This provides our farm with its start-up funds each spring, when expenses are high and income is low.
What's a CSA?
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture" and the concept is several
decades old. The principle is that farms are usually strapped for cash in the spring of
the year as investments are made for that year's production. Purchases need to be made
for seed, soil amendments, fertilizer, greenhouse and tractor fuel, potting soil, labor,
and so forth. Yet income from the harvest is still months away.
Farms may go to lending institutions to borrow the cash needed for which they pay
interest, and in the long run this adds to overall operating costs, with interst paid to
the lending institutions.
The CSA concept is that the people in the community fed by a farm are the natural source
for funding a farm's early season expenditures. In return, the members supporting the
farm are assured a source of food for the season at no further cost.
The way this usually works is that CSA members are supplied with a shopping
bag or two of food each week for the agreed-upon season. Members are given an idea of
what they will be getting throughout the season and in what amounts, but the actual
contents of any week's bag of farm produce is determined by the output of the farm that
week. Members are given a choice of joining or not at the start of the season, but not
of what they will be getting each week. This suits many people just fine, and is how
most CSA's work.
How are we different?
We have been selling at Farmers' Markets for over a decade, so we know how different
each shopper's preferences are. Because we respect this, we have developed a plan
whereby members who support us financially in the spring get a credit redeemable for
whatever they want to buy.
This means that if you want to spend all of your CSA credit in August and September for
green beans and tomatoes for canning, then that's fine with us. If you want to fill your
freezer with June spinach and beet greens, that's OK, too. And if you want to come in
twice each week from June till October for a lettuce, a tomato, a cuke, some parsley and
scallions, we'll go along with that, too. After all, it's your money, and it's your
What's the deal?
When you buy ONE SHARE at $100 by April 1, then you get a $120 credit
valid from April 1 to December 31 to spend any way you like at any of
our several selling locations.
We also have a "latecomer's deal" where you buy one share by May 1 and get
$110 credit that year. We do this for people who miss our April 1 deadline, yet who
still want to benefit from our CSA plan. Our real need for operating income is in April, so we
don't give you quite the advantage when you pay late.
Where do we sell?
We sell at the Pittsfield Farmers' Market on Monday and Thursday afternoons
from 2 - 6pm. The market is located on Forest Ave, next to Hathorn Park across from the
start of Rt 152. May Day to Hallowe'en.
We sell at the Orono Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings from 8am–1pm and Tuesdays from 2–5:30pm. The market is located in the University's Steam Plant parking
lot on College Ave. The Orono Market is open every Saturday from MayDay to mid November, and every Tuesday from late June to Hallowe'en.
We sell at the Unity Market Day on Saturday morings from 9 am to 1 pm. The market is located at the Community Center on School St (Rte. 139) and is open from MayDay to mid November.
We sell at the Waterville Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoons from
2-6pm. The Farmers' Market is located in the Concourse in the downtown and is open from early May to mid November.
We also sell at our farm on the Snakeroot Road in Pittsfield almost any time
except Saturday mornings during market season (when we're both at market). Best to call ahead
to be sure we'll have what you want and you don't have to wait for it to get picked.
At each location we'll have a book with a list of our member's credits, and your
day's shopping total will be deducted from your credit balance each time you shop.
Of course you are welcome to come tour the farm anytime just to look around, ask
questions and enjoy our gardens. We have occassional pick-your-own deals, too. We also
have a regular organized farm tour on the second Sunday in July each year. In any case,
we're always glad to see you!
We try to be helpful.
We can offer recipes and preparation ideas when you buy produce or herbs. If you buy
plants, seeds or seedlings we can offer advice on planting and growing your garden or
maintaining your plant. And come tour our gardens anytime to see how we actually do it
ourselves. We can go into as much detail as you can handle.
Use your Snakeroot CSA at the whole market.
A unique feature of a Snakeroot CSA membership is that we allow our CSA members to buy any item that we do not grow from any other stand at the market. Just tell them “Snakeroot will pay for it”, then come back and tell us who to pay and how much to deduct from your credit. We then walk over and pay them cash for the amount of your purchase. To date, every other stand we have talked to is delighted that we do this, and it allows you to shop the whole market without cash.
CSA Shares as Gifts.
Several CSA members have given our CSA shares as holiday or birthday gifts or as housewarming presents for someone new to the area. Others have purchased multiple CSA shares as a donation to a local food cupboard, where the CSA members pick up at our stand and deliver the food themselves. If you are interested in doing any of these, talk to us about the details.
What We Grow.
This is a list of what we plan to grow this year and expect to have available for
harvest, though we cannot guarantee availability.
Seedlings- All the varieties that we grow of tomatoes, cabbage, celery, celeriac, broccoli,
peppers, herbs. Tomatoes and celery in both six-paks and singles. May and June.
Herbs: Cullinary & medicinal; fresh & dried. Basil, horehound, echinacea, dill,
tansy, oregano, marjoram, sage, feverfew, parsley, peppermint, spearmint, cilantro and others.
Garlic: Scapes (June & July), bulbs (July thru December); garlic grass (spring
& fall); and bulbils (August thru June).
Onions- Red and yellow cooking onions and red, yellow and white sweet Spanish onions. August to November.
Paste Tomatoes- Romas and banana sized and Hogheart and Snakeroot Golden Arrow paste tomatoes. Mid August thru October.
Cherry Tomatoes- Red & Yellow Pear, Gardener's Delight. July thru October.
Slicing Tomatoes- Over a dozen shapes and colors of heirlooms as well as regular round red hybrids. August to November.
Lupines- Blooming lupines in pots and baby (first year) lupines. May & June. Lupine seeds available year round.
Horsehadish- intermittently April through December.
Rhubarb and rhubarb plants- May and June.
Burdock Root (Gobo). October thru May.
Carrots- bunched or bagged. Usually year round, but mostly June through November.
Lettuces- Boston, red leaf, green buttercruch and cut baby lettuce leaves. April thru November.
Celery- Bunches of tall green stalks. July thru late November.
Celeriac- Celery flavored root, stores like a turnip. September thru December.
Spinach- April, May & June and October & November.
Cukes- Slicers and picklers. July to September.
Peppers- Both sweet and hot. August to November.
Potatoes- New redskin yellow flesh Red Gold potatoes in July and August and yellow flesh Carola & German Butterball from August to November.
Winter Squash- Buttercup, Butternut, Delicata, Red Kuri, and heirloom Long Pie Pumpkins. September thru December.
Parsnips- October & November and Spril & May.
Zucchini & Summer Squash. July thru September.
Maple syrup- Ungraded, but generally dark and full flavored, in quart canning jars. Available year round.
Dried Tomatoes, Kale, Carrots, Herbs and Apples- Simply sliced and dehydrated, nothing added. Available August thru May.
Seeds- Open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom varieties of many of
the vegetables, flowers, perennials and herbs we grow. Available year round.
Rosemary and Aloe plants- Pots of one year to three year old plants. May & June and October and November. Available at the farm year round.
What if I want more?
Individuals, families, stores, or organizations who know they would normally be
spending more than $120 with us over the course of a season are welcome to purchase
multiple shares at $100 each. Of course you can always simply purchase from us in the
normal way also.
What if I don't spend it all?
We are at market for 29 weeks each season, and before and after the market season you
can stop by the farm, so if you don't think you will be spending at least $100 of your
credit (your "break-even point"), then you probably shouldn't buy a share. We
will not be giving refunds for any unspent portions of your credit, although you can ask for any remainer of your credit to be donated to a food pantry, or offer a friend or neighbor the chance to shop on your CSA account.
Is your farm really organic?
Yes. We are members of and certified organic by MOFGA,
the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, which certifies about
400 farms in Maine. Our farm is inspected and our practices scrutinized by their inspectors each
year. Our certification number is 9411.
To join Snakeroot's CSA Plan, send us $100 for each share you want, along with your name
address, phone and email.
More Questions? Get in touch.
Talk to Tom or Lois at: