Central Michigan CSA Program
The Central Michigan CSA is a vibrant farm co-op we operate from our family farm in Mid Michigan. My name is Joe Crawford and I’m the owner/farmer of the Central Michigan CSA. We are currently enrolling members for the 2014 membership and I’m glad you are looking into our farm and our food. If you are here to sign up and become a member, you’ll find the membership form nearer the bottom of this page. Please be sure to also sign up for the CSA Newsletter as well. You’ll get our monthly Newsletter and when the harvest season begins in May/June you’ll get weekly updates with recipe ideas and more information about the fresh produce in your shares. I appreciate the chance to grow your families food and look forward to answering any questions you may have. You can send me a note, call or email me. I’ve provided my contact information all over this website.
The 2014 growing season will be our first year of growing and offering Certified Organic Produce to our CSA members and customers at our Farm Stand. We’ve been transitioning our current growing operation into certification and will have around 10 acres available for certified organic growing in the spring. Essentially our produce will be the same, it will simply be certified organic.
Membership is in full swing for this years CSA program and we have welcomed a bunch of new members already. If you’ve never participated in a CSA or “farm co-op” learn more about how a CSA works by reading through this page and others on this website. I’m also more than happy to discuss our growing methods and philosophy in person or over the phone. Our CSA program is moving into it’s 4th year. It has more than doubled each year and we will have around 150 shares available in 2014 for families in the central Michigan area. 2014 CSA Pick-Up locations will include:
- Midland Michigan at the farmers market by the Tridge on Wednesdays between 7 am and 12pm
- Mt. Pleasant Michigan at the farmers market in Island park on Thursdays between 7am and 1pm
- Gladwin Michigan at the farmers market behind the Historic Village on Saturdays between 8 am and 1pm
- Clare Michigan at our farm stand on old U.S. 27 1/2 North of the speedway on the way to Jay’s Sporting Goods
You should subscribe to our CSA Newsletter while your here so you get updates on the CSA and the farm. You’ll find the Newsletter Form on the home page of this website. Oh, and keep up on what’s new at our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MichiganCsaFarm ~ And feel free to contact me, Joe Crawford ~Cell Phone Number is 989-284-8251 I look forward to chatting with you. Below is a contact for to send me a note. This is NOT the membership form.
I grew up on a farm in Central Michigan. Growing up, community supported agriculture meant I had to work in the garden everyday and I did, and it was big, there were two….. and I didn’t like it. But I did it anyway and I’ve developed a different perspective on growing my own food and enjoy the fruit and vegetable industry as farmer and market owner today. It’s a lot of work and it’s very rewarding. Our central Michigan CSA program was actually started in our 3rd year of operating the farm market located in Clare Michigan just north of U.S. 27 on the way to Jay’s Sporting Goods. Each year we’ve added new varieties and improved the program based on feedback from our members. Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated. Also if you have suggestions on items you’d like to see us grow, please let us know during the winter or early spring.
Our CSA Farm in Mid Michigan
Our CSA program is supplied from food grown on our farm which is 1/2 mile from the Isabella county line and a few miles from midland county. The farm is located straight east of Clare Michigan. It is a family farm and for years was a cow/calf beef farm. At the peak we had about 30 cows and raise their calves that were later sold as feeder steers (400 lbs.). While our family has always raised our own vegetables, fruit, honey, maple syrup, beef, pork and poultry I’m the first in the family to offer it to others as a service. Our central Michigan CSA program is an extension of the same philosophy I grew up with here at the farm only on a larger scale. In order to make our program one of the best CSA’s in Michigan we’ve decided to also provide fresh picked fruits from local orchards and berry patches and also include honey, maple syrup and fresh flowers which we produce on our farm. Learn more about the premium CSA share below to decide which share is right for your family.
My Dad has since sold the beef cattle except for a few for butchering and that has left over 60 acres of pasture available on the 120 acre farm that lays along the Tobacco River in Sheridan Township. I’ve relied on two Amish communities to grow most of the vegetables and fruits I offer at the market for the last 4 years and will continue to supply the market with that food because it is the highest quality of food I’ve found in terms of taste, cleanliness, and availability. Two years ago I did an experiment on an acre of pasture land here at the farm to see how crops would grow. I planted a little of everything and was pleased with the results. Growing here on the farm allows me to grow some of the old varieties also know as home grown varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are one example that I can grow here but am hard pressed to haul them any distance unless I hold them in my lap. They don’t ship well and there are many other great tasting varieties of other vegetables that don’t ship well either, I can grow them here for the CSA and I’m excited about that.
How Big is Your Garden?
In 2014 we will have around 15 acres of ground into vegetable production. 10 acres +/- will be Certified Organic and be used exclusively for certified organic vegetables, much of which you will find in your weekly CSA shares. The remaining 5 acres is currently in transition into organic, we use the same organic practices on this field, we just need to document that for another year or so.
Growing vegetables requires water, lots of water, so I looked for ways to minimize the quanity of water need to grow good food. We have three farm ponds that total about 4 acres and they have nutrient rich water that we’ve used to irrigate our gardens for over 20 years. We pump the water into a 1,000 tank and haul it up to the produce field to water. I installed mulch and gravity fed drip lines beneath it to water the plants, this greatly conserves water, diesel fuel, and time. Another benefit of water at the ground level is that the plants aren’t constantly wet which promotes disease like fungal blights and other problems. During research before I started the Central Michigan CSA I found several programs that failed and learned why. In all three cases it was drought. So basically the farmer had a complete crop loss and the members didn’t get their food! Not sure what happened to their money… My point is that I’ve taken steps and made investments so crop loss is highly unlikely. Drought, for instance, is of no concern on our farm. We also use methods that naturally ward off blights and other devastating disease.
What is a CSA?
In case your wondering CSA stands for “community supported agriculture” and is a term typically used to describe an agreement between a grower or growers and consumers. Essentially you subscribe, buy in, or express interest in a CSA and this entitles you to pre-agreed amounts of produce. Many times the CSA will offer shares and half shares. These shares cost a set amount of money and are typically paid early in the growing season. The cost varies on what is offered and the length of the season. Some CSA’s offer specialty shares which can include things like flowers, honey, meats and eggs while some include these things in their normal share price. Most successful michigan CSA’s I’ve seen design the full share to feed a family of four, and a 1/2 share obviously is more in line for two people.
Our CSA Program Details
Well, that’s a little about our CSA farm here in Mid Michigan, now I’ll share some of the details of the CSA program and how you can become a member of our CSA program. You don’t have to be a member of our CSA to get fresh locally grown produce, we still offer it at the Market, but members will be able to get different items that we don’t offer at our open air farm market. Things like lettuce, greens, raspberries, and even radishes have a shelf life of about 4 hours so we don’t offer them at the market as we don’t
refrigerate our produce. Many of the items at the market are picked the same day you buy/eat them unlike most grocery stores, but we are limited to things that can hold up without refrigeration.
Are you interested in participating in a C.S.A? You can get the program details by filling our the form here on the website. It should be on the right. You can also call me directly if you would like to discuss it more or have questions. My contact number is 989-284-8251 you can also leave a comment below if you have feedback or want to ask a question that way.
Community supported agriculture programs have gained more interest over the past few years and they are becoming a popular way to get the freshest produce direct from the farmer and plus it help farmers. Many CSA’s offer multiple drop off points making it more convenient for customers to pick up their food. These drop off points can include farm markets, the CSA farm, or even delivery. For now we are requesting people pick up their shares at the farm market or the farm but we will also have a pick up spot in Mt. Pleasant and Midland. I do intend to provide additional drop off points as the need arises.
What Types of Vegetables Do we Grow?
We try to grow most everything that CAN grow here in central Michigan. I’m always up to try something new, if you have an uncommon vegetable you really like let me know! Here are some of the fruits and vegetables we grow each year and include in your weekly shares: ( these are somewhat in order of harvest sequence)
Asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, sugar snap peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, leeks, green beans, yellow summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickling pickles, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bell peppers, misc. hot peppers, egg plant, cherry tomatoes, lima beans, sweet corn, winter squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, onions, potatoes, several herbs (basil, cilantro, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.), apples, garlic, swiss chard, kohlrabi, pumpkins, and more
In addition to these vegetables we also offer most all the fruits grown here in Michigan through our Premium Share options. Here are some of the most popular fruits you will find in your weekly share depending on which ones are in season at the time:
Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, apricots, plumbs, apples, raspberries,
Central Michigan CSA or Vegetable Co-Op Program
Summary of our Membership Options
I’ve noticed older customers talk about vegetable co-ops and from what I understand they are very similar to the CSA model. Our program has a 20 week goal, based on past years this is realistic. We start with greens and asparagus in May and then move into strawberries and other early vegetables like summer squash, green beans, early potatoes during June. We end the season with winter squash (over 10 varieties) along with potatoes, onions, garlic and apples. Our share price is set at $535.00 right now and that is for a full share of fruits and vegetables which feed a family of 4-5 (about a bushel of produce) for 18-20 weeks. That works out to $22.00 a week and there is a good chance you’ll see the program last longer. 1/2 Shares are also available for $325.00 and you’ll find that will be enough food to feed 2-3 family members or friends. We decided to offer a Premium 20 Week share for the 2012 season the cost is $745.00. Notice the premium share is around $200 more than the regular full share. This is only $10.oo a week over a 20 week program. If you have a fruit loving family this likely won’t be all the fruit you’ll want. We do sell additional fruit at a CSA member discount on the pick up days. The full Premium Share will consist of around a bushel of fresh picked vegetables as well as Michigan in season fruits along with maple syrup, honey,and herbs. Premium share members will also get a variety of fall decor, pumpkins for halloween and hardy Michigan MUM’s in the Fall. Some of the areas we expect to serve are listed below though you are invited to become a member regardless of the town you live in. Just fill out the form and I will get in touch to discuss the details. You will also get our weekly CSA newsletter which will arrive each week of the CSA. It will contain recipes from us and from other members along with tips and quirky info about food. NOTE you need to sign up for the Newsletter separately on the Home page of this website. I’ll confirm your subscription once you send the membership form.
The Market Style CSA Share
We decided to offer a market style CSA share as well which is a great way to support our farm for those people who live close by and like shopping at the market anyway. If you are one of our visitors who stops while traveling you can purchase a Market Style Share as well. It works like this: The prices for the full and half shares are the same as the regular CSA shares, only with the market share you get credits and can spend them anyway you’d like when you shop at the market only you’ll save around 25% as a CSA member. You buy a full share for $535.00 and you recieve $668.00 in Market credits. We keep track of market credits at the till.
- Mt. Pleasant Michigan
- Alma Michigan
- Harrison Michigan
- Clare Michigan
- Farwell Michigan
- Lake Michigan
- Midland Michigan
Become a Member and Purchase a 2014 CSA Share Online
Want to become a member? Great, I’ll help you do that right now. First I’d like you to sign up for the CSA Newsletter on the home page of this website. This will send an automatic email to you with my contact information. Feel free to give me a call if you’d lke me to walk you through sign up. Once you subscribe to the Newsletter you’ll need to fill out the membership form below which asks a few questions about you, your choice of share and location to pick up. This is important because it is what keeps the program organized. Below I’ve listed the Options for the 2012 CSA program. We have 4 Options~ If you love fresh fruit, check out the premium share options.
2014 CSA Share Options and Details
18 Week CSA Full Share
I recommend the full share if you’re feeding 4-6 people who like vegetables and fruit. You’ll find the full share is about a 1/2 bushel basket in quantity and consist of mainly vegetables. We usually provide several melons and a small variey of Michigan fruits. If you like a lot of fruit, consider the premium share, it’s worth it. You’ll also find a few different herbs that we grow. Our goal is 20 weeks and for the last 4 years this has not been a problem. We look to start around the third week in May. Cost is $535.00 (figures out to $24.25 Per Week)
18 Week Half Share
The half share is better suited for feeding 2-3 people and is about 1/2 the quantity of a full share. You’ll find the same items in the 1/2 share as the full share only in smaller quantities. Cost is $325.00 (Figures out to $14.25 Per Week)
18 Week 1/4 Share
This share is for one person, it’s like the other regular shares just with less quantity.
Premium Shares Include Fruit along with the Vegetables You’ll Get Every Week!
Some of the Fruits include: Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, apples, watermelons and cantaloupe. You wont receive as much fruit as vegetables. The cost is around $200 for the season so realize that is about $10 worth of fruit every week. NOTE: being a CSA member will entitle you to a 25% discount on any extra fruit you would like to purchase form us!
18 Week Premium Share
The premium share should feed 4-6 people and we really go over board on this one. You can expect lots of fresh picked vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, sweetcorn, onions, zucchini squash, summer squash, asparagus, and much much more. The premium share is big on fruit too. Instead of getting one fruit each week like the regular share, you get what ever is in season. So in late June you could be getting strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and maybe even cantaloupe too all in the same basket. The fruit starts with strawberries in June and ends with apples in the fall. The premium CSA share also includes maple syrup, herbs, a variety of fall decor, pumpkins for Halloween, and you even have the option of getting a hardy Michigan Mum to add some color to your front porch in the fall. The Cost is $745.00 (Figures to 34.25 Per Week)
18 Week Premium 1/2 Share **
This is a new share this year and I think it will be one of the most popular. You’ll get everything in the regular 1/2 share PLUS all the in season fruits as the become availabel for harvest. Here are some of the fruits you can expect: Strawberries, peaches, blueberries, cherries, apples, plums, and melons of assorted variety. The premium shares also include fresh maple syrup, homemade Jams, and honey. The cost for the Premium half share is $485.oo
The Market Style Share
The Market Style Share is for those of you who love shopping at the Market here in Clare. There is a Full and Half Market Style share and the cost is the same as a traditional CSA share. You’ll save around 25% with the Market share. The Cost for the Market style share is $300. When you pay $300 you’ll get $375 in market credits.
Thank you for the opportunity to grow your families food this year! If you have any questions about the Central Michigan CSA please get in touch. If you have another Mid Michigan CSA pick up location you would like to request, I’d be happy to consider it.