Skip to navigation Skip to content

News  •  6 min

Family farmer FAQ

Published on 

Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers. Didn’t find your answer here? Contact us at 514-522-2000, extension 294, or toll-free at 1-877-272-6656, or e-mail

How do I find a family farmer and get my vegetable basket?
  1. Choose a delivery point from than 600 across Québec.
  2. Sign up by contacting your family farmer directly.
  3. Then, just pick up your basket near your home or workplace.
  4. Taste, prepare and enjoy delicious, local, organic vegetables!
Do I sign up with Équiterre or with the farm?

Sign up directly with your family farmer. You will continue to deal directly with your family farmer throughout the season. You can sign up on the Web site of most farms by completing a form online and mailing cheques to the farmer.

On what day and at what time should I go to pick up my basket?

Delivery schedules vary from one delivery point to another. Most deliveries take place on weekday evenings over a one- to two-hour period. Schedules of workplace deliveries are generally set at a time that is convenient for workers. Check to make sure the delivery schedule offered by your family farmer is compatible with your personal schedule. If for some reason you are unable to pick up your basket, send a friend or family member to pick it up for you.

Can I choose the contents of my basket?

The content of your basket depends according to the temperature and season. Your basket will be filled with seasonal products that are ready to harvest. This ensures maximal freshness of the produce in your basket.

To offer you as much flexibility as possible, most producers offer an exchange basket at the delivery point. This gives you the chance to exchange an item or two for another item in the exchange basket. The content of the exchange basket also varies depending on the season and the farm’s specialties.

You will find many star vegetables in your basket, but you may also find vegetables you haven’t tried before! Most producers will give you recipe ideas to prepare these new finds! Our site also has a collection of more than 150 recipes that you can search by vegetable, type of dish or season!

What size are the baskets?

The size of what we call a “basket” may vary somewhat from one farm to another. You can expect to receive between six and 12 different varieties of vegetables each week. Some farms offer only one size of basket, but most offer two or three sizes: baskets for one person, two people or a family. Baskets may not be quite as full at the beginning and end of a season, but they are abundant at the height of the season in August and September. Of course, the cost of the basket depends on the size.

Which size of basket should I choose?

It’s a matter of individual eating habits: Do you cook several times a week? Do you eat a lot of vegetables? If it’s your first year or you can’t decide between two basket sizes, we strongly recommend you go with the smallest size. If you don’t have enough vegetables, it will be easier to go up a basket size over the course of the season than to go down. Feel free to talk to your family farmer about this issue – they are in the best position to tell you more.

What should I do when I go on vacation?

Your basket is paid for in advance – consider it an investment! Many options are available to you when you go on vacation:

  1. More and more farms offer you the possibility of postponing your basket to a later time in the season. Talk to your farmer.
  2. Someone must be watering your plants while you’re gone? This person might be able to pick up your basket and receive some wonderful, fresh, organic, local products as a thank-you gift!
  3. A neighbour/friend/family member did you a favour and you owe her one – offer him or her your basket while you’re away!
  4. Sell your basket to one of your neighbours and get to know him or her better!
Why do farms ask for payment in advance?

Advance payment confirms the commitment you make to the farm for the season. This enables the producer to plan the season depending on the number of baskets people have signed up for. It also reduces the producer’s dependence on credit for major costs incurred at the beginning of the season. Finally, it gives the producer peace of mind – the crops being planted have already been sold.

Does Équiterre guarantee my season with the farm?

Équiterre cannot guarantee your partnership with a farm. The network of family farmers is based on an inclusive link between the farm and residents. Residents are responsible for informing themselves about the nature of the farm’s project before signing up, and farms are responsible for taking every means possible to produce quality products in sufficient quantity to supply subscribers throughout the season. Équiterre carefully monitors the files of farms who want to join the network by visiting them regularly, taking references and validating their experience and expertise. However, Équiterre only acts as a “matchmaking agency” between farms and residents, so that subscribers can take part in this ecological, inclusive and human food model.

Are there also deliveries in winter?

About 20 family farmers offer wintertime vegetable baskets. This type of basket means that farms must plan additional harvests in the summertime and that they have the infrastructures to store and distribute root vegetables in the wintertime.
Wintertime baskets are generally delivered every two weeks from November to February. They primarily contain root vegetables (potatoes, cabbages, carrots, onions, garlic, etc.) and occasionally sprouts or prepared products.

Are all vegetables in the basket certified organic?

All farms in the network of family farmers have made a formal commitment to use organic farming practices. They cannot grow any GMO products and must comply with strict specifications. Farms that are not certified organic are in the certification process. Équiterre accepts these “transitional farms” into its network, as they are in the process of obtaining or have just obtained their organic pre-certification. These farms are required to follow organic farming standards, but cannot yet use the word “organic” to describe their products. Each year, we make sure that farms in our network have begun the process to renew their certification.

Does my basket contain only local, organic products?

Both of these criteria have defended and promoted by farms in Équiterre’s network from the very beginning of the network’s existence. All products in your basket are organic or in the process of being labelled organic and come from your farm or nearby organic farms.
The advantage of this format is also that it reduces the distance food travels between its place of production and your plate, actively helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
By buying local, organic products, you promote the development of local organic farming, create jobs and save the environment. It’s an especially important gesture!

Do I have to become a member of Équiterre to receive an organic basket?

Anyone can receive organic baskets without having to become a member of Équiterre. Farmers add $18 to the cost of your basket subscription for coordination of the network. Your family farmer pays that $18 directly to Équiterre. However, this contribution does not make you a member of Équiterre. To become a member, you must make a donation. Donations are tax-deductible.

How is the $18 I pay to the network of family farmers used?

Your $18 contribution goes directly towards making Équiterre’s network of family farmers run smoothly. It is essential to helping Équiterre educate the public and producers about the benefits of local, organic farming, supporting the network’s farms and keeping you informed about farming issues in Québec and abroad. Moreover, Équiterre lobbies for organic local products to be accessible to everyone.

What exactly is organic farming?

In organic farming, techniques such as crop rotation, the use of compost or green fertilizers, and sowing plants to enrich the soil, are among the practices that are used to support beneficial fauna to maintain the quality of the soil that nourishes plants. As well, organic farming is regulated by strict standards, such as the prohibition on using synthetic products (pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers) or genetically modified seeds.
In Quebec, these standards are contained in a document titled Quebec Organic Reference Standards. These standards were set out by the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants (CARTV), the only competent authority responsible for managing organic labelling in Quebec. The CARTV has six certifiers who inspect farms and verify that their operations are compliant with the requirements of the standards.
The terms organic, ecological and biodynamic have been reserved in Quebec since 2000. The Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Added-Value Claims provides a legislative framework to protect these terms, which means that “organic” products really are organic, as they are the result of a rigorous process documented by the words “Certified by” and the name of a CARTV-accredited certifier on the package.