Your CSA Feedback: Survey and Evaluation…. Continued….

 

 a few reminders

  • if you’d like to purchase additional garlic
  • Ground Sausage $5.75 per pound (1 lb pkgs), Rendered Lard $5.50/#
  • if you’d like to purchase firewood
  • to see some new December farm photos

sample CSA full share, Tuesday Oct 29 2013

full share Oct 31 2013

 

Our CSA finished up the final week of October 2013, on Halloween Day! In early and mid November, I was busy in the fields finishing up garlic planting and mulching, cleaning up and sorting irrigation lines, and spreading compost. I’ve since spent most of my time in the woods cutting firewood for next year.

Because I have continued to be busy with so much else, I have been slower than expected to reply to our 2013 CSA Veggie Survey and Evaluation. Today the girls have their third snow day this school year (already!), so I’ll try to continue with my assessment of the 2013 season.

We do appreciate all of your efforts to provide us with constructive criticism and frank evaluations. This is invaluable. We also received much fabulous praise! Which is nice (of course!). Thank you for all your feedback.

We principally deliver full share CSA crates. There is reason, philosophy and agenda behind this. If you’re wondering what I mean, please re-check this post from last year. For a CSA of our scale, most individualization might best be handled with a grab crate/trade crate/ community crate.

These have been orange crates, labelled Community Crate which I’ve brought with me to the curbsides, not always, but often. We usually try to bait the crate with some extras, or maybe a few early or late-coming veggies (of which we do not have enough to stock each shareholders crate). CSA shareholders are welcome to Grab from the crate, or Trade with the crate (say trade your tomatoes for the kohlrabi in the crate (go figure)), or just Donate to the crate your least favorite whatever it is. It’s one way for You to individualize Your crate. 

This year, for the first time, we received widespread criticism of kohlrabi. (Though I just might be nuts enough to try it again next year.) We have always grown small green (white) or purple (red) kohlrabi. For three years we’ve experimented with LARGE green (white) storage kohlrabi. These are a bit different of a beast, meant to be cooked. Why have we experimented? In part to widen our availability of local and seasonal foods, to add variety in both taste and nutrition, and to try to subtitute this large cooked kohlrabi for potatoes (which we have stopped growing for sale). We’ve also done exactly this with turnips and rutabaga.

So, yes, about the turnips and rutabaga. These were a new experiment this season. Again I am looking for a replacement for potatoes, also to widen our availability of local and seasonal foods, and to add variety in both taste and nutrition. I admit, they were often small and/or misshaped (as were some of the carrots). This bothered many of you. I learned much about the soils necessary to grow such root crops well. Two of our gardens’ soil is not ready for such a root crop. They grow small and misshapen in tight, heavy clays. We also need very thorough thinning of these crops, which we were not always prepared nor able to do.

This year, for the first time, I also received a number of critiques of the ruby streaks mustard in the salad mix. The mustard adds a unique texture, a fabulous color, also a loft to the salad mix. The “loft” helps separate the lettuce leaves, prevents clumping, just adds some space and air. As far as most of us have said the taste is very mild, not offensive in the least. I do not fully undersatnd this critique of mustard, though I think it has to do with the “feel” of the mustard when eaten. It does have a bit of a gripping or velcro-like feel???  

Many of our other personal assessments of the 2013 season have been shared and contained in the many web posts throughout this past season.

Towards the bottom end of this post you will find many other straightforward critiques we received this season. I am very glad to take these into account, mostly in helping to determine how I best spend my work time satisfying the demands of the CSA.

There are many pieces to the puzzle which constitutes one season of growing, harvesting, and selling. This time of year many of the pieces loom behind (while we look ahead!) Right now they are much in the mind.

Looking at the whole puzzle’s picture can be intimidating. It’s made of (too) many individual pieces!!! How did it all work, and how did it all pan out??? Fortunately for us, your CSA support helps greatly to mitigate the potential risks for us. We plunge into the season together!

“Work smarter not harder” seems so intelligent. In my physical world, I find I can only work so smart. Or so hard. We try to do better on both fronts, though. Your feedback helps greatly. Thank you.

Thought I’d share some of the actual feedback we’ve received… Thanks to all who’ve spent such time and effort to let us know!

  • “Your harvest was delightful.”

july 2nd 2013 harvest from field

  • “Chris, I have total trust that you are fair and honest and will provide us with nutritional organic foods.”

  • “I might not appreciate the full extent of the entire process yet, as my freezer is packed, so come February, I might be in awe of the full extent of my bounty.

chatting while clipping, many smiles, much work, garlic 2013

Picture 018

  • “Love your small farm operation! The garlic harvest was one of my very favorite parts. All in all, I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to enjoy your delicious foods, Chris!”

Picture 061

Kossak (F1)

  • “I enjoyed being introduced to the kohlrabi! Thanks for that.”

  • “Thanks for all your hard work! Our freezer is full and we are grateful.”

  • “We’re glad you’re out there!”

Picture 042

Picture 039

  • “I snack on cherry tomatoes while carrying the crate to my truck.”

  • “The biggest challenges for me are the cooking, preparation, preservation of seasonal foods. When I consider my lack of knowledge and experience in this regard I think, “Wow, I grew up on boxed macaroni and cheese.” Still, though, I want to press forward toward efficient usage and storage of these foods.”

  • “I developed a “Got to use it Wednesday stir fry”!”

Picture 011

2013

loaded in van, ready to roll

  • “The flowers were a treat.”

  • “I love that I supported this. However, it is so different than just going to the market (or growing my own garden). It forced me to try new things that are different.”

  • “Keep doing what you’re doing. Ask for more help from CSA members individually and face-to-face.”

….and….

  • “Improve Facebook Communication.”

  • “Teach chopping procedures for different items.”

  • “We love supporting the farm, but the logistics are ‘tricky’ for us.”

"juvie" swiss chard June 2013

arugula - harvest 12 - 2012

red russian kale - harvest 12 - 2012

June 20, 2012 kale in field

  • “Wish we had more greens like last year.”

  • “A wee advance notice on what will be in the crate would be helpful for meal planning.”

  • “Please post more information prior to the start of weekly share.”

  • “More vegetable I.D. online or specific “what’s in your box” notes.”

radishes October 2012

  • “The greens and radishes can be overwhelming.”

arugula

eggplant late Aug 2012

eggplant sept 26 2013

  • “Would like less odd vegetables, like arugula, eggplant, radishes…”

turnips, cleaned!, aug 2013

  • “Turnips, tried kohlrabi – not a big fan.”

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