Or, at least, we are going to try. Our goal here is to give our CSA farm share members, farm customers and potential farm customers or CSA members opportunities to give their opinions on farm subjects. We've done this before with some good results.
Some examples can be seen in posts like these:
We Want More Gruel
More on the Veg You Want
The requests at that time were:
Nevin: Tomatoes, early and often
Nancy: Baby carrots
Kory: can I just cross my fingers for a good squash year? at your place and ours?
Nick: Broccoli or carrots
Jennie: chocolate caramel (we understand the appeal, but please don't ask us to grow it!)
Stephanie: Tromboncino squash, winter squash, peas
Jeff and Susan: Steak! (ummmm) and peas.
And, what has happened since?
1. Broccoli production increased and improved
We implemented a plan to increase our broccoli production and had record production in 2013, which we broke again this season. And, as near as we can tell, very few people were turning away from the extra broccoli. Well, everyone who thought broccoli was ok. We DO realize some people don't like broccoli, so we hope we had corresponding crops that fit their likes as well.
2. Tomatoes early? Only if the weather allows, we guess.
Sometimes the best laid plans don't work when a more powerful force opposes you. Even so, we are setting up better to meet this request each year. What has happened is that we HAVE increased the number of weeks during the regular CSA season that there are tomatoes in the share. In the end, everyone got the same amount of tomatoes in 2014 as they did in 2012 - but it was spread out over a longer period of time. Now.... let's take the next step in 2015.
Why do we work with Jeff Sage? We work with Jeff because he is the carrot guru. The number of carrots given to CSA members in 2013 was more than we've ever provided (with Jeff's help). The weather this year stymied Jeff early, but he still got some very nice carrots later in the season. We even chimed in with some baby carrots for the Fall shares. Carrots are a difficult crop and we're pleased that we are able to respond and get carrots to everyone on a regular basis.
Finally, yes finally, our asparagus beds are starting to reach their potential. The difficulty here is that asparagus takes years (rather than months) to develop. So, this one was/is more a matter of time.
We had a nice bump in pea production in 2013 and thought we had it. Then, the peas didn't want to germinate well in 2014. But, even with that problem, we were still able to get our CSA some peas. The reason this is good news? It means we can still get some of this crop even when conditions are against them. The next step is to implement succession planting to hedge our bets and extend the production window! In many ways, the limit for peas is simply the amount of labor we have to pick them - it just takes time. So, even if all of the peas germinated, we would be limited in how much we could harvest. We're guessing peas for three weeks of the regular season CSA is a reasonable goal for us to shoot for again in 2015.
We have some nice spinach this Fall. But, we have to admit that the past Winter made it difficult to do the late Fall and early Spring spinach we usually excel at. It just simply was too cold. We also have to admit that part of the issue is the spraying issue in 2012. Now that we are approaching recertification of the sprayed areas in 2015, we see more reason to work on the spinach again. The biggest issue with spinach - it takes a long time to pick, clean and pack...
7. Squash - Alas!
Summer squash and zucchini have been fine, though production was down this past season. Winter squash, on the other hand, has been a bit of a nightmare at GFF. But, because we knew it was important, we worked with Glen and Beth at G It's Fresh to acquire some winter squash for everyone this season. With our small harvest to supplement, everyone got something. Many folks will remember 2007, 2009 and 2011 where we had a plethora of winter squash. So, it can be done and we will do our best to accomplish it. One of the issues is a lack of pollinators on the farm, so we will be increasing the flower companions in 2015.
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