What is CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) is a special way of creating a relationship with your local community and the people who grow your food. Members sign up for a share in the winter or spring for the farmers’ next growing season. When the growing season starts, usually June, members receive a box of produce each week until the season ends (usually October). The length of the season varies by farm as do the share sizes and delivery options. The produce is typically delivered to a common area known a “drop site” on a certain day of the week and members go there to pick up the produce. Boxes are usually accompanied by resources for the member so they know how to use the produce in their box. That’s the basics at least. To learn more about how our CSA program works and all the different benefits and options, click here.
How do I sign up?
Our 2019 CSA will go “live” on January 1, 2019 so if it’s before then, you can’t sign up just yet.
But if it is January 1st or after, you can go straight to our Online Store and purchase whatever CSA goodies you like. This is the quickest and most efficient way to sign up.
In the store you will find five different options for CSA shares: a large share, a small share, and a market share (that’s the free choice one) as well as large and small share options that allow you to pay in six installments by credit card. Once you click on the item you will be able to select your preferred delivery frequency.
You will also find add-on shares, cookbooks, and a Community Fund donation option in our online store. Buy as many things as you like all at once or buy your CSA share now and add-on shares later.
Technically no, but it works best for everyone if you sign up before our first delivery on June 12th. And the earlier you sign up the better for everyone! It helps us reduce unnecessary time and money spent on marketing and advertising to our local communities. Plus then you can guarantee you will actually get a spot. It is not uncommon for certain types of shares or our whole CSA to sell out by March or April. And because we really appreciate sign-ups that come earlier in the year, we have several bonuses to members who sign up early. If you sign up by January 10th we’ll bring you an insulated Raleigh’s Hillside Farm tote bag and storage tip magnet for your fridge with your first delivery.
Does it matter when I sign up?
We have a lot of different types of shares in a lot of different sizes which means we have a lot of different prices. Our cheapest share is the Small Sampler which is $110 for four total small CSA boxes throughout the season. Our most expensive share is the Large Share delivered weekly for $625. It is our best value with the most produce per dollar spent.
For a full breakdown of our prices, check out the CSA specifics section on our CSA page (about half way down the page).
How much does a share cost?
How do I pay for my share?
If you purchase your share through our Online Store, you need to pay by credit card.
If you prefer to pay by check, you can skip the Online Store and fill out this form instead.
At this time our free-choice, market style CSA shares can only be purchased online with a credit card.
If you are purchasing your CSA share through our Online Store, you can pay for your Large or Small share (regardless of delivery frequency) in full or in six monthly installments.
If you don’t want to pay by credit card, you can also pay in two or four installments with post dated checks. Just fill out this form instead and skip the Online Store ordering system.
Sadly, at this time our free-choice, market style CSA share cannot be purchased with a check or in installments. It’s because of the way our weekly ordering system will work in the summer.
Can I pay in multiple installments?
Unless there is a severe extenuating circumstance, we do not offer refunds for CSA shares that have already been paid for. We do not refund CSA shares after June 1st under any circumstances. You are free to switch delivery sites should you move or even gift your share to a friend, but due to the planful nature of CSA and the amount of work done prior to the season we cannot offer refunds under most circumstances.
Is my CSA share refundable?
We deliver our CSA and add-on shares to common areas known as “drop sites”. The majority of these drop sites are at CSA members homes (on their porches or in their garages), but we also have a few workplace CSA drop sites in office buildings and one new drop site in a brewery!
For our Traditional CSA, we have drop sites all over Madison and surrounding suburbs as well as in Evansville, Stoughton, Belleville and on our farm (between Brodhead and Evansville). Our free-choice, market style CSA has more limited choices for delivery.
Where do I pick up my share?
Traditional CSA shares are delivered on Wednesday afternoons/evenings. The exact time varies by delivery location but most will open by 4 p.m. and stay open until 9 p.m. Free choice, market style CSA shares are delivered on Thursday early afternoon to be picked up any time that day.
The exact date of your first delivery depends on a lot of factors. We will email you to let you know the date to expect your first box in late May.
When do I pick up my share?
If you forget to pick up your CSA share, your site host should contact you by 8 p.m. on Wednesday or Thursday evening (depending on your delivery day). If you can’t make it to pick up that night, your site host may make arrangements for you to pick up your box later if it works for them. However, if the box is not picked up the evening of delivery or directly communicated about, the box may be given away to a neighbor or friend. The site host is under no obligation to guarantee your box after 9 p.m. It’s best to set up an alert on your phone so you don’t miss any deliveries!
What happens if I forget to pick up my CSA box?
You can choose exactly what produce you receive in our free choice, market style CSA share. These members will order on Sundays and Mondays for their Thursday deliveries.
However, the majority of our members will not get to choose what produce they receive in their Traditional CSA shares. These boxes will be packed with a great variety of produce that is in season as determined by your farmer. We have taken a lot of time and effort to find the crop mix that is preferable to most people so even though you don’t get to choose what you get, chances are you will enjoy the majority of the produce you receive.
Do I get to pick what produce I receive each week?
Yes! There are bonuses for individuals who sign up by January 10th!!! All CSA members who sign up by 11:59 p.m. on January 10th will receive an insulated Raleigh’s Hillside tote bag and a fridge magnet with storage tips for their vegetables. These items will be delivered with your first box of the season.
Additionally, the first thirty members to sign up by January 10th will receive a special invitation to our whiskey tasting event at The Grove Market later this winter! If you are one of these first 30, you will receive a special invitation in your email!
I thought I saw some mention of a sign-up bonus somewhere, how do I get those?
At Raleigh’s Hillside Farm we only grow annual produce (vegetables, herbs, melons) and a handful of perennials (mainly rhubarb and asparagus) so that’s what we put into our CSA shares.
However, we find it really important to help make all kinds of local food more readily available and accessible to our members and local community so we act as a “pass through” of sorts for a number of really amazing local business so that you can get other foods that we don’t currently offer. We work with other farmers and local producers to offer add-on shares of non-produce products to our CSA members to be delivered to our drop sites.
For 2019, we are offering add-on shares of coffee, maple syrup, cheese, organic flours, grains & dried beans, flowers, apples and apple cider. Each item is thoughtfully sourced from someone we trust and have a great relationship with. Though we aren’t producing these products we are administering, organizing and delivering them and make a percentage of the income earned from these shares.
You can sign up for these shares through our Online Store either when you sign up for your CSA share or separately in the spring as you think more about the other products you’d like to receive.
What’s an add-on share? How do I sign up for that?
If you are a free choice, market share CSA member and you use all of your funds up early, you will likely be able to add on or order extra produce for the season if you like depending on weather and other factors.
If you are a Traditional CSA member, you won’t be able to order any extra produce at any time because it is overly burdensome for our delivery driver. However, at times we hope to offer bulk items of products we have in excess to our members. Things like 1-pound boxes of basil, 5-pound bags of zucchini or 10-pound cases of tomatoes. We’ll email you when and if we have these extra products available.
Can I buy extra produce throughout the season?
With advanced notice, you may absolutely change your drop site. We are happy to accommodate your needs as your life situation changes or moves across the city.
Changing your share size is a bit more complicated. We likely won’t be able to downsize or increase your share as we make specific plans to plant a specific amount of produce based on the number and sizes of shares sold. If it’s early enough in the sign-up season (think January, February or March), this shouldn’t be a problem but after that, there are no guarantees.
Can I change my share size or drop site mid-season?
Yes! We allow all our members to reschedule up to 2 boxes per season with up to two weeks advanced notice. We will send you a form early in the season so you can make these requests easily. We are, however, unable to reschedule add-on shares at this time. It is best to have a friend or neighbor pick them up if possible.