Frequently Asked Questions

We want you to have all the information possible about what you’re consuming. Please let us know if you have any other questions and we’d be happy to get back to you with answers.
Q:  What is a CSA?

“Farms offering CSA programs are a convenient, affordable way to eat healthy, local foods. The concept is simple: You subscribe to the farm of your choice, by paying for a “share” at the beginning of the season. Then your CSA farm grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season, and delivers the produce each week to a pick up location near you.”

“With a CSA program, farmers are guaranteed the sale of their crop and their members enjoy a steady supply of freshly harvested, local, sustainably grown food”

Source: CSA Manitoba

Q:  Why Buy a CSA?

“Membership in a CSA creates relationships between people and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown and those who grow it. This supportive relationship helps to create an economically stable farm operation. The members receive high quality produce, often at below retail prices. In return, farmers are guaranteed a reliable market for a diverse selection of crops. This allows farmers to ensure proper land stewardship practices in order for the soil to be healthy for generations to come.” Source: CSA Manitoba

Still need some help deciding if a CSA is the right fit for you? Check out our blog post on the topic:
“Top 10 Reasons to Buy a CSA”

Q:  Are you Certified Organic?

No, not technically.  There is an annual fee for organic certification that we feel is unnecessary, and direct marketing allows our customers to ask us about our growing practices or visit the farm themselves.  Our practices are driven by a philosophy of working with nature rather than regulatory guidelines.

This means we:

  1. Don’t use any chemicals, which disrupt the soil food web, kill beneficial insects and make the product less healthy for the consumer.
  2. Add non-edible flowers and plants to our farm to increase biodiversity and attract beneficial insects.
  3. Keep tilling to a minimum. Tillage damages soil structure and harms earthworms and microorganisms beneath the soil surface.
  4. Use floating row covers to protect crops that are particularly vulnerable to insect damage. Floating row cover allows light and water to reach the plants while keeping out the bugs and critters that want to snack on our veggies.
Q: Why is your CSA only 15 weeks?

Our short Manitoba growing season means that the only vegetables available from mid-June to early July are herbs, greens, radishes and turnips.  We prefer to start our CSA in late June so that we can provide a more substantial and varied box for our members.  Shares start small in late June and increase in variety and size as more produce becomes available during the growing season.

Q: How exactly does it work? 

Payment is due upfront, and the CSA costs $350 (early-bird pricing at $325 has now ended) for the season, which runs 15 weeks.  Beginning in late June, you’ll get a box of seasonal vegetables every week until late September.  You can pick up your vegetables at the South Osborne Farmers’ Market every Wednesday between 4-8pm, at the River Heights Farmers’ Market on Fridays between 12-5pm or at our farm which is just outside of Niverville, MB (date & time TBA).

Some typical CSA boxes might be:

Late-June: Arugula, spinach, radishes, dill, cilantro basil, green onions

Mid-July:  Zucchini, broccoli, baby potatoes, swiss chard, onions, beets, mixed greens and a choice of herbs

Mid August:  Tomatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, lettuce mix, and cucumbers

Mid-September: Tomatoes, carrots, onions, kale, butternut squash, cabbage, greens and herbs

Our CSA works out to roughly $21/week, and on a good year, you can expect to receive as much or more vegetables than you could buy for the same price at a grocery store.  However, CSA’s include sharing the risk inherent in food production, so if one or more of our crops are not doing well, this will be reflected in the vegetables you receive. For more information on the ‘risk’ involved in buying a CSA, you can contact us or visit CSA Manitoba’s Website.

Q: How Many People Does a CSA Share Feed?

That’s always a tricky question, because every person has different diets and eating habits.

We say one CSA share will feed approximately two adults. Those are two adults that are eating salads at lunch and dinner and enjoying carrot sticks and open faced tomato sandwiches for snacks.

The farmers at Natural Collective CSA go through the equivalent of one to two CSA shares individually. So if you live for veg and enjoy a dinner of a giant salad with homemade herb dressing, you may find you can eat one CSA share all by yourself.

Conversely, if you treat vegetables as a side or just a garnish, you may find that one CSA share can feed a family of four to six people.

Photo credit: Bethany Daman & Matthew Klippenstein