We still have CSA shares available.
I promised to share the results of our end-of-season survey. Participation was terrific – over 50% of households responded. Thank you for participating! Here’s what you told us.
The Good News
The two questions below are important benchmarks for us. We found high satisfaction with the amount and value of produce we packed for you.
Did we send the right amount of produce? Look at the chart above and you’ll see that the results could not be more balanced. 13% said they could have eaten more produce and 12% would have preferred less each week. With our existing structure (one size box per week), I do not think we could do much better. These results mask a lot of individuality, from weekly to every-other-week shares, from single households to multiple families splitting a share. We conclude that most of you have found ways to make the deliveries work.
Do you feel you’ve received a fair value for the cost? This is an important question and we’re very happy with the result. Averaged over the season, our weekly boxes contain extra value over purchasing the same organic produce at Willy Street or Outpost Coops. It’s part of our commitment to taking care of you. We are glad you recognize the value packed in those boxes.
The Other Good News
We polled you about the crops you want MORE of and the ones you want LESS of. Fortunately, the strongest responses were all for crops that behaved poorly in last year’s wet weather. Given a normal year, we will return to typical amounts of these crops.
- LESS bell peppers. This is the only thing you clearly asked for less of! Yes, we did sent more bell peppers than usual last season. It was a good pepper year, at a time when some other crops failed. We were generous with peppers because we had fewer options to feed you. Peppers remain a very popular crop with CSA members, so I won’t reduce them needlessly. However, I won’t go overboard again this year. Those of you who froze your excess peppers last summer tell us you enjoyed them this winter.
- MORE Brussels sprouts, MORE cauliflower, MORE winter squash. Yes, these all did terribly last year because of the wet weather in late summer and fall. Should bounce back this year. We’ve trialled new winter squash varieties over the last few years, and have a few new ones for this season.
- MORE lettuce later in the summer, to go with the tomatoes and other salad ingredients. Mid-summer lettuce is tricky but we’ve identified a few varieties that do well for us. Heads will be smaller than the spring lettuce, but that’s a good thing in summer when the boxes are so full.
- MORE spinach, later in the season. We attempt fall spinach year-after-year and it fails. We have a few ideas to try. Who knows? This could be the year we crack this nut.
- MORE strawberries, sweet corn and sweet potatoes. I’m sorry but we’re at the maximum we can produce (and pick!) of these crops. We might be able to add another sweet potato delivery. The Extension and Storage shares are likely to have sweet potatoes, so those are good options for sweet potato fans.
We can do these.
Here are changes planned in response to your requests.
- Some of you asked for earlier notice of what will be in the box. I will post the box contents in the sidebar of our website at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night. That’s a few hours earlier than you receive my weekly email. Also, check our weekly newsletter for the next week’s forecast. It’s not a complete list; it’s just the items we are confident will be ready to harvest the next week. The forecast is listed at the bottom of our weekly Veggie List.
- Many of you asked for more information about freezing food from the boxes. I’ll incorporate this into the newsletter.
- Some of you have asked for help finding someone to split a share with. It’s definitely best if you arrange this yourself but I can help. Send me your name, email, pickup site, and the share arrangement you want. If I get multiple requests from one site, I’ll put you in touch with each other.
- Some of you asked for less frequent deliveries. Your lives have changed, whether through retirement or an empty nest, and you need more flexibility. We’ve created a new share, called the ‘Sampler Share.’ The Sampler Share is one box per month (June through October), with the option to reschedule up to two of the five deliveries.
- Many of you recognized that we sent more garlic this past season. Thank you for noticing!! We should be able to deliver the same amount this season (weather permitting) and might be able to increase it next year.
- We will continue to get recipes from Pat of Local Thyme and from Lauren. Members were evenly split in their favorite source. Many of you asked for simpler or quicker recipes so we’ll try to shift focus in that direction a bit.
- Recipe presentation will be similar to last year. Lauren’s recipes will be in the newsletter. Pat’s will be on her website, with direct links from my email and newsletter.
- I encourage everyone to register for Pat’s website this year. I realize there were technical issues with Pat’s website a few years ago but those problems are in the past. Many of you expressed a desire for extra support with the produce, whether photos, or organized access to the previous weeks’ recipes. All of that is built into her website, plus other features like the option to build a shopping list based on your recipe choices. We hire Pat to provide this support, so let’s explore what she offers. I think it’s an excellent resource to help everyone enjoy their CSA produce.
- Quite a few of you are interested in sharing cooking ideas and recipes among the membership. I have a few ideas to explore and will get back to everyone once I’m ready to brainstorm the best way to do this.
Our field work is moving along smoothly. It is so energizing to get plants in the ground.
We hired local carpenters to rebuild our pack shed this winter. They did a beautiful job and we will enjoy the improved space. My favorite part of the project? The carpenters sang while they worked, and their music changed as they built the building around themselves.