Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some questions that we receive frequently and their respective answers. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.
2. Is the farm "organic"?
Yes! We are a USDA Certified Organic Farm. We are certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
3. What crops will be harvested and when?
Take a look at our Spring, Summer, and Fall crop lists to get a general idea of what will be included in the share and when. These lists are not guaranteed nor is it exhaustive. To get an idea of what flowers and herbs are available each season check out the Pick-Your-Own list.
4. Do you deliver to central locations?
We only offer on-farm pick-up at this time. If you live further than 15 miles from the farm, please consider the fact that traffic may make the distance problematic for you. Our happiest CSA customers tend to live within a 15-mile radius of the farm, and we encourage those who live further out to consider other options before committing to Red Wiggler for the season.
5. Do you offer "half shares"?
We do not offer half shares. The average share throughout the season is 4-6 vegetable items, 1 bouquet of flowers, and 2-3 bunches of herbs. Some participants choose to split the cost of their share with another household and divide the share, or alternate pick-ups. Need help figuring out if splitting a share is an appropriate choice for you? Email email@example.com for additional guidance.
6. What if I am unable to pick up my vegetables one week? Can I change my pick-up day?
If you are going to miss a pick-up, you have a few options. (1) Send someone else to get it for you. This is a great chance for a friend or neighbor to find out what it’s like to be part of the Red Wiggler community. If they tell us they’re picking up for you, we’ll check off your name and help them out. You do not need to tell us in advance. (2) Let us donate your share. After the pick-up is through, we donate what remains to an agency that serves people in need. (3) Contact us 3 days before your pick-up date, and we may be able to do a one-time switch for you. Please note that this depends on the season and harvest schedule and is not always possible.
7. How do you develop fertility and avoid the "bad bugs"?
We create fertile ground by "feeding the soil" with compost, trace minerals, and the incorporation of cover crops. We cover many of our young plants with "floating row covers" that keep the bad bugs (particularly flea beetles and cucumber beetles) away from tender young plants, and irrigate our crops with drip tape and sprinklers when necessary. With the use of proper crop rotations, we manage to foil many insect pests in their annual search for their preferred food. In short, by keeping the plants healthy we reduce the need for even the natural, plant-based sprays allowed under the USDA Organic standards. We do not use synthetic, chemical sprays of any kind.
8. Why do you limit CSA Membership?
We have experienced an overwhelming, positive response to the Red Wiggler CSA. Much of this interest has come from folks like you who have read news articles, have been browsing websites for local CSAs, or simply heard about our CSA from friends or family. While the response is positive, exciting, and speaks volumes about people rethinking the way they eat and being conscious of where their food comes from, we cannot accommodate everyone who has shown interest.
There are several reasons why we have to limit the number of memberships each year ...
- We have a high retention rate. The prior year's members have the opportunity to re-up for the following year before shares are made available to new members. This is generally how we determine how many open "slots" we will be able to offer to the public. As you can imagine, happy CSA members tend to stick around.
- We grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs on about five acres (the rest of our land is fallow, resting and regenerating in a system of cover crops that are designed to increase fertility for future years). You can grow a lot on this amount of land, but the land, water, soil, and human resources that it takes to produce a good crop do have a carrying capacity and we must establish a reasonable number of shares based on this capacity. Overexerting these resources to accommodate a larger CSA is not an option as it would defeat much of the purpose of our farm programs.
- Red Wiggler Community Farm is an organization that is dedicated to providing sustainable employment for its staff and growers. We seek to find a balance between our abilities and our capacity to better serve the community. In order for us to remain within these philosophical parameters, we limit our CSA membership.