Veggie Lovers Club CSA Program:
Our CSA is popular and very few spots open up to the public each year. Below is our registration process, and below that is the Membership Guide which explains how everything works.
How Registration Works:
The month of February is reserved for renewal registration for members from last year’s program, friends and family of existing members, and those who are currently registered in our Spring Shoots Program.
If you are wanting a space, make sure your name is on our farm mailing list, as that’s how we let people know. Depending on the growing season we may have openings for our 2020 Fall 10-week program or our Winter/Spring Shoots Program. It’s unlikely that we will have any spaces available in Brandon for Summer 2021 as we plan to expand our offering in Rivers.
If you are dying for a spot, the best way to get one is to come to the markets regularly and get to know us! (If you are a market regular please send us an email to secure your space.) This program is based on relationships and it is important to us to have the people who are the best fit.
Veggie Lovers’ Club 2020 Summer & Fall Program
Do you love fresh & beautiful local produce grown with care on a family-run farm?
If you’re a Veggie Lover, consider becoming a part of our Summer Session Veggie Lovers’ Club and receive weekly bags of seasonal farm fresh bounty for your choice of 10, 14, or 24 weeks. Early in the season the bags will contain lots of greens, and later in the season it will shift to storage vegetables. We will do our best to ensure that you get a good sampling of all of the many veggies we produce on the farm throughout the season.
We encourage members to bookmark this page and refer to it first when you have questions to save us time answering emails. If you don’t find the answer to your question, send us an email and we will make sure it gets included in the guide!
Each week you will receive a bag of seasonally available produce from the farm, carefully selected by your farmers. A weekly newsletter will keep you updated on the farm and farmers and provide you with recipe ideas and cooking & storage tips. We also have a handy Veggie Guide on our website which you can refer to for all the info on the veggies we grow. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you can see what we’re up to.
We will be able to share with you what will be in your weekly bag on our website blog a few days prior to delivery to help you with meal planning & grocery shopping.
At the pickup location we are able to offer a small selection of additional veggies for purchase each week. We also offer some custom ordering (in addition to the weekly bag) of certain items for our Club members as well.
How it Works:
*Note: the options have changed from last year, we decided to shorten the regular program from 16 to 14 weeks (ending just before Thanksgiving), and to offer a Fall Share which runs for 10 weeks after our market season is finished.
There are 4 different options you can sign up for:
RIVERS 14 Week Veggie Lovers’ Club Bag
July 8 – October 7
*FULL* 24 Week Veggie Lovers’ Club Bag
July 7 – December 15
*FULL* 14 Week Veggie Lovers’ Club Bag
July 7 – October 6
10 Week Fall Veggie Lovers’ Club Bag
October 13 – December 15
*There may be more spaces open up in our fall program depending on the 2020 season and harvest.
I have a big family, is there a larger size bag?
We keep things simple and offer only one size so that you have room to supplement your bag by placing an order or buying additional produce at the pickup or the farmer’s market. If you like, you are welcome to sign up for 2 bags, which means you’ll have twice as much produce to work with each week! Please email us if you would like this option.
Stanley Park, 14th Street and Lorne Ave. downtown Brandon, Tuesdays between 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Wednesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Riverdale Community Centre (Rink) West parking lot
We do not require you to pay in advance, though we do require that the $20 deposit be paid prior to June 1 so we can confirm your enrollment in the program. Please see below for sample payment installment options.
We encourage you to help save us admin time in the summer and provide us with post-dated cheques for the duration of the program when you send in your deposit, or at the first delivery.
Payment can be made in full, or in 2 or 3 installments (due the first pickup of the month):
24 Week Option: July 7 – Dec 15 $600
$20 deposit PLUS one payment of $580, due July 7
$20 deposit PLUS two payments of $290, due July 7 and September 1
$20 deposit PLUS three payments of $194, due July 7, August 4, September 1
14 Week Option: $380
$20 deposit PLUS one payment of $360, due July 7
$20 deposit PLUS two payments of $180, due July 7 and September 1
$20 deposit PLUS three payments of $120, due July 7, August 4, September 1
10 Week Fall Option: Oct 13 – Dec 15 $270
$20 deposit PLUS one payment of $250, due October 13
$20 deposit PLUS two payments of $125, due October 13 and November 3
We are happy to discuss other payment options if none of these work for you.
Please make cheques payable to Brown Sugar Produce and mail to: Site 520 Box 40 Brandon Manitoba R7A 5Y5. We are also able to accept Email Money Transfer. Please use the email@example.com email address which has auto-deposit so you do not need a secret question.
Contact us if you need to make other arrangements to get us the program payment or the deposit.
Some other things you need to know
Q: What do I do if I miss my bag?
A: We encourage you to set appropriate reminders for each delivery to remember to pick up your bag. If you miss a pickup due to forgetting, you will still owe for that delivery and you will not get your veggies! This is because we have done our part getting the produce ready for you and delivered it, and rescheduling missed pickups is a huge hassle.
You need to know that we are firm about our boundaries and protective about our lifestyle and our time spent working in the business. That means, No, you can’t come to the farm to pick up your bag if you miss it, that is very inconvenient for us and frankly, we already did our part of the deal delivering it once. Any additional effort, including answering your “I missed my bag, can I come pick it up at the farm?” email, is above and beyond the agreement.
We are firm about things because in the event of extenuating circumstances, illness, or emergency, we are HAPPY to reunite you with your bag. Please be in touch as soon as possible if something comes up and you miss your bag. By being firm about our boundaries we can occasionally go above and beyond for members, which brings us great joy!
Q: What about if I’m on vacation or away for one of the pick up dates?
A: If you are going to be away for one of the pickup dates, consider asking a friend, family member, or co-worker to pick it up for you – that is the easiest solution. You do not need to let us know, but you are welcome to if you like. Please ensure that you provide them with the correct pick up location and time (4:00 – 6:00 on Tuesdays at Stanley Park).
If are going to be away and you need to skip delivery for a week, let us know by Monday at the latest and we can provide $20/week credit towards purchases at the mini-market at the pickup, pre-orders, or a double bag week in the future. If you do not let us know in advance your payment will still be due for that week and no credit will be given.
We can accommodate skipped weeks months in advance. I have a system for most things! So, feel free to let us know as soon as you know that you will be away. We DO prefer the friend/family member pickup option if possible because then we have a consistent number of bags each week and we get to know your friends and family too!
How we roll at Brown Sugar:
We greatly value doing an exceptional job of what we do, and none of us on the farm team enjoy operating as though we are “putting out fires” all the time. Vegetable farming & toddler parenting is very busy and there is never enough time to get all the jobs done as it is, even though we are proactive and we plan things carefully and we are thoughtful about our actions. We do not jive well with disorganized and forgetful people, and so I encourage you to stay present and communicate with your farmers ahead of time whenever possible.
Extremely fresh produce automatically HAS TO happen at the last minute, but you do not. We don’t budget time on harvest or pick up days to put out fires, so make sure you aren’t creating any unnecessarily!
(In the past there has been little problem with this, and I have successfully & happily had members in the program who missed more pickups than they attended, but since they had excellent communication it was not a problem. Chances are if you are reading this you are not the problem!)
Communication with the Farm and Farmers
We prefer email over any other method of communication and will not accept contact regarding your account over Facebook, Instagram, or text message. Email allows us to share the incoming messages easily with each other (Teri and Stephanie both manage the farm in different locations but share the firstname.lastname@example.org email account). Having only one incoming stream of messages helps us make sure we don’t miss anything.
Each pickup requires a lot of organization and so the sooner you can let us know, the more easily we can accommodate your request.
We do not have good phone reception at the farm and so that is another reason why email is preferred, but if you do need to call please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you.
General CSA FAQs: In case you want to know more (this section is not required reading)
How many people will my bag feed?
Sigh. This is by far the most frequently asked question when people are signing up for a CSA, and it’s one of the hardest to answer.
Every household is different, each family eats a different diet and cooks a different number of meals at home each week. Consider how many veggies you would need to purchase at the Farmer’s Market or grocery store to last you a week. This bag is by no means meant to feed a large family for an entire week. If you are vegan/vegetarian or simply eat a lot of veggies, the bag may only last you 2 – 3 meals. If you only cook at home occasionally or have a small household it may be enough for a week. Please review the images at the bottom of this page to get an idea of the quantity that you can expect in each weekly bag from our farm. The size of the bag allows you to supplement with other purchases at the Farmer’s Market, our mini market at the pickup location, or grocery store. There is also the option to sign up for 2 weekly bags if you know 1 is not going to be enough.
But what if I don’t like something?
The idea of a regular veggie subscription is to make things easier for us farmers by allowing us to plan in advance what will be needed each week and grow it to order. As a Veggie Lover, it’s a great way to eat the best of the season and to occasionally try something new. It’s important to be open minded with farm fresh vegetables: sometimes, a bad childhood experience can spoil a person on a veggie, but often when they try it fresh from the farm with a different preparation they can end up loving it (e.g. boiled spinach is simply a crime against spinach!). That being said, we all have different tastes and so if there’s something you just can’t stomach, consider sharing it with a grateful friend, family member, or neighbour.
At this point we can’t accommodate any substitutions in the Veggie Lovers’ Club, but we do provide a weekly Trade Bag at the pickup which you can use to swap items you won’t use for something you will.
In the case of an allergy or food intolerance, please contact us prior to signing up and we will let you know if it’s something we can work with.
The Trade Bag usually starts out as 1 intact Veggie Lovers’ Club bag from that week, and then depending on what people trade out, it will change throughout the pickup. On weeks when we have a contentious item (I’m talking about YOU, Cilantro!), we often provide an appropriate substitution in larger quantities so that as many people can leave the pickup as happy as possible! The trade bag is not managed, which means it is up to you and the honor system to decide what is a fair trade. That bag of potatoes might be valued at $6, but if you don’t eat them and would be happier with a $1 zucchini, then go for it!! It always works out so I like to keep it simple and not overthink it too much! Sometimes I throw some extra things in the trade bag if I think there will be lots of trades that week. Basically, the trade bag is your ticket to leaving the pickup happy every week, so make sure you make use of it if you need to!
Am I taking on any risk?
With our CSA we don’t expect our customers to share any of the risk, other than the reality of farming in the sense that not every crop works out every year. For example, 2016 was a year where the majority of tomatoes in the province got blight. We escaped the blight with our high tunnel and the lion’s share of those tomatoes did go to our members, despite the demand at market being ridiculously high. Since you choose to commit to the farm, we do our best to make sure our members get treated well.
In the event of a single crop failure we will fill in with something else, we may fill gaps by buying from other suppliers who meet our production standards (we are committed to being transparent and will let you know when we do this).
Click here to Read More in my “A CSA is a Promise” post!
What last year’s members had to say:
‘Teri and Stephanie are the best part of veggie club. So lovely to get to know them and the produce is amazing. I love the recipe cards and blog post every week.”
“Loved the addition of the pre-order option this year! Enjoyed the variety and the recipe suggestions to go with the lesser known/used veg. Also found the weekly blog extremely helpful with all the tips! Thanks for another great year!”
“So many fresh and delicious veggies, we’ve been eating so healthy! I never thought I’d love salad so much. Lots of variety and things I’ve never tried before. Really enjoy the program and everything you guys do”
“I love the veggie lovers club! And I like the preorder option and then I’m only picking up veggies once a week compared to having to go to the market another day :).”
“As I do not have the time needed to devote to a full garden of my own, this is the closest most convenient way to eat a wide variety of fresh, local veggies. It is a lifestyle choice I value greatly … you provide an amazing service!”
“We loved the whole concept, every thing about it was great for us. I loved the challenge of getting our teen to eat more veggies, she has even started eating roast carrots!!!”
“Excellent quality, packaged with care, initial cleaning, communication with Teri and Steph always quick response and helpful. We learn so much about local farming. Connections with other farmers. Everything !!”
Here are photos of our weekly bag contents from 2019:
Here are photos of our weekly bag contents from 2018: