April 15, 2014
Winter 2014 Survey Feedback
I wanted to say a few words in response to our survey feedback this season. Thank you all so much for your comments. We appreciate hearing from you, and we always appreciate your support!
This winter provided some of our most challenging growing conditions yet, and tested our unheated high-tunnel growing methods. We were pleased by how well things survived given the extreme cold. However, it took extra effort on the part of the crew and Kip to get those shares out each week.
How our winter CSA planning works:
Dan, our farm manager, plans for, and plants all of the storage crops we distribute in the first couple months of the CSA. These include squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, and rutabaga. Each year, depending on where we're planting, and what weather conditions we get, some crops do better than others. Last winter, we had a bumper crop of butternut squash, as many returning members will recall. This year, we had a serious amount of turnips, yet squash, especially butternut, did not do well at all. We never know exactly what will happen, and we try to grow enough variety that we can count on storing enough crops to get our CSA started with a bounty! Some of you wished you had more root crops and others wish we had a greens-only option. In the future, we may be able to offer more customization, but for now, we try our best to offer a balance. We have plans to grow a wider variety of squash this season.
For our new members:
I want to emphasize how different our summer and winter shares are. In winter, there is less variety, because only hardy crops will grow in the cold winter conditions, even in high tunnels. We try to let everyone know that the winter share is comprised of some crops stored from the fall, in addition to mushrooms, microgreens, and crops that we grow in high tunnels (mostly greens).
The summer share offers much more variety, and includes more of a range throughout the season, with the arc of many typical spring, summer and fall veggies. We grow chard, but not kale or collards during the summer, since they do not tolerate heat very well. We include herbs as well, although we'll be limiting the amount of cilantro, dill, parsley, and lemongrass, based on feedback from last summer.
If you are hesitant to join summer because of greens fatigue, don't worry! Summer brings with it the promise of many new veggies!
Finally, I want to make sure that everyone is aware of the new share options in place or in the works for summer:
We have added Snowville yogurt this past winter, and we will also be adding Snowville chocolate milk for summer. We've hesitated to add chocolate milk in the past, because the price is much higher, but we're going ahead, since we've heard that you want it! A full share will cost $106.00 for the season and a half share will be $53. Yum! Please contact us if you'd like to add this item for summer.
We also added an extra mushroom share, for those that love receiving farm-grown organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms. This is 8 oz. of mushrooms, and is IN ADDITION to the mushrooms that come with the veggie share most weeks.
Shagbark staple shares: This share will include their freshly ground corn and spelt flours, in addition to the beans and heirloom popcorn. We have encouraged them toward organic popcorn, but so far, it hasn't been an option.
We are looking into berry options for summer. We will initially offer berries on a week by week special order basis when they are available, since we do not know what overall availability might be.
And, we are trying cut flowers for the first time this season! If all goes well, we'll add a flower share to the CSA, and they will be sold at the Athens Farmers Market, and at our Village Bakery pickup. Emily Hammon, our Packing Room Manager is heading up this project. I'm excited!
Customized share option in Athens:
As we explore options for more customization in our CSA shares, we are trying something new this summer season. Members who are interested in a little more choice about what they will receive in the CSA will be able to tell us 3 veggies that they prefer to receive, and 3 veggies that they prefer not to receive in the CSA, at the beginning of the season. As we pack, we will make substitutions, IF AVAILABLE, to give you more of what you like, and less of what you don't like. A farm staff member will there during pickup each week with the veggies. This pickup will be Tuesday evenings, from 5-7pm. Let me know if you want to pick up at the Village Bakery and Cafe this summer!
Posted by Athens Hills CSA at 3:57 PM