FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What is SPROUT?

SPROUT was started in 2001 as a means to bring fresh locally grown organic produce to people living in Richmond while supporting the viability of small scale farming using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Since 2002 we have worked exclusively with Phillips Organic Farm. This is a small, family run Certified Organic farm in Ruther Glen, VA located approximately 45 minutes North of Richmond.

What is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture is a form of mutual partnership between farmers and consumers. Rather than go through several layers of middle people, consumers make a commitment to directly support an individual farm by providing money (and sometimes labor) for their yearly operating budget. In exchange they receive a dividend of the freshest produce possible. Each supporter buys a “share” of the farm (not unlike a share of stock) and takes on some of the risks and benefits of growing food along with the farmer. CSA’s are not about getting discounted produce, nor are they cooperatives. CSA’s are a unique way for people to have a better knowledge of the food they put in their bodies and the process, people & land it takes to produce it. Learn more about CSAs HERE.

Why Organic?

Organic produce not only tastes great, but by using natural pesticides, fertilizers and seeds we are keeping harmful chemicals and genetically modified organisms out of our ecosystem and our bodies. The produce (vegetables, fruits, nuts, and eggs) you receive will only be produced at Phillips Organic Farm. SPROUT and Phillips Organic Farm are committed to providing organic produce to our members. Learn more about Organic Certification at the USDA National Organic Program site.

Why should I buy vegetables from a CSA when the grocery store has them cheaper?

It doesn't make sense that locally grown organic produce should cost more than pesticide covered produce from several states away, but that's because we are not dealing with a level playing field. To put it simply government subsidies of transportation and substandard wages for migrant workers create an unrealistic picture of what it truly costs to grow food. What you pay for CSA produce goes directly to help the farmer make a living. The majority of the cost of grocery store produce goes to the distributors.

I want to join Sprout but I can't eat all those vegetables myself, what can I do?

Find a partner or a group of friends and pay a portion of the fee each. Then take turns each week picking up vegetables or split each week's share evenly between the group.

My vegetables go bad before I can eat them, how can I make them last longer?

Fresh vegetables have a short life span, and should be eaten as soon as possible to enjoy their fresh flavor and high vitamin content however there are several means of making them last longer: Refrigeration will slow down rot to some degree, though some things taste better when you leave them at room temperature (tomatoes for example). By cooking vegetables briefly and freezing them you can make them last quite a while. Also we have had much success with the Green Bags made by Evert-Fresh. They keep veggies fresh for a week or two longer than they would if stored in a regular bag and can be found at many health food stores or online at: http://www.evert-fresh.com/.

Now that I've got these vegetables what do I do with them?

Throughout the season our Recipe Coordinator will distribute recipes appropriate to what is growing. Members are encouraged to submit their own favorites. There are also hundreds of vegetarian cookbooks on the market that are geared towards every taste. For the new or reluctant cook we recommend The All New Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Miriam Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. It is truly indispensable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. There are also many excellent free recipe sites online as well. A good place to start is on a search engine like Google.

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

If you know that you will be missing your scheduled pickup you have three options:

  1. You can have someone pick up for you.
  2. You can pick up your share from the farm the day before or after the delivery date. Directions are here.
  3. You can forego your share for the week and it will be distributed to the rest of the membership.

With all of these options it is important to contact the delivery coordinato

How do I get to Phi ganic Farm?

From Richmond, Go North on I-95 to the Ladysmith exit

at milepost 110 (it is several miles North of Kings Dominion). Turn East (away from US 1) go approx 4.5 miles and turn right (South) on dirt lane at the little white sign that says "Cobb House".

mailing address:
Phillipps Organic Farm
12418 Ladysmith Road
Ruther Glen, VA 22546

You can call the farmers at 804.458.0183 if you need further help getting there or scheduling a visit.

What do I do with my vegetable waste?

Philips Organic Farm will gladly take your vegetable scraps and turn them into organic compost to use on the farm! You may even include eggshells, tea bags and coffee grindings, grass clippings, and leaves. Do NOT include meat, sticks, pine needles, weeds, or foods cooked in oil. Just bring the items in a sealed container with you to your pick-up location or hand them over on your delivery day.

How long do eggs from the farm stay fresh?

Free-range organic eggs from the farm can last at least 8 weeks after the date on the carton when kept refrigerated. They really keep longer but the white (what becomes the white when cooked) starts getting cloudy. That is why store bought eggs are often cloudy. They have been in a cooler about 2-3 months already!

When can I hard boil my eggs?

Phillips' free-range organic eggs are delivered fresh from the hens and will not hard boil properly until two weeks after the date they are laid (and refrigerated). The shell will not release well if they are boiled before then. 

Who's in charge here?

In 2005 SPROUT began establishing itself as a 501c3 nonprofit. As such, the organization will take responsibility for collecting the fees and paying the farmers. They will also take responsibility for coordinating pickup and delivery, and staffing pickup locations. SPROUT is currently managed by a volunteer group of members identified as the Core Group.

The members of the Core group are all share holders who have committed to do more work for the group, because they want to see small-scale organic farming succeed!

There are currently 7 core members who do a variety of jobs. If you have a question/problem please be sure you are directing it to the correct member of the core to address. Core member information/title can be found on our contact page.

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