13 Nov CSA Season Wrap-up, 2014
Today’s final CSA distribution marks 48 CSA harvests for the 2014 season. With the equivalent of 300 full shares per week, that’s a lot of produce for a lot of families. Over the season, a family picking up a full share of produce enjoyed 34 cucumbers, 30 pounds of potatoes and sweet potatoes, 8 melons, 13 winter squashes, 26 head of lettuce, 49 pounds of an assortment of tomatoes (not including the PYO cherry tomatoes) 17 weeks of garlic in its various forms, 13 weeks of pick-your-own flower bouquets and so much more!
Each season we try new crops and new varieties and this is the time of year when we start to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Some clear successes this season were the popcorn, the long light pink eggplant (dancer), the little gem head lettuce and the kabocha winter squash. We were pleased with two of our bean varieties from certified organic seed- jade and easy pick. Both varieties were high yielding, flavorful, easy to pick and stayed slender and tender even as they matured. Sweet corn went better this season, as did broccoli. We were thrilled with out field heirloom tomato and cucumber yields, as well as winter squash, but felt the potatoes and sweet peppers suffered from various weather related events early in the season.
Two different plantings of italian eggplant proved that wider plant spacing yields larger eggplant, which seems to be what everyone wants- better for your eggplant parm! Reaching way back in our memories to the spring, we had a great sugar snap pea and strawberry crop. Whether that was because of agreeable weather, good management, or a combo of both, we’re not sure, but we’ll take it!
Some crops we dropped this season and didn’t miss terribly were okra and edamame. We are quadrupling our ginger seed purchase this winter now that we feel comfortable with the growing process, and we have high hopes of expanding our yields to be able to distribute at least a few weeks of ginger to the CSA. We continue to struggle with growing carrots- a very, very labor intensive crop for our farm, but we are not ready to give up on them yet. A big bummer was the basil crop this year. The lack of frozen pesto in my freezer speaks to the utter failure of this herb- despite growing a supposed mildew resistant variety, multiple plantings were decimated by powdery mildew. Ah well- you can’t win them all!
We hope that you enjoyed the chef demos this season. Next year we plan to try to have them later into the evening so the after work crowd can enjoy them too, as well as do better providing the recipes from the demos. Having a designated CSA distribution greeter and stocker (thanks Sandi!), was a wonderful addition, and we hope it helped make the pick-ups run more smoothly. Please feel free to provide us with any feedback or suggestions for next season- we are happy to do what we can to make the pick-up process a pleasant experience for everyone.
Of course the big news for us in 2014 was getting our organic certification this summer. This felt like a validation of the systems we have developed over the years for delegating, planning and record keeping. Overall because of these extensive sytems being in place, it felt like a rather painless process, one that will ultimately make us even stronger farmers.
A big shout out to our farm crew this season as they cross the finish line here in the last week of the CSA. This was an exceptionally hard working and agreeable group that was a real pleasure to work with. This includes Corbin on the tractors, Katie in the greenhouse, all our enthusiastic volunteer washers, our part time crew in the distribution room, kitchen, fields and wash area and our farmers market staff, Mikaela who helps me with the website and posts delicious nutritious recipes, Linda and Kurt working behind the scenes to help us create reports from all our data, our super supportive parents and friends, Cathy at Rolling Harvest Food Rescue for helping us waste less and donate more, the incredibly hard working crew over at Zone 7 and all our market customers and CSA community. The list goes on and on!
Thanks so much to everyone that makes this farm function, and thank you to our community of eaters for giving us the opportunity to grow food for your families and for providing us with the means to do meaningful work.
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.