Here we are – week 19 out of 20 for the vegetable CSA. This box is the last one for Every Other Week members who pick up on the Odd Week. Next week is the last one for everyone else (except Yearly Members and those with a Winter Share).
It seemed the summer stretched out far in front of us and so quickly, here the last weeks are. It is bittersweet for us. While it is hard to say goodbye to the season and the routine we’ve gotten into, in many ways we are ready.
This was our biggest year so far in terms of farm members, shares and crops grown. In hindsight, it was a little more than we and our land were ready for. Between older machinery that Bill is often coaxing to keep running, ground needing more conditioning, amount of work we can actually accomplish being overestimated, along with the challenges the abundant rain of the summer presented, it has been stressful.
Every season we learn more about vegetable farming and about ourselves - our strengths and weaknesses individually and as partners. This season was no different. For Bill and me, this will be the year we came face to face with our limitations. And as they say, it hasn’t always been fun. It has caused tension, but it has also offered us an opportunity to grow and become better: better farmers and better partners. I can’t say we have it all figured out yet, but we are working on how to best do both. Among the successes of the season we are refining our “lettuce game” and have been able to increase our offering there. Our herbs flourished. Peas, broccoli, and onions didn’t fare as well. We also didn’t have the overall yields in number or size of produce that we anticipated.
Aerating the soil, continuing to nourish it, along with creating better row spacing to allow more weeding with tools versus almost all hand weeding will go a long way toward better results in the future. In fact, we saw improvement with the late-season bean, beet, and carrot crops.
So it is almost time for us to take a step back, move on to the less demanding winter shares, and put together all that we have learned before solidifying plans for next summer. Part of that process is recognizing what a big part our farm members play in our business. Obviously, we couldn’t do all of this without you. This year we got a big confidence boost when all of you joined us as farm members. Feeling the responsibility of supplying you with your box of food on a regular basis gives our work a value that we not only appreciate but need. Knowing you share in the risks, the good, the bad, and everything in between inspires us to do our best, to learn more, to work harder, to remain humble, and to improve.
We farm because we love working outside together, because we love growing food that nourishes, and because we love the direct connection with the people who eat it. Together all of us are not only contributing to the growing of food but to the growing of a community that eats that food. That feels noble. Thank you for your part.
As this season ends – we wish you a safe, warm winter, and hope you will consider joining us again next summer.