Frequently Asked Questions:
Q:Where is Silver Forge Farm Located?
A: Our farm is located on the border of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, right off of Rt. 33 in western Monmouth County, New Jersey. Manalapan has been a center of agriculture for years and Silver Forge Farm borders both preserved farmland and preserved open space.
Q: What does Silver Forge Farm grow and sell?
A: Silver Forge Farm only sells what we grow and produce ourselves – we raise pastured hens and ducks for eggs, as well as grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit using organic practices. You can be confident in the quality and origin of everything in your CSA share, as well as ask us any questions you have from week to week.
Q: How does Silver Forge Farm grow its fruits and vegetables? Are they “Organic”?
A: Silver Forge Farm has never, nor will we ever, use any artificial herbicides, pesticides or fertilizer. We have made a conscious decision thus far to not become “certified organic” for a few reasons including: the dilution of the organic standards which do not accurately reflect the consumer’s understanding of the words “organic” and “natural”, the costs of organic certification which has thus far been incompatible with our farm’s size and scale, and our belief that the practices of being good stewards of the earth go beyond the legislated standards found in the organic certification process. We feel that using the label “organic” weakens the discussion which should take place between farmer and consumer. One of the reasons why Silver Forge Farm decided to begin a CSA is to foster this discussion and bring the shareholder closer to the the production of the food they are feeding to their families.
Q:How does Silver Forge Farm raise its chickens?
A: The term “free range”, like the term “organic”, has become ill defined in modern agriculture. It is legal to sell eggs labeled as “free range” which were laid by chickens kept inside their entire lives. This is not what most consumers think they are buying when they make the increased investment in buying a free range product. We keep our hens out on our pastures 24/7 during the growing season. They sleep in movable coops and are protected by an electric fence to keep out predators. The coops and fence are moved to a new section of pasture every week to keep the hens on fresh grass. The pasture itself provides grass, roots, bugs, and minerals which help to make our eggs better tasting and better for you than anything available in the grocery store.
Q: What does Silver Forge Farm feed its chickens?
A: In addition to the food out hens forage for on pasture we provide the hens with a conventionally grown locally milled antibiotic free feed. We have decided thus far that feeding a certified organic feed which we would have to have transported in from much further away does not justify the costs and impact of the fossil fuel required. Certified organic feed is currently double the cost of our locally milled feed. At the end of every year we sell off our flock to other local farms and families who want the year old layers for backyard chickens or the stew pot. Over the winter we raise some of the rarer breeds of chickens we can only buy as day old chicks and get ready to start the process again each spring.
Q: What is contained in a share each week?
This is a tricky question because it is based on what time of the season it is and how the weather and other factors have been. Shares are usually are 5-8 different items including eggs. So for example; a spring share may include lettuce, scapes, radishes, kohlrabi, mushrooms and eggs; summer may be cucumbers, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, a couple kinds of heirloom tomatoes, green beans, and maybe 2 doz eggs; and a fall share could have sweet potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, eggplants and eggs. It’s roughly 5-10 lbs or so of veggies but that varies according to what’s ready that week and how each crop has done that year.
Q: What happens if I can’t pick up my share one week?
A: In order to provide our shares at the peak of freshness we pick the vast majority of our produce a few hours before shares are scheduled to be picked up. We don’t have a walk-in refrigerator for longer storage so it will be your responsibility to pick up your share every Saturday (or on your scheduled bi-weekly schedule) from 9 am to 7 pm. If you aren’t able to pick up we will be donating the perishable items to our local food bank or distributing them to the other shareholders so they don’t go to waste.
Q: How much are shares?
A: A full share is $665 total for new members. A bi-weekly share is $420 total for new members. These prices include the $50 deposit.
Q: What size share should I buy?
A: A full size share provides eggs and vegetables every week, while a bi-weekly share is the same size as a full share but picked up every other week. We have made the transition from half shares to bi-weekly shares in response to the desire of our customers to have larger amounts of produce to cook with at one time despite having smaller household sizes, as well as to make more efficient use of the fossil fuels used to travel back and forth to the farm.
Q: If I purchase a bi-weekly share, when will I pick up my share?
A: Bi-weekly shares will be designated as odd or even week pick up. Whenever possible, we will do our best to accommodate the shareholder’s preference.
Q: Are there any other rules/fine print?
A: You can read our whole contract here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QgzrRgI4TxM2YLuNYFDuWqvjOlLElLd9I0wTcNEgya8/edit?usp=sharing
Q: How do I sign up?