By: Elif Balkas (Jun 14, 2014)
This was my first year to try a CSA program and I picked the Hilltop Farms based on the reviews. However, after receiving the produce for 4-5 weeks now I don't share the same opinion: The produce is stale and extremely dirty. Fred was very responsive until I signed up for the CSA, since then he wouldn't even reply to my emails. Don't waste your money. You can buy the same amount of produce (or more) from whole foods for cheaper and they would be cleaner and tastier and you would know for sure that they are organic. As much as I would like to support the local organic agriculture, it is frustrating to be taken advantage of. Never with Hilltop Farms, again.
Comments on this Review:
Fred Miller says: (Oct 15, 2014)
Well, I'll just say, a CSA is not the right fit for everyone. We just finished our best summer ever with 99 % of very happy CSA customers and record sales to Eastern Carolina Organics, the Produce Box and many area restaurants. Most of our CSA members signed on for the fall season, too, and many will be back in the spring. Unfortunately for Ms. Balkas she started late and then bailed on us after just a few weeks that came along during the 42 day dry spell (1 day of rain) we had in May and early June. She didn't get to experience the bounty that the great rain and cooler temps produced throughout the rest of the summer. A CSA is about the good and the bad throughout a season just as your home garden would experience. We made up for any slow periods with over-packing boxes in the summer. It's all about averages. Also, we do rinse some of our veggies (greens and lettuces) to cool them off from the field heat but recommend further washing before using at home. Picked veggies begin to deteriorate when they get wet and will have a longer shelf life with minimal washing. As far as responding to her, it was a lot easier to timely return emails before the season started than during the 14 hours workdays of summer, but I did respond several times and even called to talk with her. I never had a chance to speak to her face-to-face because she always sent her assistant to pick up her veggies and never visited the farm. Very disappointing for me, too. Oh, we are certified organic, too, so you can trust our methods. We are inspected annually by the USDA and provide a detailed (12+ page) report of our farm practices every year. That validation is the difference in being certified organic and not certified. Sorry things did not work out for her but we do try extremely hard to make everyone happy and healthy as I did for Elif.