08 Nov CSA wrap-up, Season 8.
Twenty four weeks have past since the start of the CSA season way back in May. For the farm crew that’s 48 harvests down- not counting market and wholesale harvests. Over 400 families from our local community were fed this season through the CSA- some coming to pick up every week, some every other week. For a full share family that was 24 weeks of veggies, 18 weeks of flower bouquets, 38 pounds of potatoes, 32 pounds of slicing tomatoes, 15 pounds of chard and kale, 16 pounds of onions, 18 pounds summer squash, 6 melons, 10 pounds of sweet peppers, and the list goes on and on!
In addition we continued our relationship with our local food pantries, with leftover produce from the farm being picked up every single Monday morning and distributed to those in need by volunteer extraordinaire Joe Coleman. Also thanks to Cathy Snyder and her team from Rolling Harvest Food Rescue for her boundless energy in making sure no edible crops are ever wasted at any farm in Bucks County! Her work is real and tangible and has a serious positive impact on our local community. (I would urge you to check out their website and consider giving a gift of a donation to their organization this holiday season.)
For Tom and I, over the past 8 years, we’ve seen 384 CSA harvests (but who’s counting?). We’ve shared with you in blog posts over the past months the stories of the many hands here that contribute their collective energy to growing your vegetables, and kept you updated on the tasks and efforts involved. Yet with over 50 full and part time employees having come and gone over the past 8 years, the main constants for Tom and I are truly this land that continues to provide us all with nourishing food, and the community of families that value and support our effort and vision. We know this is not an easy thing to do- that there is an equal amount of work and committment on your end to get to the farm each week, to keep an open mind about quantities and varieties, to develop menus and recipes from what is in your share, and to cook (or juice) that mountain of veggies each week. We thank you profusely for making that commitment this season, and hope you’ll continue with us as we grow together into the future.
Year after year, Tom and I are continuously learning and are always experimenting with the crops we grow and the systems in place to grow them (like plant spacing, soil building techniques, equipment to make things easier and more efficient for our crew, and so on). Then we evaluate what works and doesn’t work (how to minimize brussel sprout bug damage and keep caterpillars off the broccoli, how to grow bigger sweet corn, and to do it all organically; how to teach and inspire our crew, and stay true to standards of quality and productivity while juggling expectations). I would say that though the specifics may change from season to season, our biggest challenges continue to be weather (too much rain being the hardest on our soil type), pests and labor.
This year we felt like we were able to introduce more diversity in the shares. New crops this season: sweet potato greens, lemongrass, black radish, broccoli raab, brussel sprouts, big fat fall kohlrabi, transplanted and bunched arugula and dandelion greens, and cuban pumpkins. New varieties were trialed of potatoes, tomatillos, sweet corn, tomatoes, and storage onions as well as fall cauliflower and broccoli. We hope you’ve enjoyed both the staple crops and the more unusual offerings. We will be sending out a survey soon- we hope you’ll share your thoughts with us. Re-registration for the 2014 should be available in the next few weeks. Stay tuned and have a wonderful winter!
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.