Rettland Farm

Rettland Farm

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken CSA, 2013

It's hard to believe, but we are exactly one week away from the first day-old chicks arriving on the farm, which signals the official kick off for the 2013 Chicken crop here at Rettland Farm.

One of many jobs that has to be done to prepare for the season is to roll out and fill up our CSA 2013. You might remember that CSA means "Chicken Subscription Arrangement" here at Rettland Farm. (For the full story of our CSA, check here.) We put the CSA idea together for the 2012 season, and had a nice number of brave souls who gave it a shot. I think I can say that it was an overwhelming success, and that it was a really great experience for both the members and for me.

After getting some feedback from last year's members, I've made a few minor changes for this year. Most notable will be that we will provide the chickens in different forms this year, instead of just a whole bird every week. This should provide a nice little element of suspense, as you pull open the CSA fridge door and see just what form your bird is in this week! 

One thing that DID NOT change is the price per share. We are offering the CSA shares for the same weekly cost as last year, and guaranteeing the same minimum weight. Thought you might like to know that...

So, without further delay, here's the nitty gritty for CSA 2013:

1. Why are we offering our chickens this way? I want to operate a CSA that provides fresh chickens for my members on a weekly basis. It ensures my members a supply of fresh food, and provides me with a stable, known quantity of products that I have to grow every week. I also think that this arrangement will strenghten relationships between farmer and eater, which is something that is important to me.

2. How does it work? Each "share" in the CSA will entitle the member to 1 pastured broiler chicken each week, usually unfrozen, and packaged in plastic bags. The bird may be whole, in parts, halved, or otherwise cut to provide variety in the share. The form every week will be at my discretion, and all shares will be the same.

3. What are the specifics on the chickens? This CSA will produce pastured broiler chickens, weighing approximately 4.0 lbs or more, but not less than 3.5 lbs. These chickens will typically be commercial white broiler chickens. The diet for the chickens, besides pasture, will contain whole grains (excluding corn), oilseeds, and vitamins and minerals. All processing of the chickens will occur on the farm, and be done by the farmer and/or farm employees.

4. When will the CSA begin? End? The CSA will provide fresh food to the members every week from early to mid-May, run for 30 weeks through the summer and end sometime in November.

5. Where is the pick up location? The member will pick up their share at the farm, located outside of Gettysburg, PA once per week, every Saturday from 12pm until 7pm. We are also in discussions to have a drop location in the Baltimore metro area, specifically in or near Hampden. If you are from the Baltimore area and are interested in this location, PLEASE let me know. We will need a minimum number of members to make this location work, so let me know EARLY if you are interested!

6. What is the cost? The cost for 1 share in the CSA for 2013, with the share being picked up at the farm will be $14 per week for a period of 30 weeks, for a total cost of $420. For the Baltimore location, the cost for one share in 2013 will be $16 per week, for 30 weeks, for a grand total of $480. (The extra cost is needed to cover the cost of refrigerated transportation). The total cost of the share will be paid by April 1, 2013, with a minimum 50% deposit due by March 1, 2013. If you are interested in the CSA, but will have trouble complying with this schedule, please contact me. We will consider all offers for alternative payments and payment schedules.

7. One share not enough? So your family eats more than one chicken a week, eh? OR, you are a planner and want to stock up on chickens for the winter while we are actively growing them in the summer? Good for you. Simply order as many shares as fits your needs. If that is TOO many chickens, there will be additional chickens available for purchase at retail prices when available.

8. Other benefits? Some CSAs do cool things like share recipes for harder to cook items. I'd like to teach people how to break down chickens into pieces, as some families prefer. Share tips for making stock (a must when you have access to fresh, flavorful whole chickens). Spend an hour with us on a harvesting day. Get a personalized tour of the chicken pastures. I'd be willing to do any or all of these things, if the interest was there. Anything to build a food community around our humble little chicken enterprise, and a sense of ownership for the members. What ideas do you have??

So what do you think?

Can you dig a fresh, premium, pastured chicken in your oven every week this summer?

Yeah, thought so.

So send me an email and get yourself on the list!


  1. Is there a share for less chicken? Maybe by-weekly?

  2. We try to keep the shares constant from week to week to minimize confusion. We have offered a half share option in the past, where you join the CSA midway through the season (around mid August)and then complete the season with the full share members.