Bishop’s Orchards have been farming for 149 years. Ten years ago, in celebration of our 140th Anniversary, we decided to really showcase our farm by starting the CSA Program (Community Supported Agriculture).
Our goals are to put people in touch with our roots, showcase products from the farm, as well as provide news and information about the farm. It has become a great venue to expose people to the farm as well as provide them with quality, fresh picked products throughout the harvest season. Basically not just what we grow, but how we grow!
Most people these days know us for our Farm Market, but we are very proud of the progressive work that we have done and continue to do on the farm. We are one of the first true practitioners of IPM in the state and we have aggressively pursued better, safer, and more sustainable ways to grow into what is now our 148th year in agriculture. While we have a thriving Farm Market, many people may not know that we are stewards of over 300 acres of working farm land that provides many products in the market when they are in season.
While one goal with this CSA program is that we bring you back to the farm, let you see where we came from and where we are going, we also want to show you what local really means in terms of the produce we can provide. Agricultural stewardship is extremely important to us. On occasion, other local farms will be offering truly unique items, so we can create the most diverse CSA.
- What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture, commonly known as CSA, is a popular term among food conscious people. CSA programs directly link the consumer to the farmer. The consumer becomes a shareholder or subscriber and commits at the beginning of the growing season to purchase a part of the farmers’ crop. Memberships to the share are paid up front. This helps off set production costs by allowing the growers to produce exactly what is needed for its customers. Farmers earn important early-season capital and have a guaranteed market for their produce. This also limits waste. CSA members get the best of the best that a farm has to offer.
- How does CSA work at Bishop’s?
Families and households sign up to purchase a “share” of the upcoming season’s harvest. The commitment in advance by the shareholders helps the farmers offset the costs of running the farm, including seeds, fertilizer, labor, equipment and insurances; Most of which are incurred during the spring planting season. Once the season is underway, we prepare a weekly tub of seasonal produce and fruit for you to pick up. We also provide an education channel via weekly e-mail, blog and face to face communications.
- Why Bishops CSA?
Bishops’ CSA offers a share which contains an extensive selection of both fruit and vegetables thus maximizing the diversity of products.
- The Season
Twenty weeks from early June through October. The exact start date is dependant on the weather and development of the crops. You will be notified in advance by email when we will begin.
- Pick up days
We offer 3 pick up times; Tuesday 11:30-2:30, Tuesday 5:00-7:00, and Thursday 3:00-7:00. You will be asked to pick a day, and keep that day. BUT, we realize life happens, and we are flexible to move a day or time when needed, just let us know. Anyone can pick up a share for the share owner. If a share isn’t picked up we donate it to the local soup kitchen.
- What is in a Share?
A share is usually 7-9 items of whatever is in season. Early season might contain more greens and strawberries while mid-season would see more of a mix with blueberries and peaches to garlic, onions, tomatoes and melons. Late season has fall squashes, apples, broccoli, cauliflower and even cider. The total list for the year is very extensive. We try extremely hard to offer a varied and exciting tub each week. Basically we grow apples to zucchini and everything in between. Have you had Cape Gooseberries before? You will.
- What is the risk?
The understanding is that CSA shareholders provide consistent support to the farm, and the farmers do their best to provide a plentiful, consistent, and varied supply of farm fresh products. Rarely there is a confluence of factors that really puts a hole in the flow of produce. Our size and diversity work to minimize these risks, but they can and do exist.
- Why Participate
- Weekly supplies of ultra-fresh fruits and vegetables picked and selected specifically for shareholders.
- Exposure to fruits and vegetables you may not normally try
- Develop a relationship with the people who grow your food.
- Weekly e-mails for CSA members with information on the CSA program, current happenings “on the Farm”, as well as behind the scenes stories and information.
- Keeps your food money local, provides for local jobs, and promotes the continuation of agriculture in our area.
- Allows us to show people the process of growing, to get a feel for what is involved. A shareholder will feel like they are part of the farm.
- Tips and recipes to help you enjoy your bounty.
Full payment is required in advance to secure a share. Sign-up is online only, usually starting in mid-February with Payments made by debit or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa & Discover) or Online Check. A limited quantity of shares is available on a first come first serve basis. Once you are a Bishop’s Orchards CSA member, you will have first option to purchase shares each year. Bishop’s Orchards CSA is here to serve the community, and encourages you to share it’s bounty with friends, family, and neighbors. However, ownership of your shares can not be transferred or sold to a 3rd party. Shares are non refundable. Weekly emails during the season will inform you of what to expect in your weekly share, and our CSA Blog will provide news, farm happenings, recipes and a place to share with your fellow members. Upon purchase, you will select your pickup day/time slot for the entire season. Our pickup location is at our ‘Little Red Barn’ next to the Farm Market at 1355 Boston Post Rd, Guilford.
Thank you for supporting our farm. We look forward to another great year of Bishops fresh produce! Please contact Brad Isnard, CSA Director, with any questions.
Thank you for the support
The Bishop’s Orchards CSA Blog is designed to update the shareholders and participants in the program with news from the farm, pictures and videos of what is happening. This is a discussion board for people to ask Bishop’s CSA questions and bring ideas and comments to the table! Want to know what to do with an item that you received in your basket last week? Ask us, we’re here to help. Bishop’s Orchards, providing you with the freshest farm products in Guilford since 1871.
Bishop’s Orchards CSA Member Agreement for 2020
Bishop’s Orchards, 1355 Boston Post Rd. Guilford, CT06437-2399
We, the farm, wish to provide you with fresh, local, seasonal food and you, the member, wish to receive a portion of our harvest. This agreement outlines our shared commitments to that relationship. By purchasing a share, you agree to these terms.
Section 1. Introducing Bishop’s CSA Farm
A. Becoming a Part of Bishop’s Orchards
Families and households sign up to purchase a “share” of the upcoming season’s harvest. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a relationship between our farm and you as our customer. Rather than simply purchasing food, our customers become “members” of this CSA farm who receive a portion of the farm’s harvest.
The commitment in advance partners with us on the costs of running the CSA, including seeds, fertilizer, labor, equipment and insurances, most of which are incurred during the spring planting season.
Our CSA runs for 20 weeks, from June to October. Members are responsible for showing up at the farm each week to pick up your share. Detailed information regarding pick-up is discussed below in Section 3. Variety and quantity may vary as described below in Section 2.
B. Our Growing Practices
We are proud of the significant efforts we employ to minimize our environmental footprint while balancing the need to be economically viable. We have achieved this using a sound, structured IPM program. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the lifecycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
C. The Products We Expect to Harvest
Throughout the 20 week period, you will receive a number of fresh products from the farm. During the growing period, you may receive more quantity of some things as the harvest continues to thrive into the summer months where you will then find more of an assortment each week in your basket. In June, we will have fresh strawberries, lettuce and greens. July will bring out fresh picked green beans, beets, sweet corn, squash, blueberries and cucumbers, followed by tomatoes, peaches, pears, raspberries, apples, winter squash and more. Of course weather, pests, and other events will affect actual production and what is available each week. Please note that we produce some items exclusively for our CSA and others that you may not receive in your CSA share.
Section 2. Our Shared Commitments
A. Sharing in the Risk of Crop Failure
We promise to do our best to provide you with a bountiful share each week. The quantity of produce, however, may vary from week-to-week due to extreme weather, insects, or other production factors despite our best efforts. By joining our CSA, you are agreeing to share the risk of crop failure with us and other members. In the unlikely event of a crop failure, our procedure is as follows:
If only a small portion of crops fail, we compensate for the failed crops by filling your share with other crops grown on the farm that are ready for harvest at that time. We may cover for a crop loss by cooperating with other local farmers. This may not be a feasible option for all crops because of cost or widespread failure.
We expect to deliver you the full value of your share, and in the 6 years we have operated our CSA we have always done so.
B. Sharing in the Reward of Crop Surplus
In addition to our CSA, our farm sells most of our crops via our Farm Market or PYO. We balance priority of the CSA with our other markets. This allows us to select a consistently full and diverse share to our customers while avoiding over-delivering any one product. Some weeks we have ‘extras’ of certain items that you can partake of as indicated that day at no extra charge. We also operate a ‘swap’ table, where you can take or leave items between other members so nothing goes to waste.
Section 3. Picking Up Shares
You are responsible for picking up your share on time each week on your selected day and time. You are responsible for observing our simple, common sense rules, which are as follows:
- Return last week’s box every week, or bring your own bags and leave the box at the site.
- Pick up your share within the timeframe stated. We start with high-quality produce, and the effects of temperature and weather may cause it to decline if not picked up in time.
- Be respectful of our property, your fellow members, parking lot courtesy and safety.
- When extras are available, be considerate and take only what you can use and hopefully have some left for members making later pickups.
If you cannot pick-up your share, you must arrange for someone else to pick it up for you on time. Call Brad at 203-627-6587 or email him at [email protected] to make alternate arrangements. Shares that are not picked up within the pick-up time will be donated to New Haven Farms or alternate charity.
We take the safety of your food seriously. For your added protection, wash all produce before eating and keep products properly refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible.
Section 4. Member Fees
By selling membership in advance of the growing season, CSA reduces the burden of up-front costs for the farmer. Your membership fees provide us with money to purchase seed and equipment before the season starts, and we appreciate your commitment.
Full payment is required in advance to secure a share. Payment and sign-up is online only, with Payments made using debit or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa and Discover) or ACH transfer with Dwolla. A limited quantity of shares is available on a first come first serve basis. Once you are a Bishop’s Orchards CSA member, you will have first option to purchase shares each year. Bishop’s Orchards CSA is here to serve the community, and encourages you to share it’s bounty with friends, family, and neighbors. However, ownership of your shares can not be transferred or sold to a 3rd party. All payments and Shares are non refundable.
Base Share Types:
Full Share ($600.00) A FULL SHARE is suitable for most everyone, including a couple, unless you eat out or are not at home many days of the week. You can split a full share with a friend or family and alternate pickups.
Medium (2/3) Share ($425.00). As stated, 2/3 of the amount in a Full Share, a good fit for 2-3 people or those who eat fewer meals at home.
The 20 week season runs from June-October and includes a wide variety of produce, both fruits and vegetables from early season strawberries and spinach to mid-season peaches, peppers, and corn through autumn apples and pumpkins. All of the produce comes from Bishop’s Orchards and from our partner farm Cecarelli’s in Northford, with an occasional addition from other surrounding farms.
Optional Add-On Shares
Mushroom share – $80.00. This share will run 10 weeks, beginning in July. Mushrooms will be provided by Chatfield Hollow Farms and include varieties such as Maitake, Beech and Royal Trumpet.
Egg share – $60.00. The egg share offers half a dozen eggs every week.
Specialty share – $200.00. The specialty share will be 2-3 items in an every other week share that will be Connecticut produced specialty items. This could be a range of items from products made from Bishops fruit, cheese, bread, pesto to honey and more. This is an opportunity to help support other small local farms and businesses and provide quality products to shareholders. (This is an every other week share)
Cheese share – $200.00. The cheese share will be 2 cheese in an every other week share. More information to come. This is an exciting share that was added, to expose people to the local artisan cheese. (This is an every other week share)
Food shares are non-taxable. Optional Add-On Shares must include a Base Share purchase.
Section 5. Communicating with Us
The best way to communicate with us is to reach Brad at 203-627-6587 or email him at [email protected]. Alternately, call our office at 203-453-2338 and identify yourself as a CSA member and your need. We will do our best to respond as soon as possible, but please understand that our CSA staff spends most of our time in the field growing your food and not at our desk. Please login to your account viqa our CSA web page at csa.bishopsorchards.com top update postal or email address, request changes or express joy or dissatisfaction.
We will communicate with you by email. When you sign up, you will be added to our distribution list. Please read your email from us. We depend on being able to communicate important information such as share contents, changes due to weather, discounts to CSA members at the Farm Market or PYO and inform you about farm events. Every week, we will email an update giving you information about the crops available that week, recipe ideas, or other farm related news.
By checking the box and paying, I agree to purchase the membership share I have chosen and abide by the terms of this agreement. I understand that, although unlikely, Bishop’s Orchards may change parts of this agreement related to production and distribution from time to time. I understand that they will contact me via email in advance of any changes to this agreement.
Visit our Bishop’s Cookbook for recipes from the Farm.