Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Madison CSA Program FAQ

An FAQ with just the answers.  Is it a Frequently Answered Questions?  Or answers I am tired of repeating?

Change History:
  • This post was originally written in 2009. 
  • Effective January 2010, the price for the original large boxes changed from $25 to $30.
  • Effective June 2010, smaller $20 boxes were introduced.   Large boxes continue to be $30.
  • July and August 2010, Lincoln subscribers will also pick up their produce at Neighborhood Grinds.
  • Effective Oct 2010, the boxes remain $30/$20, but the PTA will earn only $3/$2 per box. 
  • Effective Nov 2010, orders will be accepted monthly (not weekly)
CSA means community supported agriculture.  Tanaka Farms has written an introductory pdf about their CSA program.  The Madison and Lincoln schools'  PTAs partner with Tanaka Farms (TF) to locally administer the program.

Each box contains produce grown using organic methods at local farms around southern California-mainly from Tanaka Farms of Irvine.  All produce is farmed using organic methods, but may not necessarily be certified organic.  Small farms often forgo the expensive certification process.  A few times a year, TF invites subscribers to visit the farm so they can see for themselves how their food is grown.

Orders are due monthly.  You must turn in the order form and payment on or before 8:00 AM of the last Friday of every month.

The retail value of produce in each box will be $30/$20 (Large/Small box). Subscribers select the dates and sizes that they would like boxes and pay in advance.

Email the Madison coordinator for the most current sign up form.  Sign up forms can also be downloaded by following the link on the left hand column of Madison's Tanaka Farms Produce Orders page.

Make the checks payable to "Madison PTA".

Drop off the completed forms and payment at the Madison school office or at Neighborhood Grinds aka NG (2315 Artesia Boulevard, cross-street Mackay)
    Email us to let us know you placed an order (and where we should pick it up). We will email back a confirmation upon receipt of the hard copy form and payment.

    The PTA sends $27/$18 to Tanaka Farms and keeps $3/$2 to help support programs at Madison Elementary school.

    Tanaka Farms delivers to Redondo Beach and Santa Monica each Thursday.  They deliver elsewhere within the South Bay on Tuesdays.  If Thursday falls on a holiday (e.g. Thanksgiving), our backup delivery day is the prior Tuesday.

    Madison CSA boxes can be picked up at Neighborhood Grinds (NG) coffee shop, conveniently located at 2315 Artesia Boulevard (cross-street Mackay).  Just sign the subscriber sheet at the counter to confirm pick-up, and a NG staffer will hand you a box of produce. (If you think you have a box that week, and your name does not appear on the weekly list, call Aisha immediately.  Do NOT take a box.)

    Delivery times vary, but are generally in the late morning.  Subscriber boxes can be picked up anytime between 2:00 until 10:00 PM on delivery days (currently Thursdays).  Sometimes*, we send out email when the boxes are ready for pickup.  

    Tanaka Farms' sturdy waxed cardboard boxes must be returned. Please bring your own box, bag or bin to carry your produce home. NG staff will fold up the TF box and return it for you.

    Make sure you pick up the correct size box!

    Subscribers do not get a choice of produce. The boxes contain produce in season in our local area. Basically, they consist of whatever is ready to be harvested at the farm on the morning of the delivery, supplemented with specialty produce (e.g. stone fruit from the central valley, apples from Julian).

    The produce will contain varieties not commonly found at supermarkets. That's the whole point.

    Pictures of representative boxes can be found here and the posts tagged Inventory.  Pictures and inventory lists of a sample week can be found in small and large box comparison.

    We will provide recipe support at this blog.  Peruse the entries tagged Recipes.

    *Travel schedules permitting, an email reminder is sent out Wednesday to everyone who ordered a box for that week.  When the boxes arrive on Thursday, NG sends out a 'reply to all' message.  Keep your own records.  Don't count on the reminder because I can't do it every week.  If you are super curious and can't wait to tear into your strawberries, you can call NG at (310) 371-0900.

    Tanaka Farms provides free CSA family days down at the farm.  The last one was in June.  Pictures and a description of a family day from April 2008 can be found here.

    The Adams Middle School CSA program also picks up at NG.   Email the Adams CSA coordinator for the current monthly sign-up form or download the November 2010 form on Google Docs.  Fill out the form and drop it off with payment at Neighborhood Grinds (NG).  Make checks out to “Adams PTA”.  If you can’t make it over to NG in person, just drop it in the mail.
    Neighborhood Grinds
    2315 Artesia Blvd., Unit 1
    Redondo Beach, CA 90278
    Attn: Adams CSA

    Lincoln Elementary School families may sign up through the Lincoln PTA.  Proceeds from those orders benefit the Lincoln PTA. Email Kelly Wolschon to sign-up for the Lincoln School PTA program.

    Jefferson Elementary School has also joined the Tanaka Farms CSA program. However, Jefferson boxes must be picked up at the school between 2:15 and 3:00 PM.  Email Leslie Typrin to sign-up for the Jefferson School PTA program.

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