Still have some questions? We’ve got answers.
What is a CSA? Is this a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Think of it as investing in a farm, or in our case, in the regional food system. Your dividend is a delivery of local, organic, sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. Technically, we are not a CSA, because our subscribers pay as they go and can start, pause, or cancel their subscription at any time. That being said, we work on averages, folks tend to have similar buying habits, and the subscriptions we do have allow us to be better planners, be of better and more consistent service to the farmers we work with, mitigate waste, and provide the highest quality, freshest produce possible to our members.
Why participate in a subscription-based program to a farm?
- A subscription-based farm program provides direct income to local farms. We are a local farm, and we are the distributor. We feel it is essential to our service to ensure the farmers we work with are paid fairly for their produce.
- A subscription-based farm program allows you to know and have direct access to the farmers that grow the food you feed your family. That’s because we know and love the farmers and artisans we source from. It’s also because we are a farm, and we love to tell you all about what’s going on.
- A subscription-based farm program eliminates vast amounts of waste and resource depletion by helping farms plan and keeping crops local.
- A subscription-based farm program provides you with the freshest, most flavorful & nutrient dense seasonal fruits and vegetables the Midwest has to offer, primarily because we are able to harvest just in time for your box.
How does Tomato Mountain’s program work?
Being a Tomato Mountain CSA member is as easy as it gets! Some of the benefits and features include:
- Pay as you go, recurring subscriptions – no paying for a full season or full year up front
- 4 convenient sizes – Solo, Small, Medium & Large. Change your size at any time!
- You have the ability to set your personal preferences & customize your box
- Add to your box from over 1000 different staples and specialty items
- Delivery right to your front door
- We deliver 48 weeks per year! (Each year, we take a break from the last two weeks of December through the first two weeks of January)
- Pause your deliveries whenever you want
- Manage your account, subscriptions and deliveries online
How do I add to my box?
Need some coffee, eggs, or butter this coming week? Want to impress your family with a charcuterie board of artisan salami, pickles and cheese? We’ve got you covered. You may add items from the Farmers Pantry throughout the week; the order deadline is Saturday at 11:00pm Central Time (CT) for the coming week.
Can I set up recurring delivery for staples like milk, eggs, or tofu?
Yes! You can select weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deliveries for items like milk, eggs, tofu, coffee, butter, granola, sauces, cheese, and more!
How do I customize my farm share?
Customizing your farm share couldn’t be easier. We’ll send you our sneak peek newsletter detailing the fruits, veggies, staples and specialty items available for your box every Friday afternoon. From there, you can login to your account and add or remove items as you wish; the order deadline is Saturday at 11:00pm Central Time (CT) for the coming week.
There is a minimum value assigned to the share size you have selected – Solo, Small, Medium or Large. Your customized farm share must meet that minimum value.
How does billing work?
Our billing is simple. Each Saturday at 11:00pm Central Time (CT) you are charged for your upcoming farm share. This charge includes the base cost of your share (Solo, Small, Medium, Large) + any additions or recurring deliveries you have setup. Farmers Pantry orders are charged at the time of checkout. Each box has a standard delivery fee of $11.
Upon signup you will be billed for your first farm share & any farmers pantry items you have added.
Why do you charge a delivery fee?
Transportation is one of the more costly aspects of the food system. The delivery fee helps to cover trucking to and from the farm, vehicle maintenance, fuel, and paying drivers a living wage.
What happens if I am out of town for a week or going on vacation?
We offer three options for members who will be away for their regularly scheduled delivery.
- Donate your delivery – your donations go directly to community organizations with programs to assist food insecure individuals via the Chicago Food Sovereignty Coalition (request through your member dashboard by the order deadline and you are charged for that week’s share and delivery fee).
- Hold your delivery (request through your member dashboard by the order deadline and you are NOT charged for that week’s share.)
- Request your delivery be made to an alternate address within our delivery area (please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help on a case-by-case basis)
All holds must be placed by the order deadline. You will be charged for your delivery if your hold is requested after the order deadline, and your farm share will be donated if you are unable to receive it.
Deliveries to alternate addresses must be set up in advance. We require notification by order deadline to accommodate delivery to an alternate address.
Do I need to be home to receive my delivery?
Nope. At signup, simply give us the delivery instructions you would like us to follow. Inside the vestibule…on the second floor of the back porch…in front of the door of unit 3B – we’re happy to oblige. If your home or building has unique circumstances please reach out to us directly; we can accommodate most situations.
What if I want my delivery placed in an area that is locked?
Not a problem. We are happy to be buzzed in and leave your farm share at the location of your choosing. We can also collect a key, door code, or use a lock box if that is more convenient.
What day & time will I receive my box?
We go to specific areas of Chicagoland each day. Deliveries happen from 8AM-7PM on Wednesday-Friday and 7AM – 4PM on Saturdays. We will text upon arrival. Delivery times cannot be guaranteed. There may be rare circumstances (disabled vehicle, inclement weather, etc) that push deliveries as late as 10:00pm.
Please see our Home Delivery Map to determine which day you can expect your delivery.
Is there anything I need to do on my delivery day?
Yes! Leave a cooler out for us!
As part of Tomato Mountain’s commitment to wise use of natural resources, we pack and transport our farm shares in reusable waxed cardboard boxes. As they are waxed, they cannot be recycled, but they may be used dozens of times. We ask all members to leave out a labeled cooler (first & last initial, Tomato Mountain). When we arrive we will pack your farm share directly into your cooler and take the box away with us. Remember to leave an ice pack in your cooler during warm weather (a frozen water bottle works great)!
What if I cannot leave out a cooler for my deliveries?
We understand that some buildings or HOA’s have restrictions on leaving out a cooler. Most will allow an accommodation for something like this. If not, we will leave the waxed cardboard box for you, but we do require they be collected each week.
What size cooler do I need?
We recommend the following cooler sizes. Remember to increase your cooler size if you are receiving eggs or products from our storefront.
Solo – 25qt (36 cans) or larger
Small – 25qt (36 cans) or larger
Medium – 28qt (38 cans) or larger
Large – 38 qt (53 cans) or larger
What size CSA is right for me?
We offer 4 convenient sizes:
- Solo Share – 1 to 2 adults
- Small Share – 1 to 3 adults
- Medium Share – 3 to 5 adults
- Large Share – 4 to 6 adults and sharing households
Remember these are very general guidelines. The appropriate size for you is dependent on your eating and cooking habits. You can always make adjustments to your deliveries through your member dashboard.
What items will be in my farm share?
We’re growing all sorts of crops throughout the year – we’re known for our overwintered spinach, carrots, and tomatoes and we have a very exciting year planned for 2022. It’s hard to predict down to the week, but here’s our running list of seasonal produce that likes to grow in the Midwest you can often find in your box. For a peek into what we’ve provided in the past, as well as all sorts of inspiration on how to use local produce, check out our sneak peek newsletters.
Do you sell “ugly” produce?
This is a bit of a tricky question for us! We really don’t deal in “ugly” produce, necessarily – we’re committed to sourcing the highest quality produce and that produce has been properly harvested and properly cared for post harvest. This means we’re simply not concerned with irregularities in size or shape.
That said, what we call our “seconds” – apples with bruises, for example, that are still perfectly good to eat, but won’t keep as long due to handling or crop issues, are either given to our team members, or donated to individuals in need via the Chicago Food Sovereignty Coalition. They end up with the team because there’s just enough for all of us, and with the CFSC because all of a sudden we have something like 2000 pounds of squash and it needs to be distributed and processed on a very large scale as quickly as possible, which the CFSC is particularly designed to do. We’re deeply committed to avoiding waste at all costs, and we would love to offer our donations program up to multiple groups, but the reality is that our ability to mitigate and avoid waste at all costs is possible based on the logistics from the current system we have in place.