Our Winter CSA Program

Beautiful heirloom Brussels sprouts—they come in purple, too!

WHY HAVE WINTER SHARES?

 Typically, local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture, or subscription farms) have a harvest season that starts in May or June, but comes to an end sometime around October. We aren’t comfortable with the idea that after cultivating relationships with customers, the farms must send everyone back to the supermarket for the winter.

In 1997 we started reading about farms in the Northeastern US that offer winter produce to their members, and in 1998 we began our own experiment with winter vegetables. This will be our fourteenth year providing a winter subscription program. In 1999 we did a trial run of a winter share program that lasted 10 weeks and it went smoothly and was enjoyed by nearly everyone who tried it. Our 2000 Winter Season ran from November 1 through early February and went even better than the previous year. In our 2001 program, we increased our membership to 100 households, and in 2002 we increased yet again to 150 households. Now that some Seattle farmers markets are open nearly year-round, we feel that 80 winter shares is a good volume for our farm.

Click here to download our 2015 Winter CSA Flyer: Winter Shares 2015

WHAT PRODUCE WILL BE INCLUDED IN A WINTER SHARE?

The types of vegetables that may be included can be fit into the following categories:

GREENS:
Lettuces • Spinach • Mustard Greens • Collard Greens • Kale • Swiss Chard • Arugula • Escarole • Endive • Radicchio

BRASSICAS:
Broccoli • Brussels Sprouts • Cabbage • Cauliflower • Kohlrabi

ONION FAMILY:
Yellow Onions • Red Onions • Cipollini Onions • Garlic • Shallots • Leeks

ROOT CROPS:
Beets • Carrots • Celeriac • Fennel • Parsnips • Parsley Roots • Potatoes • Salsify • Turnips • Rutabagas • Winter Radishes • Jerusalem Artichokes

WINTER SQUASHES:
Sugar Pumpkins • Delicata • Sweet Dumpling • Baby Hubbard • Buttercup • Butternut • Kabocha • Acorn • Sweetmeat • More

MISCELLANEOUS:
Fresh Rosemary • Fresh Sage • Fresh Thyme • Fresh Parsley • Fresh Chevil • Dried Herbs • Dried Beans (possibly)

*All crops subject to weather conditions and availability

Some of these vegetables require controlled-climate storage, so we’ve constructed both cold and warm storage areas. Root crops like it cold and damp, squashes and onions like it dry and warmer. Only the hardy greens and brassicas can stand the cold—and they become deliciously-sweet once the weather dips below freezing a time or two. This is especially noticeable in kale and cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that before you decide that you don’t like these vegetables, you eat them at the time of year they were designed to be eaten. Not only are they beautiful, they are delicious! They bear no similarity to the California-, Arizona-, or foreign-grown versions in the supermarket. We will be utilizing our three greenhouses this winter, so we plan on having lettuces, arugula, radicchio, and other tender greens throughout the winter.

HOW MUCH PRODUCE WILL BE IN THE BOXES EACH WEEK?

We will do our best to include at least one item from each category in the above list in each week’s allotment. We no longer try to estimate how many mouths each box will feed, so we have supplied approximate quantities of produce per box. See the chart below for an estimate of what quantity to expect in the small and large shares.

(Remember, this is just a representation. Actual weekly harvest will vary from week to week, and with weather conditions.)

SAMPLE NOVEMBER HARVEST

SMALL SHARE:
1 head Butter Lettuce • 1 crown Broccoli • 1 pound Carrots • 1 bunch Italian Parsley • 1 bunch Arugula • 1 bunch Swiss Chard • 1 pound Potatoes • 1 Buttercup Squash

LARGE SHARE:
2 heads Butter Lettuce • 2 crowns Broccoli • 2 pound Carrots • 1 bunch Italian Parsley • 2 bunches Arugula • 1 bunch Swiss Chard • 2 pounds Potatoes • 1 Buttercup Squash

SAMPLE DECEMBER HARVEST

SMALL SHARE:
1 head Romaine Lettuce • 1/2 pound “Bloomsdale” Spinach • 2 Leeks • 1 pound Carrots • 1 head of Radicchio • 1 pound Golden Beets • 1 pound Potatoes • 1 pound Turnips • 1 Delicata Squash

LARGE SHARE:
2 heads Romaine Lettuce • 1 pound “Bloomsdale” Spinach • 3 Leeks • 2 pounds Carrots • 1 head of Radicchio • 2 pounds Golden Beets • 2 pound Potatoes • 1 pound Turnips • 1 Delicata Squash

HOW LONG WILL THE WINTER SHARES LAST AND WHAT WILL THEY COST?

The winter shares will begin when the summer shares end-the first week of November, and will run into early January, or 10 weeks. If it looks like we will continue to have a good supply of produce through January, all subscribers will have the option of extending their subscriptions for a weekly fee. We will harvest every week, with the exception of the weeks surrounding the holidays. Please see our printed brochure for details.

HOW WILL YOU GET YOUR PRODUCE?

This winter you will have several options for picking up your produce. If you live in the south end or enjoy the drive to the farm, you can pick up at the farm either on Wednesday afternoons between 2:00 and 7:00pm or Saturday afternoons between noon and 5:00pm. If you pick up at the farm you will have just about any options for substitutions that you like. You also have the option of buying winter fruit or eggs.

We will also be selling at the University District Farmers Market on Saturdays and the West Seattle Farmers Market on Sundays, and you are welcome to pick up your produce at our table there. There is no delivery fee, and you have the same substitution options that you have at the farm, and you will be able to purchase eggs when available.

In addition, we will have pick-up sites in the Capital Hill, Greenwood, and Skyway neighborhoods, but for pre-packed boxes only. You will be able to pick up your box of produce at these two sites anytime after 3:00pm on Tuesday, or anytime Wednesday. There is a fee for using these two locations so that we can pay for labor and materials in packing the boxes, and transportation.

Back to Our Subscription Program

Click here for more info about:
Spring Shares
Summer Shares

Study our Crop Schedule below to find out what you might be able to expect each week.If you’re interested in becoming a subscriber, or if you have any questions, you can request an application via email at shelley@whistlingtrainfarm.com.

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