Have Questions? We have Answers.
What kind of person participates in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program?
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 pre-made 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 receiving 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 & try with our great produce, right on this website!
How much will I receive in a share? Am I better suited for one or two shares?
When you are setting up your account, you have the ability to order one or more shares. We typically say that a single share (1/2 bushel or 18L) box feeds a family of four comfortably. However, if you are a family with growing children who love their veggies, or two vegetarians, we would suggest you order two per week.
Another option is to start off with the bi-weekly share, and bump your account up to a weekly box later in the season if you find you are going through the produce too quickly.
What are your hours of operation?
In the summer/fall, we operate Wednesday - Saturday 10am to 7pm // Sundays 10am to 5pm
The farm closes the Monday following the last weekend in October for it's fall fun activities (maze, wagon rides, etc)
During the winter season, we are open select Saturdays 10am-3pm (see calendar for dates)
WHen does the maze open?
The maze typically opens Labour Day long weekend, or the last weekend in August (whichever comes first)
Would it just be cheaper for me to buy all the produce that comes in a share instead of getting a share?
The answer is no! Some weeks, we have so much delicious fresh produce packed into the box that the share's value ends up being well over the set price you paid. We even add little extras some weeks on top of the box's initial value!
Additionally, we only grow some of our favourite crops specifically for our share boxes, meaning there will be none left to sell in the store. Share boxes also get first pick as well as priority of our fields, meaning the produce in our boxes is often of higher quality and quantity than those in the store or at our markets. These are all perks of being a member!
What will be in my share boxes?
Generally speaking there are 5-9 items per week in the boxes. As we progress through the 20 weeks this can change - boxes may be lighter in early spring compared to the fall harvest, and weather will always play a factor.
No matter how many items, we always ensure you get you the full value of your box.
*Please refer to our GROWING SCHEDULE to see what produce is available when!
Can I exchange items for others if I am on delivery?
No. We apologize, but changing items contained in the basket may only be done at the Farm Store located on the farm or the designated farmers' markets during pick-up hours.
What Happens if I will be away one week?
No problem! Just be sure to let us know ahead of time either when you come to pick up the week before or by e-mail. We will put your share on vacation* for that week adding credit to your account, or you can pick up double when you come back. *Vacation/Credit option is not available for Super Duper Cooper members. Only the double pick up option
Is there tax on top of the price of my share?
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 fees.
Is Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze an organic farm?
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 see From the Field to learn more about our farming methods. We grow ethically, sustainably, and smart!
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?
No hormones, no antibiotics in anything. If we have a sick animal we will treat it appropriately for it's own well being, but these animals will not be sold to our customers, but kept for personal use.
What grade is Cooper's beef?
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 on grass 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. To answer this question properly, we need to look at different feeding techniques
"Grass Started, Grain Finished"
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 – 3/4 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 stomachs are designed to digest mostly roughage (grass and hay). To get cattle to stay healthy 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 optimal.
"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). The animals are quite healthy and the end product (the beef) should have full nutritional value and be quite nutritious. The downside for farmers is that the animal grows a lot slower, meaning it take a lot longer to get the animal to market or processing weight, and 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 experimented with this way of raising beef, but it’s an acquired taste. The meat has a very strong 'gamey' 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 typically find in the grocery store that comes from large feeding operations will have their animals on a 90% grain ration most of their lives. This is not the healthiest option for the cows. By feeding cattle that much grain you make the animals sick, which is why these large operations put antibiotics and hormones in their feed to compensate (we know this as Steve was raised on a commercial cattle operation). 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.
What we do
Cattle are ruminants, they are designed to eat grass and hay with a little bit of grain so that's how we feed them. They live their lives on pasture and each day receive a voluntary taste of grain, amounting to less that 10% of their total diet. This gives our meat just enough marbling to erase the 'gamey' taste associated with purely pasture raised beef Read our full process in From The Pasture.
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, but more importantly, keeps our animals healthy and treats them with respect.
What cuts of beef can we expect in our share?
The cuts of meat are of course a share of the animal, so you would receive every type of cut over the length of the share.
Steaks include: sirloin, rib-eye, tenderloin, blade, top sirloin, strip loin, T-bone, flat iron, minute and prime rib.
Roasts include: rump, cross rib, short rib, eye of the round, and sirloin tip, & clod.
Other: Lastly you can expect short and beef ribs. We also include ground and stew beef, and make a variety of beef sausages and our own hot dogs, as well as our own burger patties.
What is your refund policy, should extenuating circumstances require me to withdraw from the program?
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.
Do you need a specific day and time to each pick up or is it flexible?
You can pick up anytime starting Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 7pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm (summer hours). There is no need to tell us the day or time you are coming, just come within those hours.
If you pick up your share at one of our participating markets, you simply need to pick up during market hours.
Do you use GMO seeds?
First and foremost, we DO NOT grow any genetically modified (GMO) vegetables. There are actually very few seeds available for direct to consumer vegetable growers that would be economically feasible to grow. The only seed currently available is sweet corn (for about the past 10+ years) that we could grow, but we chose not to.
A Little On GMO
The reason the whole GMO controversy started in the first place is farmers were having significant yield losses due to corn borer (an insect pest). To control it, farmers had to use a very toxic insecticide applied multiple times throughout the season. To solve this problem in a more efficient way, scientists used bio-technology to insert an insecticide into the plant that would kill the corn borer itself. Farmers no longer had to use toxic insecticides and yields went up.
GMO grain corn has been in our food for a little more then 20 years (since the mid 90’s), and depending on how you look at it, that can be a good or bad thing. If you eat anything processed that has corn or soy (including their by-products like corn syrup) GMO seed has been used. Nearly everything processed will likely have had a GMO seed as the base ingredient. The good news is that studies have shown the GMO proteins originally put in the seeds are destroyed in the processing process, so you would not have any of the undesired residues in the products.
This biggest factor that you should consider when making a decision to eat or not eat GMO food is education. There are so many fallacies and misinformation out there, it is important for you to do your own research and make your own decisions. We ourselves have chosen not to use GMO seeds, but wholeheartedly see its benefits.