Angelic Organics
A Community Supported Agriculture Farm feeding people in the Chicago area.

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FAQs about Becoming and Being a Shareholder


What is a shareholder?

When you sign up, you dedicate yourself to being our customer - i.e. a shareholder - for the season, 12 or 20 weeks. This provides us with a secure market, which is a welcome measure of certainty in the unstable world of farming! In turn, we dedicate ourselves to being your farmers and providing you with a varied, nutritious vegetable diet for the season. Not only that, we work diligently to connect you to the source of that diet through our newsletters, our farm open houses, and an open invitation for you to come visit the farm and connect with the people growing your food and with the land your food is grown on.


What does it mean to be a shareholder?

We strive to bring you a beautiful and bountiful box each week, but since our boss, Nature, provides no guarantees, we can't offer any either. One of the premises of a Community Supported Agriculture  (CSA) program is that the shareholder shares, through the  harvest, the farmer's experiences of both Nature's mischief and blessings. Our years of farming experience have shown us how to minimize as many risks as possible --from drought (we have an excellent irrigation system) to floods (we have the right types of equipment to get critical farming jobs done in short, dry windows of time).


Is it possible that I would pay for a share and then not receive a full season's worth of produce due to bad weather?

The weather woes would probably never rob you of all your veggies. Even with the flooding we experienced in 1993 (the most challenging crop year since 1974), we were able to fill our shareholders' boxes every week and could barely close the boxes at the height of the season. In recent years, increased soil fertility and advances in our growing expertise have consistently produced stellar boxes.


Are any of the crops genetically engineered?

Every effort is made to keep our crops free of GMOs.  In fact, our seed supplier is “a member of the Safe Seed Initiative. [They] pledge that [they] do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered or modified seeds or plants.” - from Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog


What types of shares are there?

For a listing of share types and prices, refer to the Purchase a Vegetable Share page.


How are the vegetables different in an Extended Share?

The Extended Share boxes usually look similar to the regular 20-week boxes, except without any herbs, salad greens, or frost-susceptible crops like tomatoes or peppers. The Extended Share boxes most often include combinations of carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, parsnips, spinach and cabbage. See our Vegetable Calendar for a detailed look at which vegetables are likely to be available and when.


Do I have to decide about the extended share when I sign up for the regular share?

Shareholders do not have to sign up for an extended share at the same time that they do for a 20-week share. However, the extended shares historically have sold out very early in the season, months before their November start date. For that reason, we recommend that shareholders sign up early for extended shares.


How much do these shares cost?

For a listing of share prices, see our Purchase a Vegetable Share Page.


Is there a deadline for signing up?

There is no deadline for signing up for a given season. Shares are sold on a first come, first served basis and are available until we are sold out. Our 20-week shares are often sold out by the first day of March. 12-week shares are available for a little while longer. It is best not to delay too long before signing up in order to make sure that you don’t miss out. Check our Purchase a Vegetable Share Page to see if shares are currently available.


Do you offer any special payment plans?

Most commonly, people pay the full share price up front.

Alternatively:

If you wish to spread the cost of the share out over a period of time, please write out two checks, each covering half of the total. Date one check for the day that you are signing up and sending in your checks; postdate the second check for any date up to three months from the date of your first check. Send both checks in with your sign-up. We won't deposit the second check until its date.

If neither method of payment works for you, you may propose another payment plan, which we may accommodate, as long as it doesn't involve more than 4 checks nor sending the checks in separately.


Do you accept credit cards?

Currently, we only accept credit cards through the web at the Angelic Organics Signup Page.  After you complete your signup information and electronically submit it, you are given the option of paying for your share by credit card. If you choose the credit card option, you are charged an additional fee -- detailed at the time of charging. This fee helps cover the cost of the web page and credit card processing. People who pay by check are not charged this additional fee. We do not take credit card payments over the phone or via the mail at the present time.


It seems like a lot of food, do you offer half shares?

We do offer half shares.   Also, we do have many shareholders who "share" a box with one another. For more information on sharing a box, please see the question How does sharing a box work? (below).


Can I try out a membership with a sample share, maybe for a month or so?

No, we are unable to offer sample shares; the logistics would be too complicated for us to manage this amongst everything else. We rely on word of mouth and on our written and web-based materials to reassure prospective shareholders about the awesomeness of our vegetables, our service and our farm. 


I'm interested in your CSA, but I live outside of your delivery range. Can you still help me?

Unfortunately we cannot offer our services to those who live outside of our delivery range. This comes out of our passion for providing healthy, fresh and local produce to our community.

For those who are too far away to receive our vegetables or if we are sold out and you would like to try another CSA in the area, we recommend you visit the following websites that focus on matching people to CSAs in their immediate area:

http://www.LocalHarvest.org

http://www.Biodynamics.com

http://www.csacenter.org


How do I sign up?

The easiest way to sign up is through our website. We offer a signup form that will take you step-by-step through the process. You will then be given the option to pay by sending in a check (preferred) or to pay by credit card online (for an additional fee).

After signing up online, you will receive an automated confirmation email, and then within a week of when we receive your payment, you’ll receive another email to confirm that.  To sign up now, go to our Purchase a Vegetable Share page.

If you are unable to sign up via our online sign-up form, please contact us via email (CSA@AngelicOrganics.com) or by phone (815 389 2746) for more information.


Can I visit the farm before I sign up?

See the Visit our Farm section to learn more about the possibilities of coming out to see us and our vegetables.


How does sharing a box work?

For those shareholders that feel a full share of produce is too much food for them, they are welcome to initiate splitting a box with their friends, family or neighbors. We leave this responsibility almost entirely up to the shareholders and their box mates. How and when they split the produce is their individual decision. However, we require that we are informed who is sharing with whom. We record the complete contact information (mailing address, phone numbers and email address) for all persons involved in splitting a box. This is to ensure that all parties are informed about general farm news, as well as any specific changes or notices that are necessary to communicate to shareholders.

While the actual process of splitting a box is up to the shareholders involved, we do have the following guidelines which solely serve to make the process move smoothly:

First, we strongly encourage shareholders to take their whole box home and then split it with box mates; this is by far the easiest way.

However, for shareholders where this is not a possibility, there is a specific procedure. At the delivery sites, there are Rubbermaid box labeled "For Shared Boxes" which contain grocery bags and markers. On this box is a set of instructions for you to follow on how to split your box right at the site. Please follow these instructions. Be sure to read your pickup instructions too.


Should I let the farm know if I decide to share a box?

Yes, we keep track of those who are sharing a box. If you provide us with the name of your box-mate, we will list them in your confirmation letter. We will mail any farm correspondence to all those sharing a box. Also, if you provide us with the email addresses of everyone sharing, we will keep everyone updated via that avenue as well. Sharing-a-box means that you have to be extra-vigilant that your group only picks up one box each week. Please coordinate this amongst yourselves in advance, especially if you have more than one box-mate.

General Farm FAQs


What is Angelic Organics?

Angelic Organics is a Biodynamic, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable and herb farm with over a thousand members.  We’re located in north-central Illinois, less than 2 hours north-west of downtown Chicago and 30 minutes north of Rockford, at 1547 Rockton Rd., Caledonia, IL 61011. We began growing organically in 1990 and have operated as a Chicago CSA since 1993.  Learn more about the family history of our farm here.


What is a CSA?

We only offer our harvest to households like yours. Working directly with you, without the intermediary of stores or wholesalers, gives us the opportunity to provide the freshest quality vegetables and competitive organic prices. This system is known as Subscription Farming, Community Supported Agriculture, or, most simply, a CSA. The way a CSA works is very straightforward.  With a preseason payment, you can purchase a "share" of our summer's harvest. You then receive a weekly box of our freshest, seasonal produce during the course of our twenty-week harvest season, from mid-June to late-October. Further, you may choose to extend the season with a Winter Share - 4 additional boxes of storage vegetables to be delivered every other week in November & December. Visit our CSA information page for more details on how our Chicago CSA works.


Are any of the crops genetically engineered?

Every effort is made to keep our crops free of GMOs.  In fact, our seed supplier is “a member of the Safe Seed Initiative.  [They] pledge that [they] do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered or modified seeds or plants.”


What does "Biodynamic" mean?

Biodynamics is a system of sustainable agriculture first described in 1924 by Austrian social philosopher Rudolf Steiner, whose work also underlies the methods of Waldorf education. He gave recipes for nine special "preparations" which are at the heart of the Biodynamic practice: One is a specifically prepared manure, another a silica-rich rock powder; the rest are herbs and other plant materials. Added to compost, and sprayed directly on the soil and plants at different periods in the growing year, each preparation stimulates and enhances biological activity in a specific way. See the Biodynamics page for more information.


What is the Angelic Organics Learning Center?

The Angelic Organics Learning Center is a resource for our shareholders, prospective farmers, and diverse members of the greater Chicago, Rockford, and Beloit areas. The mission of the Angelic Organics Learning Center is to empower people to create sustainable communities of soils, plants, animals, and people through educational, creative, and experiential programs offered in partnership with Angelic Organics, a vibrant, Biodynamic Chicago CSA. The Angelic Organics Learning Center provides opportunities for people to:

  1. -Transform their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being

  2. -Understand their role in the agro-ecology, economy, and culture of the region

  3. -Explore Community Supported Agriculture and organic & Biodynamic farming

  4. -Promote CSAs, local food security, and regional farming networks

Check out the Learning Center’s website for more information.


Can I come visit the farm?

We like to welcome visitors out to the farm, however, because we farmers are exceedingly busy and must focus on the daily responsibilities and duties of the farm we ask that anyone interested in visiting reviews our Visit the Farm Page for details on the different possibilities and requirements for coming out to the farm.


Common Questions about Box Deliveries


Where do you deliver?

Visit our Delivery Sites page to see our current delivery locations (over 30 sites in the Chicago and Rockford, Illinois area). Most delivery sites are porches or garages at a volunteer shareholder's home.


How often do you deliver?

Shareholders receive a box of our fresh, biodynamic vegetables once per week. A share can be 12 or 20 weeks long.  Half-shares (full boxes delivered every other week) are also available, as are Extended Shares, (4 boxes of storage vegetables delivered in the late fall).


Can I pay extra to have the farm deliver directly to my house?

Yes, you can!  Click here in order to find out more about how to get your fresh vegetables delivered right to your doorstep.


How will I know which delivery site to go to?

When prospective shareholders sign up and commit to a season of vegetables from our farm, they select, on the sign up form, the delivery site that would be the closest or most convenient for them.  Shareholders nearly always get their preferred delivery site; however, there are years when certain sites seem particularly more popular than others. When that happens, we’ll contact some of the shareholders to discuss the possibility of picking up at the next closest site.

Shareholders can expect to get an email confirming their delivery site, delivery details and specifics regarding their shares about two weeks before deliveries begin.


When do the deliveries begin and end for the season?

  1. 20-week shares are delivered from mid-June to late-October

  2. 12-week shares are delivered from mid-August to late-October.

  3. Extended Shares, which consist of four additional boxes of storage vegetables, are delivered over the course of November and early December (skipping Thanksgiving week). 

Please visit our Upcoming Events Calendar for the specific dates when shares will be beginning and ending this year.


What time can I pick up my box?

Refer to your personal confirmation email for pick-up times at your Delivery Site. Time windows at the delivery sites are at least 5 hours, and average about 7 hours.


What if I can't make the scheduled delivery times?

Vegetable boxes should be retrieved within a site’s pick-up window and, preferably, as close to delivery time as possible, to ensure that proper refrigeration happens in time to maintain the peak freshness that local produce can provide. Also, since our sites are mostly volunteer shareholders’ homes, respecting the time window also respects our hosts’ generosity. In special cases, site hosts may be able to arrange an alternate pickup time if you contact them ahead of time. However, there's no guarantee they’ll be able to help you, and we ask that you do this no more than once or twice a season. We are very grateful for the generous families who have offered to host our sites and do not wish to burden them any more than is necessary. Please call the farm if this presents a problem. For more information on this, please see “What happens if I know I will be unable to pick up a box?” below.


Can I pick up my box at the farm? Is it any cheaper?

There are no discounts for shareholders who opt to collect their boxes at the farm, and yes, we have several shareholders every season that choose to come to the farm to retrieve their boxes. If you live close enough, it can be a rewarding opportunity to interact with the farm more, as well as come to know and recognize the farmers who grow your food.


Which delivery site is closest to me?

To help you decide which of our Chicago CSA Delivery Sites is in the neighborhood most convenient to you, check out the map on our Delivery Sites page.


Where do I pick up a newsletter?

Newsletters are written each week during the harvest season and are available online on our Farm News page, or by request on old-fashioned paper at our delivery sites. Be sure to read your newsletter every week! It’s our main way of communicating to our shareholders, making announcements, and sharing what happens at the farm and with the vegetables throughout the growing and harvest season. If you prefer to print your own newsletter, printable PDFs are available at the bottom of every online newsletter page. 


What happens if I know I will be unable to pick up a box?

If you're unable to pick up your box during the scheduled time windows, you may do any one of three things:

  1. 1.You can try to arrange a next day pick-up with your site host.  In special cases, site hosts are sometimes able to arrange an alternate pickup time if you contact them ahead of time. However, there's no guarantee they can help you, and we ask that you do this no more than once or twice a season. We are very grateful for the generous families who have offered to host our sites and do not wish to burden them any more than is necessary. Please call the farm if this presents a problem. Please also see the question above: “What if I can't make the scheduled delivery times?”

  2. 2.You can have a friend pick it up for you. Or, you may wish to give some of the harvest to family, friends or neighbors and have them pick up a box.   NOTE: When you have someone else pick up your box, please share the pick-up instructions with them! It's possible that without this info, your stand-in might cause a lot of confusion for your site host, your fellow shareholders, and the farm. Please be mindful. We have heard many stories of miscommunications (and misunderstandings) leading to stand-ins taking more boxes than they were supposed to, or taking a fruit box when they meant to take a vegetable box, and that leaves another shareholder without a box. Thank you for your mindfulness!

  3. 3.You can leave your box at the site and allow it to flow into our Food Security Committee's Food Bank Program.


What happens if there aren't any boxes left at the delivery site?

Missing boxes do happen occasionally, for a variety of reasons. If you arrive at your site one day to find that all the boxes are gone, first ask yourself if you are picking up during the correct time frame, and on the right day. Some hosts remove extra boxes promptly at the end of the day, and you will have to contact them to get your box if you are going to be even 15 minutes late. People have also been known to get confused about their delivery day over the course of the season. When you are sure that your box is truly missing, please contact us at the farm as soon as possible by calling 815-389-2746.

You have three options to make up for your missed box:

  1. 1.An extra box can be delivered to you later in the season (let us know at least a week in advance).

  2. 2.A box credit can be given towards your next year's share.

  3. 3.A refund for the amount of the box can be administered (this may take a while to process and so is our last choice).


If you have any other problems with your box, delivery site, or anything else, please call and discuss it with us. We will do our best to explain and/or rectify the situation.


Can I change my delivery site temporarily?

Attempting to keep track of all of our shareholders' weekly comings and goings is a task too complicated for us to manage. For this reason, we are not able to accommodate temporary delivery site switches at any point throughout the season. An exception is when you would like to pick up your box at the farm on occasion. Please call the farm to arrange this, though, with our hectic farming demands, we ask that you give us a two-week notice to assure that we have enough time to make that change for you.


Can I permanently change my delivery site partway through the season? How do I do that?

Yes. If you need to permanently change your delivery site, notify us at least two weeks before the week you want the change to take effect. This is to ensure that we have enough time to mail you directions to your new site, and so that the field manager can plan for harvest. We ask that you only change your site if you plan to continue picking up at the new site for the rest of the season. It is too difficult on us to change your site for only a week or two.


Can I recommend a new delivery site?

Although we rarely add new delivery sites these days, we welcome recommendations, as there is always the possibility that a site may not be available from year to year, or a new location may better suit the needs of a given shareholder population. We are also always grateful to hear from any shareholders who may be interested in becoming site hosts, as this is a golden service to our farm and community.


What is required of a host site?

We look for a variety of criteria in a site:

  1. An area that is cool and protected from the element such as a cool, shaded porch, walkway, or garage.  The boxes should be sheltered from the sun and rain, so that the vegetables and fruit maintain their freshness.

  2. Space to accommodate at least 50 - 75 boxes that measure about 10”w x 12”h x 16”d each.

  3. Reasonable parking access for when people pick up their boxes.

  4. Convenient access for the delivery truck to unload.

  5. Ideally, few or no steps to navigate between the delivery truck parking area and the location where the boxes are stored.  This facilitates the convenience of handcarts for box transport.

  6. The acceptance of materials and signage left at your house over the course of the season (including the Farm bulletin board and folded-up, empty, returned vegetable boxes).

  7. A willingness to allow shareholders to access your area (unattended) from around 8:30 am until 8 or 9 pm (or at least during a five-hour window) for 24 deliveries (from mid-June through late November). A key to access your site is at your discretion. (Few sites currently require keys.)

  8. A desire to create and further a sense of community amongst your shareholders and the farm.


Other considerations:

Please note that sometimes extra work is required to maintain your site:

  1. Occasionally shareholders forget to unfold their returned boxes.

  2. There may be unclaimed or lesser quality vegetables in the swap box which may need to be disposed of through composting or some other way.

  3. There may be orphaned (unclaimed) boxes of produce. Ideally these would be distributed to others who will use the vegetables.

  4. Sometimes you will need to call or take calls from shareholders who are unable to pick up their vegetable box within the time window (or who simply forget to pick up their box).

  5. If you host a site one year, we hope that you will host in future years as well.


Benefits of Hosting a Site

There are also many benefits to hosting a site. Some of them include:

  1. Delivery of your vegetables right to your home or business.  That’s free home delivery for the season!

  2. The opportunity to create community within your neighborhood, to meet and socialize with the shareholders who come to pick up their vegetables at your home.

  3. The added good feeling of knowing that you are further supporting Community Supported Agriculture and Angelic Organics.

  4. The freedom to use/distribute unclaimed boxes as you desire.

  5. A $100 honorarium/discount on your share if your site hosts 75 or less vegetable boxes weekly throughout the season and a $200 honorarium/discount if your site hosts more than 75 vegetable boxes weekly throughout the season.


How can someone become a Delivery Site Host?

For those shareholders interested in offering their home or place of business as a potential delivery site, please fill out one of the forms below and email or fax it into the farm. You can send the email to Chris@angelicorganics.com or fax it to (801) 459-9659.  Thanks for your consideration of taking on this fulfilling role within our farm community.


                    Site Host Agreement.pdf                                     Site Host Agreement.docx


FAQs about Visiting the Farm


Can I visit the farm unannounced and wander about?

We like to make the farm available to our CSA Shareholders -- those who have signed up to receive a weekly delivery of our vegetables for the season -- whenever it is convenient for them. However, since we farmers are exceedingly busy and must focus on the daily responsibilities and duties of the farm, we are not available give tours or to show shareholders the land or buildings. Shareholders are welcome to roam the grounds for themselves when they wish, but our availability may be limited to pointing you in the direction of highlights which you are encouraged to go explore on your own, keeping farm safety considerations in mind (we do have a special orientation sheet and map to help you out--ask someone around the big barn for a copy).

We do request that shareholders phone in advance (to 815 389 2746, ideally at least 4 hours before) to let us know that you'll be around--leave a message if no one answers the phone.

Non-Shareholders and Real Dirt Film Fans are not allowed to visit the farm unannounced and roam around--they are encouraged to select one of their options as described in the Visit Our Farm page.

Of course, there is always the opportunity to get to know the farm through volunteering to work with us; it gives shareholders a more intimate understanding of how the farm works and the people that grow their food.


Can I arrange to have a tour of the farm?

Please see our Visit Our Farm Page for touring options.


I am thinking about becoming a shareholder, can I visit the farm before I sign up?

Yes, but it would be as a non-shareholder or as a Real Dirt Film Fan. Review the visiting options for these two groups at our Visit Our Farm Page.


How do I get to the farm? Is there a map?

The farm is about

  1. 2 hours from downtown Chicago

  2. 30-45 minutes from Rockford

  3. 30 minutes from Belvidere

  4. 20 minutes from Rockton or Beloit

  5. 15 minutes from Roscoe

Visits and tours for prospective shareholders are generally discouraged unless within the structure as described at the Visit Our Farm page. All prospective visitors are encouraged to review this link. A PDF version of the map may be downloaded by clicking here, but please follow these visiting guidelines.


Do you sell produce directly of the farm? Can I stop by to purchase some vegetables?

No to both questions. Unfortunately, we do not sell any produce directly off of our farm at any time. Our farm focuses on selling and delivering entire, season long shares of organic produce directly to local families and individuals (who we refer to as shareholders).

 

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