Frequently Asked Questions

Where is your farm located?

We have been farmimg for over twenty years in the fertile soils between Fariview and Fletcher in Buncombe County six miles east of Asheville, North Carolina.

We have over twenty years CSA farming experience as Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA growing vegetables for Asheville area families. In choosing our internet domain name, we simply dropped the Asparagus & Company to make our name shorter–hence, Cane Creek CSA! 100% of our efforts are dedicated to our CSA farm shares.

Our farming operation in the Cane Creek Valley is not visible from Cane Creek Road. Our gardens are hidden from public view, but we happily provide our CSA Members with a guided tour by appointment. We are not certified organic, but grow our vegetables in a sustainable manner using organic inputs and integrated pest management.

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We do not drive diesel tractors through our fields on a daily basis. We have a closer more intimate relationship with the land and wildlife of which we are stewards. After the initial soil preparation, all necessary inputs and farming procedures are hand applied. We always consider the wildlife and beneficial insects which are a part of our Universe and thrive in our gardens. Also thriving are weeds since eradicating them is not part of our farming philosophy!

I understand you no longer grow asparagus?

This is sad, but true. Asparagus is a finicky crop. Over the years our asparagus plants have suffered too much rain, then drought, too much heat in the summer, then not enough cold in the winter. Over the last twenty-five years, we have replanted thousands of crowns which were not producing to meet our expectations. We have stopped the mania. No more asparagus!

For large scale production, asparagus is a crop requiring winters much colder than the ones we have been experiencing in WNC. However, we are not changing our farm name! We grow over 70 varieties of veggies. This vegetable variety is the “& Company” part of our farm business name! We trust our CSA Members to understand our decision to make this production change. If it helps, please remember that change is the one constant in this world.

What exactly am I getting into if I join your CSA?

When you sign up as a member of Cane Creek CSA, you dedicate yourself to being our customer for the entire local harvest season. And, we dedicate ourselves to being your CSA Farmers. Our family farm provides you with a varied, nutritious vegetable diet for the local harvest season. .

A farmer’s experience has value. Consider the fact that Cane Creek Asparagus & Company is serving the community with twenty continuous years of CSA Farming experience. Also, our CSA is our farm business–we do not grow for wholesalers or even for tailgate markets!

How can I be sure that the vegetables will be of good quality?

Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA will try to not pack vegetables of poor quality. On the other hand, don’t expect everything to be blemish free because we do “share” with our garden insects even if we are not “certified” organic. Most items in your box are harvested from the gardens on our Fairview farm along Cane Creek that very morning. We pack boxes at noon, and then delivered to your local pickup location. Other items are harvested as they are ready–like beans and peas.

Once we deliver your vegetables, it’s up to you to continue preserving their quality. To keep your produce as fresh as possible, pick up as early as you can on your delivery day. Delivery sites have no refrigeration; so, the sooner you pick up the better. Freshness and quality can quickly wither on a hot summer day. It’s also important to properly store your vegetables once you get them home. We recommend using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your refrigerator. Adding large quantities of fresh vegetables all at one time will cause temperature fluctuations which can comprise the quality of all of your perishables.

Each harvest season we will always have a few crops that do not flourish as we would like. The weather conditions under which some crops thrive cause others to fail. Thus, in any given year, there will always be “blue ribbon” veggies and “red ribbon” veggies. This is one reason why we grow nearly ninety veggie varieties each year as it increases our odds of not having a total crop failure. If you are ever unsatisfied with the vegetables you receive, please communicate with us!

Do I get to pick which vegetables you put into my CSA Box?

Your Cane Creek CSA Box will contain whatever vegetables are ready for harvest that week. Early boxes are dominated by greens, mid-season boxes by fruiting vegetables, and late season boxes by root vegetables. Please see the approximate Harvest Calendar page. We design our field plans based on several years of shareholder feedback. Hopefully, the result is a box that makes the majority of shareholders very happy. Feel free to give away any vegetables your family chooses not to eat. Your neighbors will thank you for the produce and you will be introducing another family to sustainable, local farming.

How much food do I get—should I sign up for a weekly box or an EOW box?

We recommend every-other-week CSA farm shares to all new CSA Members! Our goal is to fill your CSA Box with at least 6 and most always 12 or more different local vegetable varieties each week (see photos). The selection of produce changes from week to week, as does the total volume and weight of the boxes. If you receive a box which is not as full as you were expecting, we trust that you look at it as only one box out of our approximate 26 weeks local harvest season. If you receive a box containing more than you expected, freeze some or give it away! Farming is not an exact science, but we will always do our best to supply you with vegetables grown in a sustainable manner using organic inputs whenever possible.

EOW . . . Every-other-week?! Will the vegetables last for two weeks?!

You are supposed to be eating your veggies and not storing them in the refrigerator!

Still, if you find you are storing veggies in the back drawer, you will be pleased to discover they will indeed last for two weeks. Why? Because we harvest most vegetables daily, pack the CSA Boxes at noon, and take them to the designated pickup locations in Asheville, Biltmore, Arden, Fairview and elsewhere in Buncombe County in the afternoon. Your Farmers do this five days a week. You can’t get vegetables any fresher unless you are farming them yourself. And in reality most people don’t have the time or expertise to grow the close to ninety vegetable varieties which we plant the seeds for and attempt to grow each local harvest season.

Where is CSA Box pickup?

We provide many convenient pickup locations—one in Fairview, one in the Arden area, and in the Biltmore or the South Asheville area. The pickup hours are vary with the sites. See the Pickup Locations Page for exact details. We do offer limited delivery to homes and offices in some areas of Buncombe County from North Asheville south to Bilmore Town Square and east of Asheville.

Between all of our locations, we send our veggies out every day of the week. You simply tell us which location and which day of the week is best for you. Your box of as close to organic as possible vegetables will be prepared on the same day of each pickup week and delivered to your choice of pickup locations.

How is payment made?

In our CSA, members pay only for the veggie boxes we are able to provide—depending on the season. No credit or debit cards. Cash and checks are accepted. When paying by check, please make them payable to Cane Creek Asparagus & Company and write them for the entire month. Checks for your farm share are due on your first CSA Box pickup of each month. You may pay for longer periods, if you wish.

We have never asked for the total payment upfront; but we do require and expect your commitment for the entire season—and we will earn it week by week by providing a variety of beautiful vegetables which your farmers have grown! In other CSAs you should expect to pay upfront for the entire season as this is standard for traditional CSA farm shares.

While we can never guarantee that a particular crop will not fail, we do guarantee that our CSA families will not have any financial obligation to Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA in the event of a total crop failure.

You do not accept credit cards or other forms of on-line payment. Why?

We only accept personal checks and cash. We realize other forms of payment may be more convenient, but credit cards and other forms of on-line payment cost someone money. Our small, family farm is attempting to eliminate all middle men so we can be financially sustainable.

Perhaps our “old fashioned” methods of compensation will serve to remind you that it usually takes days for the seeds to sprout; weeks for the seedlings to grow into plants big enough to be transplanted into our gardens; and months for those plants to actually produce vegetables which we can harvest for your every-other-week CSA Boxes.

We believe slow food means more than just the additional preparation time required when one is eating natural, whole foods! Enjoy the process!

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Do you sell produce directly off the farm at a roadside stand? Can I stop by to purchase some produce?

Our farm does not operate a roadside stand and we do not sell our vegetables at tailgate markets in Asheville, Biltmore or elsewhere in Buncombe County. Instead, our focus is on farming and delivering season-long shares directly to families only through membership in our CSA. We count on our CSA Members to be faithful in their commitment to our Fairview family farm for the duration of our local harvest season in any given year.

Are you certified organic?

Our family farm is not certified organic. On our website and in our conversations we attempt to explain our farming methods and our relationship with the land. We dust primarily with Diatomaceous Earth and Dipel and apply other biological organic inputs. These organic inputs are hand applied as and where necessary in order to be more sustainable. We also use visual distractions to keeps pests away, fabric on the ground around the plants and fruits, picking off the bugs, flame burning weeds, crop rotation, and planting companion plants. Insects and bug bites on the produce are a part of the natural garden experience. You should expect to sometimes find slugs or bugs in your CSA box!

How many people work on your farm?

We do not hire outside laborers to till, sow, cultivate, harvest, or pack the vegetables you will receive. You can rest assured knowing that your vegetables have been lovingly cared for from seedling to delivery by only the hands of your farmers. This ensures you and your family receive the freshest and healthiest vegetables possible from people who invest their livelihood in the land and truly care about what you and your family eat.

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What does food traceability mean?

The food industry is working to develop a workable, voluntary traceability plan for produce. This means the industry is attempting to develop a method to track fruits and vegetables along the chain from the farm through shipping to wholesalers and through shipping to retailers to the end consumer.

Buying one of our Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA farm shares is the ultimate in “farm to fork” identification and food safety. Vegetables you will receive from Cane Creek Asparagus & Company are vegetables grown on our Fairview family farm where we tend to the gardens ourselves in a sustainable manner.

Food safety has always been a priority for us. We ask our CSA Members to do their part by washing all produce under running water before preparing and eating the vegetables.

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Will there be vegetables unknown to me? What about recipes?

We post recipes on our web site. These are suggestions to provide ideas of how to prepare vegetables which may be unfamiliar to you or perhaps to provide a new take on your old favorites. These are recipes we use and have time tested in our own kitchen, but we are certain you will make modifications to fit your own family’s tastes!

Also, our Veggie Identification pages provide photos and tips and hints for preparing your vegetables. We are confident you will discover some new taste sensations by spending an entire May through November or December local harvest season with our Fairview family farm CSA.

Do you put a Weekly Newsletter in the veggie box?

We do not print a farm newsletter. However, you can sign up on the Blog to have each new post delivered directly to your Inbox! It is always a good idea to read the last couple of Blog entries so you know what is happening on the farm and have some idea of what may appear in your veggie box. Usually all vegetable varieties will have at least a two-week harvest run and frequently much longer depending on the farming season in any given year. Sometimes there are last minute harvest decisions. Remember, most all of our vegetables are harvested daily and our CSA farm shares are delivered to convenient locations in Asheville, Biltmore, Arden, Fairview in Buncombe County.

Do you put eggs and meat in your CSA Boxes?

We do not put eggs or meat in our CSA Boxes. Veggies are US. We do what we are good at and that is farming vegetables. If you want other products, then you must find another source for them. We will be happy to make suggestions for reliable local sources within the Asheville and Buncombe community.

What if my delivery day falls on a holiday?

We will deliver CSA Boxes on all holidays. The garden does not stop growing just because of a holiday! If one of your pickups falls on a holiday, details will be e-mailed to you in advance as to your options for that particular pickup. We communicate with our members and we expect our members to communicate with us.

What if I will be out of town on my delivery day?

If you are going out of town on your delivery day, please ask us in advance to change your delivery day for that one week. Another option is to have someone else pickup your veggie box. If you do this, please send us their name, phone number and email in advance so we know who to expect that day. This is a great way to repay that friend who did something nice for you last winter. Or if you are going on vacation, perhaps your house sitter would appreciate the fresh vegetables! If you believe your life situation will not allow you to consistently pick up your fresh produce, CSA membership probably will not work for you.

Can I try out a membership for maybe a month or so?

No, we are unable to offer sample shares. We need CSA members we can count on for the entire farming season. Our members provide us with a direct marketing outlet and our total farm income. We do not sell produce at tailgate markets, or sell produce to wholesalers, or sell produce to restaurants—unless they want to purchase a CSA farm share just like a individual family consumer. We rely on the descriptions that other CSA Members pass around the local community and on our web-based materials for prospective shareholders to receive an accurate portrayal of the Cane Creek Asparagus CSA experience and to realize the scope of the commitment that is involved on the part of our Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA farm share program.

How does sharing a box work?

Please bear in mind our CSA Boxes are prepared for what we consider single-family consumption. However, members who feel an entire box of vegetables is too much food for them sometimes decide to split a box with their friends or family. We leave this “splitting” responsibility entirely up to the CSA Members and their box-mates. We do ask one person to take the whole box home and then split it. WE DO REQUIRE THAT WE ARE INFORMED WHEN A BOX IS BEING SHARED. We record names, mailing address, phone numbers and email addresses as a part of our ongoing Farm Food Safety Plan.

Should I let you know if I later decide to share a box?

Yes, we feel we must keep track of those who are involved in sharing a box on a regular basis. We require the complete contact information. Sharing a box means you must make sure your group only picks up one box each week. Please coordinate this amongst yourselves in advance.

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Is there a deadline for signing up?

There is no deadline for signing up for a given season. Our farm shares are sold on a first come first serve basis and are available until we are sold out—the exact date varies. Be aware we usually start getting CSA Membership requests as early as the September before any given harvest year. If the garden’s production is especially bountiful, we may add additional shares mid-season. Feel free to contact us about this possibility at any time!

What types of families join a CSA?

Families who join a CSA are Local Food Activists. Families who join a CSA want fresh, local vegetables which are grown for flavor and nutrition—not for transportation and shelf life. Families who join a CSA want an easily accessible array of local seasonal vegetables and are open to new taste experiences. Families who join a CSA want a connection to the farmer who grows the food they eat. Families who join a CSA want more of their food dollars to stay in the local farming economy. Families who join a CSA want to see economically viable farms in their community. Families who join a CSA are Local Heroes because they provide farmers in their community with the economic incentive to continue to “work with” the land and nature—instead of selling out to land developers. Families who join a CSA want to let farmers help support the type of community they want their grandchildren to inherit.