What is White Flint Farm?
We are a 183 acre farm in Keeling, Virginia that has been in our family since at least 1879 and probably much longer. At least seven generations of our family have lived and worked on this farm. Our vegetables are raised naturally and organically, without ever using pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer. Our eggs come from our free-ranging hens, raised naturally and humanely. Our pigs are raised on pasture and are never given any antibiotics or growth hormones. We also have a herd of the happiest goats on the planet. We are dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices and to preservation of the farm for future generations.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” It is a way families can partner with local farmers to get fresh, locally-grown produce. The specifics vary from farm to farm, but the basic concept is that the CSA members purchase a share of the farm’s output for the season. The member gets a delivery of fresh produce from the farm every week during the season.
How does it work?
Simple. Members buy a share at the beginning of the year and we deliver them fresh all-natural food once a week from spring through fall. Each week the food will be delivered to a prearranged drop spot, or the member can always come out to the farm to pick it up.
What does it cost?
A full season share is $750. This will be 33 weeks of deliveries beginning the week of April 1 and ending the week of November 11.
A Summer/Fall share is $550. This consists of 22 weeks of deliveries beginning the week of June 9 and ending the week of November 11.
We will not be offering half-shares at this time. We encourage those who think a share might be too much food to partner with others.
For some folks a full share might be too much food. We encourage folks to get together and split shares.
What food will we get?
We expect an average week will be about a half bushel of food. Some weeks it may be less and some weeks it will be more. You can see our weekly deliveries for last season on the “CSA deliveries by week” page on this site, although there is no guarantee (of course) that we’ll have the same things available (and at the same times) this year.
On our farm we have essentially three growing seasons—spring, summer and fall.
This year we expect to have over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including the following:
asparagus, potatoes (7 varieties), kale (4 varieties), collard greens, sweet corn, okra (2 varieties), swiss chard (3 varieties), cantaloupes, turnip greens, turnips, mustard greens, joi choy, cabbage (2 varieties), arugula, broccoli (3 varieties), mizuna, chinese cabbage (2 varieties), english peas, purple hull peas (2 varieties), tomatoes (8 varieties), bell peppers (3 varieties), hot peppers (2 varieties), eggplant (2 varieties), sweet potatoes, 3 types of lettuce mixes, 3 types of oriental greens mixes, green beans (3 varieties), black beans, October beans, onions and scallions (2 varieties), spinach (3 varieties), carrots (3 varieties), radishes (4 varieties), beets and beet greens (4 varieties), summer and winter squash (8 varieties), zuchinni (2 varieties), cucumbers (4 varieties), lettuce (5 varieties), watermelon (4 varieties), cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cress/creasy greens, garlic (2 varieties), orach and a wide variety of fresh herbs
How do I reserve a share?
We have a limited number of shares available (particularly with respect to Full Season shares). These will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to reserve a share, so we can notify the people on our waiting list of any availability. To reserve a Full Season share we require a $250 deposit by March 1, with the balance due on or before April 1. To reserve a Summer/Fall share we require a $250 deposit by May 9, with the balance due on or before June 9. We have to do this to make sure we have enough time to find a replacement member if people change their minds.
Why not just buy the food at the Farmer’s Market?
For some folks, buying at the Farmer’s Market will make more sense than buying a CSA share. At the Farmer’s Market you can buy just the amount you need, of only what you want. CSA shares make the most sense for folks who want to make naturally-grown local food a substantial part of their families’ diets, who want the convenience of having the food delivered to them and who want the experience of partnering with the farmers. Also, our CSA members will get priority, so there is no guarantee that we will be able to offer everything at the farmer’s market that our CSA members will get.
What are the advantages of being in the CSA?
Convenience is a primary advantage. As a CSA member, you’ll receive a delivery of food during the week at a location agreed on before the season begins. It won’t be necessary to go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. CSA members will also get priority on our farm so you’ll eliminate the risk that what you want will be gone by the time you get to the market. Over the course of an entire growing season, CSA shares should be more economical than buying the same amount of food at the Farmer’s Market. Many families like being in a CSA because it enables them to experience the farm season, share in the risks and rewards of farming, and experience food they might not otherwise buy.
What are the disadvantages of a CSA?
Unlike shopping at the Farmer’s Market, CSA members don’t select exactly what they receive and in what quantities. Instead, they get a share of whatever the farm is producing that week. Some weeks the share may not be very much, while other weeks it may seem like too much. Some weeks you may get vegetables you don’t like (or haven’t yet learned to like). Sometimes you may get too little of something you do like. The biggest disadvantage is that it requires the member to take some risk. If we have a bad year and lose a crop, the member is in it with us.
Do we have to work at the farm?
We can always use some help and members are welcome to come pitch in anytime they want (kids too). But we don’t require members to work on the farm. It’s perfectly OK if you don’t. For any work done, we’ll refund your share purchase price at a rate of $7.50/hour. So, for example, work ten hours and get a $75 refund.
What if the farm has a bad year?
If that happens we can guarantee you it won’t be because we didn’t work hard enough. This is how we get our food too. But sometimes bad things happen. For example, one year our spinach, peppers and Brussels sprouts did poorly. One year we lost all our cabbage to cabbage worms. One year the deer tore down our fences and ate all our kale. Last year our cucumber crop failed. Part of partnering with the farmer is that the CSA member shares in the loss. If we lose a crop or have a bad year due to weather, the share will be affected.
What if the farm has a good year?
The members share in our good fortune. Last year we had bumper crops of sweet potatoes, purple hull peas and tomatoes, for example. When we have a good year, so will the CSA member.
Can we visit the farm?
Of course. We love visitors. Just let us know when you’d like to come and we’ll make arrangements.
Will we know what’s coming before it arrives?
We will try to keep members informed by email of what’s coming in the next delivery, so you can plan menus. We’ll also pass along recipes and interesting information about the food that’s coming your way.
What if we don’t like something you raise?
First of all, don’t be so sure. Food fresh from the garden, naturally raised, often tastes so much better than supermarket food that you’ll discover that something you don’t think you like is actually delicious! But if you know you don’t want something that is coming, just email us and we’ll leave it out. If possible we’ll make it up with something you do like, but we can’t guarantee that.
What if we like something you don’t raise?
Just let us know and we’ll consider trying it. We have a pretty good idea of what grows well on our farm and what doesn’t, but we’re always interested in trying something new.
Is there anything unique about your CSA?
We make sharing our food with the poor a priority. We give a substantial portion of what we grow to the poor, who can’t afford a share. As a member you get in on that, since your share price helps make it possible.
Unlike most CSAs, we include asparagus. If you’ve never had asparagus straight from the garden, you’re in for an amazing treat.
We honor our local food traditions. While we will include foods that are not historically part of the local folk food culture, we will grow the staples and varieties that folks here have preferred and enjoyed for over 100 years. If some of it is new to you, get ready for a treat (and we’ll help you learn how to cook and best enjoy these local specialties).
Any other details?
We will do our best to make sure that every member receives a delivery of healthy, delicious chemical-free produce every week. But by becoming a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), our members understand and acknowledge that they are joining us in the risks of farming. We are all at the mercy of the weather, crop failures, etc. and we cannot guarantee how much or what kinds of foods will be available. We’ve been blessed in the past to always have plenty of great food available every week—but there are no guarantees in farming.
Our food is grown naturally, without the use of herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and harmful chemicals. Nevertheless, we recommend that all produce be thoroughly washed before being eaten. We sometimes rinse the produce before delivering it, but it will still need to be washed before being eaten.
If you have any questions or to set up a visit to the farm, just call or send us an email.
Bill and Cherie Guerrant