What do you mean when you say organically grown and why is that so important to me? I mean really…

Growing vegetables organically is a lot more involved than simply being chemical free. We have all heard the expression, “you are what you eat”, well that applies tenfold for the things that we are eating. If the soil they are planted in is absent of those microorganisms that assist in the absorption of nutrients because a fungicide has been applied or if it is depleted of nutrients because of an improper crop rotation schedule then, in effect, what you are harvesting is a flavorless remnant void of its true nutritional potential.

Applied organic compost, hand tilled soil beds, companion planting, row covers, planned crop rotation, carefully selected heirloom seeds and calibrated irrigation are all part of an overall strategy to create a bio-dynamic environment in which the crop will not simply grow…but thrive.

Also, growing local does not mean organic, and growing organic does not necessarily meant it is grown locally. So this is a different ‘thing’ but often confused as being the same. Just like bread, the fresher the vegetable the better. While on that subject, here is a fun fact; did you know that most imported vegetables are not inspected here in Canada? And less than ten percent of the imported food that IS inspected is mandated to meet Health Canada guidelines for food production. It’s true.

A very cool documentary that is completely worth watching either by yourself or as a family is Symphony of the Soil. If you haven’t seen it…please.. it’s only an hour and it’s really worth your time.

What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?

42 (See Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams or ask your mother)

What is a CSA?  20140712_083845

Community-supported agriculture (CSA; sometimes known as community-shared agriculture) is an alternative, locally-based economic model agriculture and food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and or fruit, beef or poultry.

Why would I want to purchase a share?

• Because freshness and quality are not just slogans at Mike’s Garden Harvest, they are a reality. You are eating something that was harvested for you in many cases just a few hours ago…or less.
• You develop a relationship with the farmer that grows the food that you are feeding yourself and your family.
• You have the opportunity to come and see how your food is grown.
• You are exposed to a broader selection of fresh vegetables.
• No running around! The baskets are either delivered to your door or made available for a convenient pick up at the farm or at the Field House beside the Parkdale Market.
• Preferential selection of the harvest is dedicated to the CSA members, but please don’t tell anyone else that I told you that.
• Last but not least, it is good value. Over the course of the season you will pay about 10 percent less for a full share than if you had bought all of that at the Farmer’s Market.

How much is in a share?

This is simple math really. Basically I take the total annual cost of the share and each week I assemble a basket of vegetables for you that is worth about $28.00 (plus delivery) for 18 weeks. Understandably, the cost of the basket works out to be a little bit more for the Half Season Share and the Flex Pack and to be a little bit less/week for the Big Mike Share.  Variety and selection will depend on the time of year but the crop plan is designed so that the harvest is interesting. There will be a base of 5 to 7 different items that are pre-selected and at the peak of the season there will be upwards of another five items that can be selected by the shareholder to top up the basket. I will carefully inspect each week to determine that which is ready for harvest and communicate that in an email so that you know what to expect.

What do you mean by a basket again?

The term ‘basket’ defined in this usage is a unit of measure (as opposed to a physical container) that refers to one part of the total amount of produce for the number of weeks you have purchased in a given season. Volume and variety may vary if extreme weather, insects, or other production factors despite my best efforts adversely affect the yield. At the end of the day, what is most important to me is that you get good value in both goods AND service for your hard earned dollar. Please feel free to read some of the testimonies from last season

I am having company for dinner can I buy more than my weekly allotment?

20141003_144800Yes, but please give me a heads up so I am ready for you. There is no better feeling than knowing my vegetables are on your table to enhance a special event.

Do I have to buy a whole share?

No, there are different size shares.  There is even a Flex pack for the travel heavy/contract wary.  Please see the Share Options section. There are a lot of choices available to you and it important that you are matched with the right fit for the needs of your household.

What if I go on holiday during the summer?

I ask for a minimum of two days’ notice. More notice is better as I am harvesting for you. You can have a maximum of two dates put on HOLD. The week you return you will get a double order (or whatever is arranged). People who have a bi-weekly share can choose to pick up/receive on an ‘off’ week. There is no cash re-sale value to a weekly share. So either you pick it up…arrange to have it deferred or offer it to a friend 🙂

Deliver to my door…really?

Yup! The farm is on Mitch Owens at Manotick Station Road  and I am primarily serving homes and business located in the area of Riverside South, Barrhaven and up through the central part of the city as far north as The Glebe and as far west as Centerpointe and as far east as Gloucester. These people are getting home deliver service.  There are also convenient pick up locations at the farm itself and also at the Westboro Market. CSA deliveries are currently slated for Wednesday and Thursdays. Historically I have delivered in the evenings, but this year I am going to deliver in closed containers on your door step very early in the mornings, much like you would expect your newspaper.  The vegetables will be fresh, cool and waiting for you as you start your day.  Any doubts at all, once again, just please ask.

But what if I live outside of your delivery route? Can I still get Mike’s vegetables?

You can order a weekly basket from me online from the comfort of your home directly on the Savour Ottawa Online website and then pick it up at the Field House which is adjacent to the Parkdale Market. I will post baskets/produce there as it becomes available. You can also arrange to have your CSA Share pick up at this location for those of you who work downtown but may live outside of my delivery radius. This will be much more expensive as the Savour Ottawa people expect a percentage for their part in the service.

If I am picking up..can someone else pick up my share for me?

Yes, that’s fine. Just give me a heads up please by email so I know.

What if I forget or miss a pick up?

20140811_061244These vegetables are fresh and they were harvested for you in a timely manner so that they are at their premium for you to enjoy. Experience has taught me that it is a really good idea at the beginning of the season to mark all your pick up days on a calendar or in your phone because you already likely have lots you are trying to keep track of.  Call as soon as you can..Life happens and we will do what we can to accommodate.

Can I come and visit the farm?

Yes, of course, I welcome it but just please communicate with me first.  I expect to arrange a few CSA Open Field days (well at least one) so everyone who wants to can come out and you can all meet one another. Organizing an outdoor pot luck at the farm is a fun idea  🙂20141018_123542

How can I communicate with you?

The best way to communicate with me is via the ‘Get in Touch’ feature on this website.  I will do my best to respond as soon as possible, but please understand that I spend most of our time in the field growing your food and not at my desk. Please contact me with any news of the following: changes to your postal or email address, changes to your drop-site location, problems with your drop-site, or dissatisfaction with your share. Share members are welcome to call if the situation merits it.  Any farm visits (member or not) need to be arranged in advance with myself.  While we are on the subject of communicating….let it be said that any contact information that I gather from anyone is considered highly confidential and will not be shared with anyone for any reason without your expressed permission. (see CSA CONTRACT 2016 pdf in the Sign Me Up section)

Is it true what I have heard about you?

Most likely.

What if I still have a question that I would like to ask?

Don’t be shy, that is what the Get in Touch page is for 🙂 You are also always welcome to follow me along at twitter.com/MikesHarvest