- ‘Great Batavian’ Escarole
- Cucumbers/Summer Squash
- Sweet Peppers
- German Butterball Potatoes
Harvest time is here! The changing of the seasons is evident with the enormous flush of vegetables coming on in the mild weather of fall. The most diverse time to eat as we still have some of the last of the warm loving vegetables intermixed with the fall crops of broccoli, sweet peppers, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, leeks, and winter squash..
Along with our weekly harvests for the CSA and farmer’s market we are starting to tackle some of the big harvests of the year for winter storage. Before the cold, wet, rainy season arrives our two acres of dry beans, dry corn, trial amaranth and quinoa crops all have to be harvested. Then comes the winter squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, celery root, kohlrabi and cabbages. We are getting to the season when we are transitioning away from the planting and weeding to reaping the fruits of our labor. It is our favorite time of year as we reflect on all that we have accomplished over the past nine months as we lug thousands of pounds of food from the fields.
When we harvest each one of these vegetables we will store them away in the appropriate environment that will keep them the longest. This includes sealing them off from critters and keeping them at the appropriate temperature and humidity. Many people think that after fall harvests the work is done, but really the work has just begun for us year round farmers. Now comes the task of closely monitoring storage crops to make sure they do not spoil, sorting out the bad vegetables before they contaminate the whole and harvesting vegetables from the field while knee deep in mud. Overall the winter takes larger plantings, more energy, infrastructure, and labor to make it all happen.
As we mentioned in last week’s newsletter we are raising the price of the Winter CSA. The price increase from our normal Summer CSA rates is a reflection of the extra costs that we incur to provide vegetables to all of you during the winter months.
The increase in price helps to pay for the upkeep and energy costs of infrastructure such as our insulated, temperature and humidity controlled coolers and dry storage. It will also help to account for the increase in harvest time costs as the cold weather, rain and mud slow down our harvesting and washing speed. For winter we also have to grow more vegetables for the CSA than we actually give out, because of the inevitable loss of vegetables that occurs during winter. Whether it’s vegetables that don’t keep as well in our cold storage or a plant that succumbs to the frosts in the field, it is important that we plant extra to insure that we have plenty. All of these variables need to be addressed to make sure that we can reliably continue to provide year round vegetables to our community members.
After getting three seasons of farming under our belts we are starting to look more critically at the long term goals of our farm. Each year we get a little more settled in routine and more set up with equipment. As we see growth in our farm we are looking more closely at the intricacies of our budget, so we can better understand the areas where our business is thriving and the areas that need to be adjusted. Now that we’re past our first few years of business we are looking more specifically at what it takes to grow the food that is on your plate.
In the upcoming years we will continue to look at our operations more closely, so we can make adjustments to our farming methods and membership pricing if needed. If you have any questions about Winter CSA pricing, the farm, our progress this year and the changes we are making come talk with us! We want our farm to be as transparent as possible as you all are investors in it.
Enjoy this week’s fall share of vegetables. We hope to see you all this Winter.