Q: What kind of person participates in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program?
A: Usually the type of person that participates in a CSA program is one who is adventurous and willing to try different foods, eats freshly & seasonally, enjoys cooking meals from scratch as opposed to prepared meals, and wants to purchase their foodstuffs locally from a farm that uses sustainable farming methods. As the produce contained within the baskets is freshly picked from the fields using no or low spraying methods, it is crucial that upon receipt of your basket you set aside time to wash, and properly store the produce to prevent spoiling. We do provide tips and tricks for storage, as well as a ton of great recipes to explore and try our great produce, right on this website!
Q: How much will I receive in a share? Am I better suited for one or two shares?
A: When you are setting up your account, you have the ability to order one or more shares. A single share (1/2 bushel or 18L) is geared toward families with young children or two adults. If you are a familiy with growing children, or two vegetarians, we would suggest you order two per week.
Q: How many weeks is the Summer CSA Share program?
A: 20 weeks.
Q: What are your hours of operation?
A: Wednesday - Saturday 10am to 7pm // Sundays 10am to 5pm **Farm closes on October 28th, 2012 for it's regular on-farm fun and the corn maze. We will be open on designated Saturdays over the winter for share members to pick up their shares, and the farm store will be open those days. (check web site for exact dates)
Q: What will be in my share boxes?
A: Generally speaking there are 5-7 items per week contained within the boxes. As we progress through the 20 weeks this can change - there are more items when growing season is in full swing with produce such as lettuce, green onions, asparagus and spinach, and moving toward root/storage vegetables as the growing season tapers off.
Please refer to our growing chart to see what produce is available when!
Q: Can I change my basket items if I am on delivery?
A: No. We apologize, but changing items contained in the basket may only be done at the Farm Store located on the farm (266 Ashworth Road, Zephyr, ON), or the designated farmers' markets during pick-up hours.
Q: Is there tax on top of the price of my share?
A: No. There is no tax on fresh food products and the prices listed are the price for the full season. There is HST on delivery charges.items.
Q: Is Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze an organic farm?
A: We have decided not to participate in the Certified organic program. To us it resembles what conventional “big” agriculture is. We are not large wholesale shippers of produce so we think the certified step is unnecessary. Our growing and production practices are rooted in the fundamentals of deep organics. Please click on this link to learn more about our farming methods We grow ethically, sustainably, and smart! .
Q: I have a few questions about your CSA. Regarding the poultry and beef/pork – do you use any antibiotics or hormones in the feed or given directly to the animals? Do you put antibiotics in the manure for fertilizing? Your website states that you use minimal or no pesticides and some produce has none, which would those be, the majority or a minority?
A: No hormones, no antibiotics in anything. If we have a sick animal we will treat it appropriately but these animals will not be sold to our customers. Pesticides..the goal is to use as little as possible. Click here to read our "How We Do It" section as it contains more details!
Q: What grade is Cooper's beef?
A: Because our Angus- grade meat is done at a local abattoir, and not a huge packing plant. It is actually not graded (AAA or AA), however it is inspected by a Provincial Inspector.
Grading is the amount of marbling (fat) the meat has and size of the rib eye, in other words, how much protein (Wgrain) the animal has eaten to fatten them. We have our animals pasture and in the winter free-choice high quality hay. We feed a little grain, 10% of total ration for the last 2 months they are with us on the farm. "Grass Fed - Fed 100% grass except for grains at the end of the animal life"
Okay the devil is in the details with this one. The question to ask is how much grain is being fed at the end of the animals life? Most cattle throughout Canada spend the first 2/3 – ¾ of their life on pasture or with access to pasture. The last part or the finishing stage as its called in the industry is where most farms (feedlots) up the amount of grain in the diet to be 90-95% of the total ration. The animal grows very quickly, puts on lots of fat (aiming for that AAA grade) but this much grain actually makes the animal sick as cattle (bovines) stomachs are designed to digest mostly roughage (grass and hay). To get cattle to not be sick with a 90% grain diet, antibiotics and hormones are added to the feed. Cattle are meant to have 90% roughage and no more than 10% grain. 5% grain is better.
"Grass Finished - 100% grass fed for life".
Okay so with this label the animal only gets pasture and likely hay all of its life. There will be some hay fed because here in Ontario we go a good 6 months with no pasture growth (winter) so some stored (hay) will be fed. The animals are quite healthy and the end product (the beef) should have full nutritional value and be quite healthy. The downside, for farmers is that the animal grows a lot slower, it take a lot longer to get the animal to market or processing weight so there is a cost associated with that. For the consumer the beef is not like beef people are used to. It has a different flavour, very little fat (good for ground beef, not so good for grilling steaks) and is quite hard to find. We’ve messed with this way of raising beef, it’s a very acquired taste. The meat has a very strong gamey like taste, and is considerably tougher. The toughness can be lessened by hanging the carcass longer (30 days or more) but there are disadvantages to that too.
The meat you would get in the grocery store that comes from a large feeding operation would have their animals on a 90% grain ration for most of their lives. This is actually not very good for them, by feeding cattle that much grain you make the animals basically sick, this is also why these large operation put antibiotics and hormones in their feed to compensate (we know this as we used to feed cattle commercially), the animals however, gain weight incredibly fast and put on a high level of fat and marbling to meet the higher end of the grading standards. This is your supermarket or commodity beef. Cattle are ruminants, they are designed to eat grass and hay with a little bit of grain so that's how we feed them.
So after all this, if we were to guess the grade (and our butcher has told us on occasion), our beef is fairly lean with just the right amount of fat for flavour - it is a single A. To us this is very tasty meat, easy to cook, and keeps our animals healthy and treats them with respect.
My family has a long history feeding beef cattle. As a kid growing up our farm was a finishing lot, feeding 100’s even 1000’s of cattle on grain rations as I descried above. What I remember the most though is the 2 or 3 head that dad took aside, put on a small pasture behind the house, gave them a little bit of grain, not a lot and high quality grains too. When they needed hay they got the best hay we had. These were the animals we put in our freezer to feed the family. Dad would point at the 100’s in the lot and say those are for making money and then point to the pasture animals (we called them his pets..he named them all…and then reminded us while having dinner that we were eating Harry, Jethro, Todd…) and say these are the animals for the family.
So raising the animals with mostly pasture and high quality hay with a little bit of high quality grains (5% grain ration as needed to obtain good growth) was instilled in me at a young age. We are confident that it is the best flavoured beef, the small amount of grain improves the flavour and gives just enough fat for awesome steaks. When beef is fed properly it should be healthy for you..we think we accomplish that. We say all the time that as a society we need to eat less meat…. and eat a higher quality meat. We have higher quality beef.
So there you go. Beef that is fed at least 95% grass and hay with no more than 5% grains is the ideal. 100% grass fed is a little different and more of an acquired taste. Stay away from standard fed feedlot beef if you can…its very hard to do.
Q: What cuts of beef can we expect in our share?
A: The cuts of meat you would receive, are a share of the animal, so you would receive every type of cut over the length of the share. The cuts could include a good assortment of steaks, such as sirloin, rib-eye, tenderloin, blade, top sirloin, strip loin, T-bone, flat iron, minute,and prime rib. There is also ground and stew beef. The roasts include; rump, cross rib, short rib, eye of the round, and sirloin tip, & clod. Lastly you can expect short and beef ribs.
Q: What is your refund policy, should extenuating circumstances require me to withdraw from the program?
A: We grow our crop knowing there are a certain number of customers for our products. When you sign up, you are guaranteeing to take a share of the harvest, so there would need to be extenuating circumstances to allow someone to leave. If this were to happen the refund policy is to deduct the cost of any weeks of product already received, minus a 20% administrative fee.
Q:Do you need a specific day and time of each pick up or is it flexible?
A: You can pick up anytime starting Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 7pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm. There is no need to tell us the day or time you are coming, just come within those hours.