CSA Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CSA?
A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. At Chestnut Farms our mission is connecting communities to agriculture and from the very beginning we have been a CSA farm. We are blessed to be able to make a living farming and raising livestock in Massachusetts BECAUSE we have a wonderful farm family who connect with us and commit to the harvest. Shareholders sign up for a six-month cycles (occasionally we are able to slide new members in mid-stream) and commit picking up their part of the harvest each month.
What is in a share?
Just like vegetable shares, our shares are representative of our harvest. Each share contains a mix of beef, pork and poultry with some lamb and goat by request. Please note that we DO offer no adulterated shares, no pork shares and no lamb shares so you can opt out of the things that don’t work for you and your family.

A typical share might include a package of chicken breasts, a package of thighs, two pounds of ground beef, a pound of bacon, a package of sweet Italian pork sausage, two pork chops and a large sirloin steak. The following month it might be boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, ground pork, a package of Canadian bacon, a pork butt roast and two Rib-eye steaks. We do keep records and try mightily to share the wealth of the harvest across our CSA family.

Our Poultry ONLY Shares contain a mix of chicken cuts, occasional turkey breasts (boneless) and ground turkey and turkey sausage. We offer a mix boneless, bone in parts as well as whole chickens.

What is the difference between a summer and winter share?

In the summer we ask our slaughterhouse to process our animals for easy living and lots of grilling. We know we all eat more vegetables and love to cook out during the summer so sausages, steaks, boneless chicken and ground beef (patties too) are plentiful in the summer shares. Our winter shares are more likely to include ribs and roasts, shanks and stewing meat- things that we love to braise and enjoy as a warm hearty meal.

What share size should I choose?

This is a hard question as every family is different. Only you know how often you cook at home and how much you enjoy leftovers. We have families of all sizes enjoying each of our shares but below are general rules of thumb as we pack;

10 lb share: Great for a couple or one person who does enjoy cooking. It also works for a couple with a small child who doesn’t eat a lot of meat. Occasional whole chickens and roasts (a few times/year) but mostly smaller packages with meals for two.

15 lb share: Great for a couple that likes to eat in and take some left overs for lunch. Also works for a small family where younger children are eating some, but not a lot of meat. Typically includes at least one larger cut where you can make a meal for four and have leftovers. We also try to include steaks and chops for three adults or two adults and two small children.

20 lb share: Typically, we think of a family of four when packing this share. This works well for a couple that cooks at home most nights or a family that eats in some, out some and enjoys fish and vegetarian meals some of the time. This share usually includes a couple of larger cuts – often three- so that meals are easier to prepare for more people. This is most popular size for families

25 to 50 lbs: Got Teens? Got Teen Boys? These are the shares that families who want to feed their children well often pick. Typically, about one third of the share is comprised of larger cuts – whole roasts, pork butts, brisket, whole chicken etc… one third is ground meats and one third is higher end steaks and chops.

Where do you harvest your animals?

We can raise an animal from birth but to get it to your plate requires processing. It is illegal for us to process our own animals and then sell to you. We use several Harvest Homes, all of whom are USDA inspected. This means that no animal is ever processed without an independent, federally paid inspector to ensure the safety and humane slaughter of all animals. We know the owners of the slaughterhouses and are comfortable with their humane and professional practices. We have watched the process from unloading our trailer to the packaging our meat and believe strongly that our focus on a high quality of life is mirrored in the quick, humane processing with as little stress as possible, by our partner slaughterhouses.

What happens if I need to miss a pickup?

We do understand that many people take vacations, have other obligations or are unable to make a particular CSA distribution. However, we raise and plan our animals according to our commitment to you, our shareholders. If you are in the first cycle as a shareholder, we do expect you to pick up all six shares OR find a friend to pick up for you OR arrange for pickup at a different site OR double up the following month.

If you have been with us for a cycle or longer you have an annual SKIP month – no questions asked. It can be for vacation, clean out the freezer or a great thing to do on pickup night so you just can’t make it. However: We REQUIRE a minimum of 48 Hours ADVANCE notice to skip a share. If you simply forget you must make arrangements to pick up as we are not legally allowed to restock the meat once it leaves the farm.