Our CSA program is definitely the core of our business, it accounts for well over 90% of our sales each year. However, farmers’ markets are still important to us because they give our crew a chance to meet our customers and give us a chance to sell the surplus and tailings from our CSA.
If you’ve been to any of our market locations recently, you may have noticed a few items on the table that are not in your CSA box – we’ve received a few questions about why this happens and so I figured it might be a good time for a post. There are four main reasons:
1. The crop just came in and it will be in your box next week. We pick when the crop is ready for harvest, if the first day it’s ready is the day before market then our farmers’ market stand will be the first time it’s seen in public.
2. The very end or very beginning of harvest. Fairly often the very first time we harvest a crop there’s just a teaser amount out there – nowhere near enough to put in the CSA boxes, but enough to send a little to market. At the end of the harvest the same thing can happen. Maybe there’s 5 tubs of spinach still out there, a nice amount to send to the market, but that won’t make a dent in our CSA box packing.
3. A very poor crop :(. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out for a crop. The 2015 Strawberries are a good example. The thing is, it’s not always a complete loss, and that was the case with the strawberries. We had a corner of the field that was not left in standing water from all the rain, and we were able to pick through it and find a few flats of berries to send to market. Sadly it was not even close to enough for the CSA, but it was good to sell what we had and at least cover some of the costs we had into growing the acre of berries.
4. Too much variety in the fields! This is our favorite reason because it means things are going really well on the farm. There are times every season when we just have too many different crops all coming in at the same time. We can’t fit 17 different veggies into our CSA boxes (and you probably wouldn’t want us to anyhow), so we make the best choice of items to make a nice looking CSA box and send some of the rest to market.
As a CSA member you get a 20% discount off of items at market, and we’ll do our best to do a little better than that for items that aren’t in the boxes that week, so make sure you mention you’re a member when you see us at market!