This Week’s Harvest
Fruit Share: Fuji (lighter red, sweet eating apple) and Winesap ( darker red, tart, crisp eating or cooking apple) apples from Downing Fruit Farm.
This harvest wraps up the CSA for 2015, a season that has proven to be our most difficult yet. This was the first season that really felt like we used the “shared risk” aspect of the CSA model. If you aren’t familiar, it is a cornerstone of Community Supported Agriculture and what sets CSA apart from other food distribution models. Farming is a risky business — droughts or floods could happen any season as well as blights which can all lead to crop failures – and having subscribers to the farm who pay in advance helps farmers not bare all the risks. Ideally, members could also share in the bounty of any given season. It’s our job as farmers to strive for bounty every year.
Over the past 8 seasons (especially the more recent years with more experience under our belts), our seasons have been pretty successful with no major casatrophies. We felt happy about every box leaving the farm. This year, however, came with a lot of challenges that honestly had us questioning our abilities as farmers.
It rained constantly during a really inopportune time– smack dab in the middle of the planting AND growing season. We had to pitch hundreds of seedlings who had outgrown their cell packs and had nowhere to go. We lost kale and carrot plantings and our entire sweet potato crop to overly saturated soil. We lost salad mix, bean plantings and more carrot plantings to weeds because it was too wet for us to cultivate. Our winter squash was essentially a crop failure because it was too late in the season for them to mature by the time we were able to plant. The squash you received was smaller than we expect and our pie pumpkins didn’t make it all. Sweet corn plantings were littered with problems as well.
So given the weather situation, it was our job as your farmers to adjust, make the most of the season, and pack full boxes. Our strategy was to plant a lot of relatively fast growing crops, like salad mix, beans, arugula and radishes. You may have noticed a lot of those crops in your boxes the past month! We, of course, love all vegetables and consider the amount of salad type vegetables you received as a success!
Farmers are optimists. We love what we do. We love striving to do better and the never ending quest to master this occupation. We learned a ton this year and are confident moving forward. So we had a sweet potato failure this year- what do we go ahead and do? Triple our sweet potato slip order for 2016!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in the CSA concept and in us to deliver a great product. We hope you enjoyed this adventure in local, seasonal and organic food production. Thank you!
Pasta with Beans, Broccoli and Parsley Pesto (use shallot in place of scallions for the pesto)