some news – our CSA adventure, revisited

please take some moments and complete your CSA survey/evaluation

if you already have, thanks so much!

if you need another copy, click here, or ask me for a hard copy when I see you next


This is 35 pounds of garlic seed, yep, the same as the cloves you and I eat! We grow and re-plant with our own seed now. From one year to the next: Grow, grow, grow. When we first moved down from the Traverse area three CSA farms gifted us a starter stock of garlic seed. Absolute generosity and community supported agriculture too!

I want to plant more than ever this year. Grow our stock, grow our harvests! We’ve planted in the neighborhood of 250# seed for the last few years. This year I’d like to see us at 325-375 pounds. But we’re already running out of our own seed stock. I’ll just go as far as I can (likely in the 300-325# neighborhood). We’ll reap the benefits/bounty next year!

Thursday was a slow, involved harvest day. It had gotten cold Wednesday night into Thursday. It stayed overcast long into Thursday. There was no sun, no solar gain to warm things up. Many of the plants had ice froze on them. It kept spitting rain, a little frozen rain, ice falling from the sky. And it just wasn’t warming up. We can’t harvest frozen food, it’ll go limp and black, dead. We can harvest food that has lightly frozen, but is now defrosted. Timing. Really quite amazing!

We had to adjust to the weather. Oh my. We did everything we could, aside from harvest. We tidied your CSA crates, washed tanks and spinner. Distributed garlic, onions, acorn squash. Got soaked and muddy by then. It’s ever so much colder when you’re wet. 

Put on more and dry clothes. Stoked the fire. Ate a nice hot lunch of soups. One potato and ham. One tomato. Delicious. Time was tightening ever more. The deadline to deliver coming nearer. It got warmer. We got it done. Hope you enjoyed your food! 

I’ve received a good number of 2012 CSA surveys and evaluations. Fill yours out, please, if I’ve yet to get it. I’ve received enough to feel safe enough to draw some conclusions and talk about them. But lately I’ve found myself short on time to respond. Days are shorter, darker. School and soccer, homework too, are happening. Once the girls started back to school, my schedule’s tighter.

I make a big deal of the survey/evaluation. I get thoughtful, wordy. Some might say too much so. So I want and need a big chunk of time to write back and respond. Sending the survey out mid-stream in the CSA season seems to get me most back by late in the CSA season! I need to get the garlic done first. Beat these rains predicted. Keep the harvest season rolling along. Then write!

I’ll address my side of the survey/evaluation in the next two weeks or so.

Our CSA Adventure this is a post on our website, from 17 Feb 2012. Thought I’d share it again, at this tail end of our 2012 Veggie CSA. I’ve been reflecting upon this harvest season. Looking ahead too.

Our CSA is an adventure in food, farming, and community. We are all asked to participate in each of these aspects. Some love this adventure, embracing the process thoroughly. This adventure shatters the experience for others. Many of us fall somewhere in this spectrum, not on either end. Regardless, once embarked upon, we are in this adventure together.

We are growing and enjoying fresh, local, seasonal foods. To expand and extend the assortments, we add “quirky”, off-the-beaten-path foods. These are often not your common known favorites, not your traditionals. We also plant in many successions. This allows multiple harvests through time. The earliest gardens often repeat later. We are truly expanding the possibility of our locale. We broaden the array of foods, and the array of nutrition we take in. We are broadening our horizons!

An openess to new and sometimes unusual foods, an attempt at “putting up” foods for winter, gorging on seasonal foods in season (as many of us easily do, and expect, with local fruits), finding creative ways to enjoy repetition, these are all very much a part of having a fresh, local, seasonal garden. (This is also the most financially rewarding way to take advantage of our CSA.) Many of you also share your foods with other CSA’ers, neighbors, family, friends, co-workers. This is enjoying the abundance!

Our CSA is, in many regards, much like your very own garden. There is both great risk and great reward. There is tremendous effort involved. You will eat as best you can from this garden this year. You will sometimes have foods picked early, small, late, or over-ripe. You won’t want to waste anything! You will have too little of some things, too much of others. Some weeks you will not have time to “deal with” all that perishable food. You will wish you had more for your dinner party this weekend. Certain foods will be coming out your ears (and pores!), others scarce. It’ll come and go. Sometimes it’s tough to control.

Pushing the local, seasonal, diversity, nutritional issue is really important to us. We’ve got to find ways to put the food in our mouths and enjoy it! We will insist that you, “try, try again”. The food will keep coming at you all season long. Changing or challenging food and spending habits is hardcore. There is a lot of tension and a lot of necessary, sustained effort in this process. Our CSA is definitely not a simple food for cash exchange.

One of my greatest pleasures of 7 years with our CSA is when, after four years of kale, a gentleman said, “Chris, finally I’ve found a way to enjoy kale! It’s delicious in scrambled eggs!” Sometimes this takes serious time. This is definitely an investment.

As the years have passed I’ve become more vocal and explicit about the perils and rewards of the adventure together. I’ve discouraged many potential participants by being frank and forthright. Our CSA is not for everybody, and a poor fit will not be pleasing. Our CSA is not even a farmer’s market exchange, where exact cash for exact produce is the norm.

Does this sound like too much propaganda? To some degree it is! We definitely push forward an agenda. We don’t deny that. The most perfect fit we find for our CSA is when we’re together, mostly on board with this complex, multi-faceted agenda.

Communication is essential in this process, especially to make it sucessfully satisfying. We all benefit from communication within our wider CSA community. Talk to us and others, and talk with us and others. We have telephone, email, the blog, facebook, the curbside. This is part of building and sustaining our locale, our culture, our health, and our lives! This sounds grandiose because it is!

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