Am I Right For a Farm Membership? Not everyone should dive headlong into the local farming movement. Some things to consider: Do I cook at home? Do I like vegetables, or, am I determined to make a lifestyle change to learn to like them? Am I open to trying new foods? Do I understand that the value of what I will receive lies in it being incredibly fresh and locally produced, instead of what can be had at the cheapest price? Can I afford being a member for awhile? Do I have time to glance at the weekly email and keep up with farm happenings? The main reasons people quit a farm are realizing that they really weren’t committed to cooking and/or are much too busy (and that the produce is going to waste), and, not planning for the expense. If the time is not right in your life for this experience, we will all be better served by waiting.
How do I become a member? You need to email Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify that we can accept new members. We can answer questions by telephone/text 530-574-3597, but we need to be able to have in writing:
- Your name and the precise delivery address. There must be a location sheltered from rain in winter and direct sunlight in the summer. If there is a specific location (front porch, side yard, garden bench), please mention that also. If you live someplace hard to find or a little “different”, such as an in-law unit, or an apartment such as “524 D Street unit ‘B’ “, give DETAILED instructions as to where your residence actually is and the best way to get there.
- A daytime phone number (we might need to reach you in an emergency)
- An email address (or addresses) you’ll want used for your weekly newsletter
- Do you want a box every week, or every other week?
Can I get a trial box? How are you supposed to know if being a member is right for you, if you’ve never tried anything like this out before? You may request one trial box. The cost is $25. The contents of a normal produce box will be delivered to your door in a grocery bag or box that we don’t need back. Afterward, please communicate whether you’d like to join or not–others may be waiting for an open membership slot.
What financial information do I need, to start my membership?:
- There is a one time fee of $6 to cover the cost of packaging materials, and office time to set up your membership.
- Produce boxes cost $25 each, effective 1-01-14. You may purchase one trial box, before enrolling as a member. These prices supersede all other quotes, both oral and written.
- You must sign up for membership/boxes on a quarterly basis and pay in advance for your boxes. If you want to start mid-quarter, the fee will be adjusted accordingly. If you need to quit mid-quarter, the value of your funds on account will be paid to you in farm goods or products that we agree on (almonds, bulk goods, preserves/value added products).The quarterly payment for your produce boxes grants you full membership in our farm.
- Your membership fee is based on how many deliveries you will have in a given quarter. This will vary by quarter and by whether you receive weekly or semimonthly boxes. You can toggle back and forth between weekly and semimonthly boxes if you choose to.
- If you really want to join and can’t afford this, contact us and we’ll see what we can arrange.
What other financial details do I need to know?
- We like to offer seamless delivery for our members between payments. However, if the funds on your account have been used up, we reserve the right to suspend your service if we have not received payment, or communicated with you as to whether payment is on the way.
- Please mail payment checks (make checks out to Nevermore Farm) to the following address: Nevermore Farm /6620 Marine Avenue /Arbuckle, CA 95912
- If you set up online banking, use your NAME where your bank asks for your account number with us, and the address Nevermore Farm /6620 Marine Avenue /Arbuckle, CA 95912
- Some members choose to not use US Mail or online banking to pay and prefer to place payment under a doormat or in a return box…..Please keep in mind that if your payment becomes lost you are responsible for the loss. We strongly recommend that you pay by check sent via USPS or online banking for traceability. We do not recommend paying in cash by an unsecured method.
- Returned Check Policy: If your payment to us does not clear the bank, we will do our best to work it out with you but we will have to ask that you pay any bank fees we are charged by our institution. If more than two of your payments “bounce” in the course of a year’s time, we reserve the right to ask for a fee of $20 in addition to the bank charges, as compensation for the office time needed to manage these occurrences.
What if I need to cancel my membership? You MUST communicate that via email or a phone call that we answered (or a text message to which we responded). NEVER place a cancellation note in a return produce box. Financial responsibility for your membership ends ONLY when TWO WAY communication has occurred and we have resolved your account. If we show that you have a balance due on your account, you will be provided with a total summary of all financial activity and asked to verify the accuracy of our records. If we owe you goods, we will take care of it. If there is a balance you owe to us, we will ask for payment. If there is a dispute we will straighten it out. Once your account is settled, we will notify you by email that we have closed your account.
What if I need a vacation stop, or a change in my delivery schedule? With at least a full day’s advance notice you can cancel or postpone delivery of your produce box for any reason. Wednesdays at 12pm are the official cutoff for being able to make these kinds of changes. If you needed a change but didn’t let us know in time, we’ll try to work it out, but ultimately there has to come a “you bought it you pay for it” time. We really try and be flexible about this and if there is any reasonable way we can “un-do” a box for you, we will.
Do you deliver boxes to my home/apartment/place of work? Yes, generally. Produce boxes are delivered to the address you designate in most cases…some addresses in Woodland may be asked to pick up their box at a drop-off location in the downtown area, at the porch of 450 Walnut Avenue.
What day/time do you deliver the produce boxes? We deliver boxes on Thursdays roughly between 7:00am and 10am (Woodland/Davis) and between 12pm and 4pm (Arbuckle/Williams/Colusa) unless otherwise noted in the weekly email. Sometimes there is illness or catastrophe on our end, in which case we deliver on Friday– this is rare.
What cities do you serve? Davis, Woodland, all Yolo County towns north of Woodland, Arbuckle, Williams and Colusa. If you’re very near one of those we might still be able to work with you. If you’re far away, and not able to come to the farm to obtain your produce, we likely cannot help you, sorry!
What do I do with my box once it is empty? PLEASE PLEASE Please take good care of the box in which your produce comes. The night before you receive your next box, place it in the delivery location so that we can take it with us when we drop off your new box. Each box costs us $2 to purchase. They must be returned to us in the best possible condition for re-use. We do repairs like re-gluing.You will be asked to reimburse us for boxes ($2 each) ruined or lost before their time. Leaving them exposed to sun and damp outside, rain, sprinklers, wet surfaces, crushing the lids, leaving them where pets can soil them, rough handling, letting children play on/draw on/tear/puncture, letting the produce rot in the box, using them as trash containers, and other kinds of ill-treatment ruin them before their time. Store them in a dry, protected place. If you cannot keep your box indoors, Place it in a clean large trash bag to protect it from the elements…there is a kitchen sized bag for this purpose included in your box. Please also return your clean inner plastic liners, clean or mostly clean pulp containers, plastic clamshells, rubber bands, etc. in good condition. We understand you might forget to return an occasional box…but it causes a lot of problems for us when this becomes a chronic oversight.
I forgot to pick up my box at the drop-off, what happens? If you have not picked up your box 48 hours after the delivery time and have not contacted us to make other arrangements, we reserve the right to donate the contents of your box, so that the produce does not go to waste.
How big are your Produce Boxes? They are about 7″ or 8′” tall, 12″ wide, and 20″ long.
How much produce do I get? We try to fill them up with produce. Depending on the season and what’s happening, we may also include dry goods like beans, nuts, preserves, and grain products. These obviously take up less space than a head of cabbage….but we do try to give as much volume as we are able.
What will I find in the boxes? Here are examples from 2015 boxes (eggs are included for at least part of all four seasons):
- Autumn= pomegranates, chocolate and fuyu persimmons, rutabagas, bok choi, sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, yuzus, heirloom apples, kiwanos, turnips, lettuce, chard, chestnuts
- Winter = Kale, arugula, mustard greens,endive, dandelion greens, lettuce, nappa cabbage, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, winter squashes, navel oranges, turnips, sunchokes, limes, limequats, kumquats
- Spring = Blood oranges, strawberries, Rainier cherries, beets, potatoes, mulberries, loquats, red turnips, moab cornmeal, black barley, kumquats, fresh herbs, fennel, onions, apricots, nectarines, apriums
- Summer = blackberries, heirloom tomatoes, plums, cucumbers, cranberry beans, purslane, basil, cherry tomatoes, sorrel, peaches, figs, heirloom apples, summer squash, pluots, jujubes, melons
I can’t figure out what a box item is, what do I do? If you are at a loss as to what an item is, texting Deborah a photo to 530-574-3597 has the mystery solved quickly.
How do I learn about what I’m getting? A weekly email is sent sometime on Wednesday or Thursday;rarely on Friday, that we hope is valuable to you. We really need you to at least skim it; we understand not having time to read it all. Each email has six sections: 1)In the Box Is: (list of items) 2) Announcements (anything affecting your membership or worth knowing about) 3) Info/Recipes (recipes, ideas, cooking tips and preparation instructions) 4) On the Farm (a newsletter style coverage of what transpired in the farm the last week, usually with at least one photo) 5) Guesstimate of next week’s box items and 6) the list of members receiving a box on that date.
I don’t have internet access/I don’t have email. Can I still join? Most weeks we send out one email per week that we are counting on you to at least skim over. Since our program relies 100% on electronic communication with farm members, if you do not use email, you should not join our farm. We do not have the time or resources to print out information to send inside your box. We also cannot be held responsible for important information sent to you, that you did not read.
Tell me a little more about getting eggs? During egg season, eggs are available to be sent with your produce box as available, on request. There is no extra charge. This is usually February-October. When we have enough volume, we distribute a dozen eggs to each member. When eggs are limited, we send half dozens and/or track who received eggs on a given week so that the distribution is fair and even. We do not sell eggs to non-members. We re-use CLEAN pulp fiber dozen and half dozen egg cartons and flats. Please do not crack eggs then place the eggshells back in our egg cartons, it makes an unsanitary mess. We cannot use cartons that hold 18 or 24 eggs or are made of styrofoam.
Can I customize my box? No and Yes. If there are items that you dislike, please gift them to a friend. Do inform us of your preferences (we keep lists of who loves/hates given items), and we will adjust the contents if we can easily do so, but part of what we’re hoping you’ll experience are new and better ways to prepare items with which you may have had past negative experiences. Some items take a lot of kitchen learning and it won’t be perfect the first time around. If you have given it your best and still strongly dislike something, we’ll try to steer it away from you. Please also keep in mind…at 1am on packing night, even though you informed us you might not want a certain item, we make mistakes. It is really hard to perfectly remember the list of special requests as a long day of work wears on. We have notes, but sometimes we goof it up. It is not an easy job, please realize we don’t make intentional mistakes. Also, please be reasonable about your expectations…if you don’t like any greens, signing up for a winter farm membership makes no sense….. we can only provide you with what grows at that time of year!
What if I have food allergies? We absolutely work with members with allergies and have had several members with serious food related medical conditions. If you or anyone who will consume products from our farm suffers from a serious food-related condition like celiac sprue, a nut allergy, or takes statins drugs PLEASE tell us so we can make sure we keep your boxes safe. We raise and store many items that are potential allergens and must know if we need to use extra caution for your box.
Where is the farm? Arbuckle is the southernmost city in Colusa County, just north of Yolo county. It takes approx. 40 minutes to drive to Davis from our home.
How do I know you are reliable? We began selling farm goods to the public in 2004, by beginning weekly sales with four customers. We have gained a tremendous amount of experience in growing food, have a lot of diversity, and have a solid understanding of our job. While no farm is immune from acts of nature, I can say that no one has ever been “ripped off” by participating with our farm. We believe in “making it right” with others. We have always returned money that we owed, and our farming is not the only source of income for our family. We weathered the economic downturn of 2008, and are among a handful of area farms that have been in business for more than ten years.
Do you deliver year round? Up to 2015, we grew and delivered boxes 49 weeks of the year, closing at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. We are now evaluating a longer shutdown in the winter months, yet to be determined.
I can’t remember if I’m getting a box this week, what do I do? and at the very end of the weekly email there is a list of who receives boxes that week. You should check this right away to make sure you are/aren’t getting a box as expected.
Do any items in my box come from other farms? We grow over 90% of what is sent out in our produce boxes ourselves. We truly are a “small family farm–mom and pop”, with only two people caring for all the farming and business responsibilities. We do have friend farms in Yolo county with whom we share surplus cooperatively. On every item, traceback is 100%, and any item not grown by us will be identified to members with the farm of origin.
Is your produce Certified Organic? The short answer is, No. But if you want to understand why, here is the detailed answer: Are We Organic?
You said you offer a lot of member benefits, what are they?
- Farm tours are FREE for members and their guests by appointment. That includes having a small picnic or just strolling around by yourselves. We give general tours, and will explain any topic of your choice…it really depends on your time and interest!
- Participation in the farm by helping out or visiting is encouraged. We are here to share our knowledge of things that grow and no one who visits goes home empty handed. Jobs here can be physical, but many things that need doing involve sitting in a chair! There are little things anyone and everyone can do. We try and make this visits fun and tailored to you.
- If you need assistance with your home gardens in the form of plant starts, etc. we can help. We have a greenhouse with room and can start your own seeds for you…if you garden also, this can be worth several hundred dollars per year in plants you don’t have to buy in a nursery.
- A wide variety of fresh herbs are available on request should you need something in particular for a recipe. Herb plants are offered seasonally as well.
- We often have hefty quantities of surplus produce here, and our own food preservation activities cannot keep up. The surplus is available to you. While small donations are appreciated if you cart off a colossal amount, they are not required. We believe in working together with you to minimize wasted food, which is a serious problem on any farm.
- We *might* have shelled almonds in storage as well as frozen chestnuts, available to members by request 😉
- We keep large stores of jams, preserves, marmalades, salsas, dried peppers, and pickles most years. They are available for members, though if a large volume is wanted a donation is appreciated.
What if the food in my box is damaged or there is a problem? It is really important to us that you be happy with what you receive. If you do have a problem please notify us immediately, within 24 hours. We gladly take care of any problems caused by our oversight…but sadly we have had some individuals leave produce in their box to rot, and then complain to us days after the fact for its poor condition.
It looked like there was some dirt on my produce, why isn’t it perfectly clean? We are not a commercial produce processing facility. We wash the “big dirt” off of our produce, but you must properly and thoroughly wash your items before you eat them; there is no way we can get every speck of dirt off, and, some items will have a greater tendency to spoil quickly if we wash them first. We have never had anyone suffer a foodborne illness, and we want to keep it that way. We count on our customers to use good practices at home to complete the cycle of food safety. We spend a lot of time here sanitizing items used in farming and harvesting, and have worked to consult with food safety program advisors to ensure our methods are sound.