28 and the other being selected by you.

Can I change my vacation week(s)?

Yes! Just email the farm share coordinator with at least one week’s notice before your desired vacation date and we can accommodate! If you do not select any vacation days at registration, the last two weeks of the share (or one week for Winter Share) will be your vacation days by default.

If you would rather receive extra shares than take vacation days, let the farm share coordinator know. You can purchase the extra shares so you don’t have to miss any weeks of delicious local produce. Please note, refunds cannot be made for purchased vacation days.

Can someone else pick up my share for me?

The person who is registered for the share does not need to be the one to pick it up every single week! Anyone can pick up the share for you. All you need to do is inform them of where to go, how to pick up their share, and what name the share is registered under. Then they just sign in under your name and away they go!

What if I miss a pick-up?

Any shares that are not picked up during the Farm Share member’s designated time window and location are not eligible to be picked up at a later date/time. All shares not picked up are donated to our other food access programming. If you miss a pick-up and did not designate that day as being on your vacation week in advance, it cannot retroactively be counted towards your allotted vacation days.

Who grows the food for the Farm Share?

The food for the Farm Share is grown by over 30 different farmers. All these farmers are independently-owned farms with the majority of farms within 300 miles of Roanoke. You will receive Farm biographies in your weekly newsletter on a different farmer you are directly supporting by participating in this program!

Can I customize my box?

During the main season (May-October), you can choose to receive either a Veggie share, a Medley Share, a Loyal Locavore Share or a combination of any of those shares. There is also the option to add egg shares and/or bread shares. Within each type of share, there is no customization. For winter shares, there is the option to make your share either vegetarian or gluten-free. It can be intimidating to not know what you are getting each week, but Farm Share members enjoy the surprise and the challenge of trying new foods and new recipes! We also offer a sneak preview on Fridays of the next week’s share via a private Facebook Group for members to help with weekend grocery shopping planning and meal preparation. For members who select the West End Farmers Market as their pick-up site, you can shop for additional items to pick up with your Farm Share by pre-order through our Online Marketplace, or on-site from our Mobile Market.

What is it like to eat seasonally?

Eating seasonally can be an eye-opening experience. Most of us are accustomed to having access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables year-round. Often, commercial varieties of fruits and vegetables are bred to withstand long travel, versus for taste or quality. With a Farm Share, you’ll experience seasonal eating firsthand: the joyous anticipation of that first heirloom tomato in July and the supreme taste of a local peach harvested at peak ripeness.  Often Farm Share members receive access to limited crops that are hard to find. Eating seasonal often means enjoying certain foods to the fullest while you can! In May, members may get a lot of strawberries each week but only for two or three weeks and then they’re gone for the year! Oftentimes, eating this way can help our members appreciate the food they eat anew. As the season progresses you will feel the ebb and flow of scarcity and abundance associated with farming. But rest assured, everyone receives the full value of their share dollars by the end of the season!

Is all the produce USDA-certified Organic?

No. We prioritize buying from farmers who grow organically and regeneratively. Few farmers in our region are Organic as certified by the USDA, but almost all of our vegetable farmers grow according to organic standards. Our hot, humid climate creates challenges for our fruit farmers to grow organically, but most spray minimally, and we prefer no-spray or low-spray when available.

Help! I don’t know what this vegetable is or how to prepare it!

Email your Farm Share Coordinator, or ask LEAP staff at your farm share pick-up if you have questions or need help navigating new veggie and fruit territory! There will also be tips and recipes in the weekly newsletter. Virginia Cooperative Extension has great resources and a couple of our favorite recipe sites include Smitten Kitchen and Dishing up the Dirt!

What do other Farm Shareholders have to say about the program? 
“Farm Share was fantastic for us, and something we’ll do again and again. Pickup was easy, everyone has been very friendly and helpful, and we absolutely LOVE the newsletter each week – it’s something we read as a family.”

Waiting to find out what we get each week is like opening a present. We also enjoyed trying new foods and recipes.”

“Hard to pick just one benefit. Love the freshness and quality of the food, the connection to seasonal variety, and of course the reduction of my carbon footprint.”

Ready to sign up?
Visit the Farm Share Registration page.

Contact the Farm Share Manager — or 540-583-6387.