Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adams CSA FAQ 2011

UPDATE:  As of September 2014, we have a different pickup location (Panelas Brazil Cuisine).  The parts of this FAQ that mention Neighborhood Grinds may be inaccurate for our new arrangement. The rest of the FAQ still applies.

This FAQ supercedes the 2010 FAQ because there have been so many changes to the ordering system.

Large box on the right, small box on the left.

Boxes of local (So Cal) produce, ~75% from Tanaka Farms (TF) of Irvine. All of the produce is unsprayed; some are certified organic, others are grown using organic methods but not certified. Small boxes typically contain ~8 different types of produce and the large boxes contain ~12 types. There may be multiples. E.g. a type of item may be one head of lettuce or half a dozen apples. Each box contains produce with at least $20/$30 retail value.

Where and When?
Boxes are delivered every Thursday, typically between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, to Neighborhood Grinds (NG) at 2315 Artesia Blvd, Unit 1 (the northwest corner of Mackay and Artesia). NG usually sends out an email announcement when the boxes arrive. Boxes can be picked up any time before NG's closing time of 10:00 PM. If you don’t have access to email during those hours, you may call Neighborhood Grinds at (310) 371-0900 to check if the boxes have arrived.

How much does it cost?
$30 for a large box, $20 for a small box. There is a $3 per box delivery fee for all pick-up locations other than directly at the farm in Irvine.

Why should I pick up at Neighborhood Grinds instead of Whole Foods?
You pay the same whether you select the Adams PTSA/Neighborhood Grinds location or Whole Foods. However, if you order select the Adams PTSA option, the PTSA receives 10% of the box price to help us fund valuable school programs.

Moreover, Neighborhood Grinds offers the most flexible hours, allowing pick ups of up to 10 PM for those who work late hours. You'll be supporting local schools and independent businesses at the same time.

Automated reminders go out the day before delivery (on Wednesdays for Thursday deliveries). Often, NG will send out emails announcing box arrivals. Boxes can be picked up any time between that announcement (typically 11 AM to 1:30 PM) and 10 PM NG closing time. To save yourself a trip to return the cardboard box to NG, leave the box there; bring your own bags to carry your produce home.

To teach our kids what grows seasonally in our region. To increase the economic viability of small family farms amid suburban development. To economically buy organic and unusual produce. To save time and money. To lower the chemical input into our soil, our water table and our bodies (both the consumers’ and the agricultural workers’). To lower the carbon footprint of your food. And, of course, to raise money for the Adams PTSA.

How do I sign up?
Tanaka Farms has switched to a new online ordering system developed by Farmigo. Simply visit the Tanaka Farms CSA information page, click on the red tab to read the CSA Policies, then click on the green "New Subscribers Join Here" button at the right.

Select the Adams Middle School/Neighborhood Grinds pick up location. Then click "Next Step" on the green button at the top.

Select large or small boxes, weekly or every other week (EOW) options. To save on shipping, many families order a large box every other week. Select EOWA or EOWB and look in the right column for the date of the next delivery for that schedule. Although the sign ups are for a recurring schedule, vacation holds and changes are quick and easy (see changing options section below).

Click "Next Step" and enter your payment information for debit upon receipt. Although you can pay by either credit card, or electronic payment through your checking account, keep in mind that farming is a very low margin business and Farmer Tanaka can use the 2% fee more than the credit card companies. ;-)

Once you are a subscriber, your account page will look something like this. It will contain your options, order history and payment history. Note that boxes are charged AFTER the delivery. There are no refunds should you forget to pick up your box so don't forget!

Changing your order option
Life happens; you go on vacation or go through a period when you cook less often at home. Farmigo and Tanaka Farms have thought of that.
  • You can put a temporary vacation stop on your orders. Click on the "Vacations" tab on your member screen, and enter the days you will be on vacation. Box delivery will automatically be suspended during those days and you will NOT be charged for the time away.

  • You can change your subscription option by selecting "Change Subscription" under the summary on the right column. From the following screen, you can change box sizes, quantities, or schedules.

  • If you want to put your account on indefinite hold, contact the Tanaka Farms CSA program managers, at so they can put your account on indefinite hold status. While you are on indefinite hold, you will not receive boxes or be charged. They can also delete your account if you choose.

  • You can make on line changes to your account on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (On line orders can not be changed 4 days before delivery; our deliveries are on Thursdays, which means changes to your account are not allowed M-Th.)

    If you need to must changes on M-Th, please contact or 949-283-0487 so that they can make the change for you. Remember, they cannot change orders at the last minute, but they can change your options and put you on vacation hold while the website is locked down.
What is this and how do I use it?
Part of the fun of the CSA program is the unusual varieties of produce that the boxes contain. We get heirloom or specialty produce not normally seen at grocery stores.
  • Check Farmer Tanaka's weekly blog page for what might be in your box that week.

  • Find recipe ideas through your web engine of choice, from the Tanaka Farms recipe page, or the Adams School CSA recipe pages.

  • If you don't know what an item is or how to use it, email and ask.

  • Cook improvisationally. If you have a recipe that calls for leaves from one member of the Brassica family (Kale, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens), you can successfully substitute another.

  • Save scraps. Don't forget to use the tops of root vegetables. Turnip greens, beet greens and onion tops are nutritious and tasty in soups or sautes. Carrot tops are too bitter to eat, but they make wonderful centerpiece fillers (see below).

    Trimmed pieces of veggies can be saved in a container in the refrigerator or freezer along with bones and meat and cheese trimmings. When the container is full, make broth!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Swiss Chard

Check out designer Poppy Gall's fantastic photographs and the color palette she designed using rainbow Swiss chard for inspiration.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet and Savory

Take the small melon from the CSA box (left). Add another melon from Trader Joe's (right).
Cut open the CSA melon for a colorful surprise. Cut both into cubes.
Put them on a bed of lettuce, add chopped red onions (also from the box). Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and you have a sweet and savory summer salad.