What is a CSA?
A CSA, or community-supported agriculture, is not one single model but instead a general operating principle under which a farmer sells "shares" in her future harvest to members of her community. In exchange for an upfront contribution, the farmer provides shareholders a piece of his harvest throughout the growing season. The farmer receives a lump sum payment from his shareholders before the growing season that allows her to make investments in her farm like seeds and tools. Since farming is an inherently risky activity (flood, wind, drought, disease, pests are potential hazards to be reckoned with), the payments the farmer receives from his shareholders act as a form of insurance policy against the worst case scenario. The shareholders collectively invest in the farmer and his harvest, understanding that their investment (like all investments) comes with some degree of risk.
The shareholder is the beneficiary of both the ups and the downs of the growing season, receiving an overwhelming bounty when times are good, and slightly less when times are bad. The shareholder is generally familiar with the farmer and her family and how and where their food is being grown. Often the shareholder is invited to visit the farmer and even participate in the growing of their share.
A beautiful thing, no?
Ok I understand what a CSA is - but how does yours work?
The goal of Working Over Thyme Farm's CSA is to balance the benefits of the CSA for both the farmer and customer with modifications that make our CSA more convenient for you. We accomplish this by giving you options: you choose how much you want to receive (share size) and for how long you want to receive it (a single calendar season or a full 25 weeks). We currently offer three different ways to actually receive your CSA.: (1) free pickup in Petworth on Sundays between 3 pm and 6 pm; (2) delivery direct to your home in DC for a fee; or (3) free delivery to a location where you and five other CSA members agree to receive your shares.
Our Facebook Page and weekly email will notify members each week what produce they should expect to receive on Sunday. This gives members a chance to share recipe ideas and to give us feedback. On or near delivery day, we will also share any recipes with you that we think will work well with the produce you are receiving that week. On Sundays you pickup your share, and enjoy!
What is Certified Naturally Grown?
In 2015, Working Over Thyme Farm became Certified Naturally Grown, which means we follow the national organic program standards and concentrate on building a healthy ecosystem. We do not use synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or chemically treated seeds.
What can I expect in my CSA box?
Don't you love surprises? This season we are growing more than 90 different varieties of vegetables, so each week will be different. We promise it will always be delicious and seasonal.
In addition to vegetables, Leah and Ross are super excited to regularly provide CSA customers with your own veggie seedlings so that you can try your hand at growing some of your own food. Backyard gardening is how we fell in love with farming and it is something we would love to pass on to you.
Can we visit your farm?
Absolutely. As members you are more than welcome to our farm. Just email and we can set up a time for you to come hang out. In addition, we will regularly host member parties at the farm!
Can I volunteer?
As long as you have a comfortable pair of shoes and are prepared for a hard day’s work, absolutely. Send us an email and we will put you on the work schedule. It's a lot of fun (and we will feed you, too.)
I hate brussels sprouts! Can I not get brussels sprouts?
This is a very good question and one we have thought long and hard about. First, when we send you the list of produce you should expect the next week, feel free to send us an email letting us know if there are things you absolutely don't want. We will do our DARNDEST to try to make sure that vegetable is not in your box (and try to add more of something you like.) Sound reasonable? In an ideal world, absent any time and money constraints, we would be able to accommodate all requests. However, our resources are limited and if every member tells us the 10 vegetables they hate, we have ourselves a nightmare of an organizational problem. In the future, we hope to have a better solution for this but right now, our policy is an unofficial one.
I don't want to drive to Petworth to pick up my share. Are there are other options?
Yes - two. Delivery for a full 25 weeks is $130. Delivery for a partial season, 8 weeks, is $45. Delivery is only available inside the boundaries of the District of Columbia.
The second option is to get together with five other CSA members and pick one of your houses as a drop off point. We will make a drop off at no extra charge for groups of 6 or more.
I will be out of town some weeks. What should I do?
The last thing we want is for food to go to waste. Let us know ahead of time if you will be out of town and we will donate your box to DC Central Kitchen. If you would also like a tax-deductible donation receipt, just let us know.
I signed up for a partial season (8 weeks) and now I want to receive a full season share. Can I?
Maybe. Send us an email and if we still have full shares left, we would gladly transfer your membership.
Who are you crazy people and why should I eat your vegetables?
Great question. We are Leah and Ross, two (mostly) cool cats who have a ferocious passion for growing food and building community.
Leah grew up on a cattle ranch in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, home to the logging industry, McCurtain County Gold, and the mediocre Edward Norton film, Leaves of Grass. Leah earned two degrees from Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!) before heading to DC to run local political races. Her experiences growing up in an economically depressed community led her to progressive politics. Leah has served in communication roles at the Brookings Institute, the ACLU of Tennessee, and the Center for American Progress. Along this journey, Leah picked up a few new loves. First, and by far most important, her love of Ross (the editor of this FAQ section.) Leah also discovered a passion for growing food and for taking beautiful pictures. Leah currently splits her time between running her photography business, GrayKammera Photography, and running Working Over Thyme Farm with Ross. Leah enjoys having more than one drink in front of her (usually some combination of sweet tea, water, and beer) and napping with our farm dog, Ruby.
Ross hails from Columbus, Ohio, land of the Buckeyes and monoculture corn. He holds both a law degree and a MPH from George Washington University. Since 2007 Ross has lived and worked in DC as a healthcare attorney. In 2007 Ross took a step that would forever change his outlook on life: he started a backyard garden. Since that first 4X4 raised vegetable bed, Ross has been in love with the soil and all of the mysteries that it holds. He holds a certificate in permaculture from Prince Georges Community College and is a certified Master Gardner in Washington, DC. Now on the weekend, Ross throws on his coveralls and gets to work. He enjoys craft beer, nerf guns, and playing with his farm dog, Ruby.
We may not be your typical farmers but our path is different and uniquely ours; it is also what makes us, "us." We have a love and respect for the land and for the soil in which our produce grows. We think from the ground up and believe that slow and steady beats fast and pretty. We believe our city jobs have helped make us better people and better farmers.
Some call us hobby farmers or gentleman farmers. We accept those titles, although we don't embrace them. Farming is not our hobby, it is our way of life and what we love. We don't know what the future will bring just yet, but we are certain it will always include a love for the land and passion for community.