Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CSA?

CSA Manitoba answers this question best:

“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”

Why buy a CSA?

According to CSA Manitoba, “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.”

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.”

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.
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.

How exactly does it work?

Beginning in late June, you’ll get a box of seasonal vegetables every week until late September. We have pick-up locations in Winnipeg and Niverville (see locations). The contents of CSAs will look a bit different every year, but a typical season looks like…

  • 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
How many people does a CSA share feed?

That’s always a tricky question, because every person has different diets and eating habits.
Typically we say that one CSA share will feed approximately two adults. That’s 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 eat a lot of vegetables and 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.