Saturday, June 12, 2010

First week of harvest, oh the greenery!

For our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)* members who showed up on a rainy Wednesday for their first pick-up, I hope they were pleasantly surprised when we handed them a box filled to the brim. It is not uncommon for the first few weeks of distribution to be a little on the lacking side, it is after all the first week of June, but our boxes were filled with three types of head lettuce, scapes, turnip greens, radishes, kale, spinach, parsley, rainbow swiss chard, and raab.

Our garden is not very large, just over an acre, so the way we handle our distribution is to spread it out over a week. We break up the 55 member CSA into three groups, Monday, Wednesday and Friday group. In the morning of each distribution day we pick only for that specific group so the plant has a chance to grow and produce again for the next distribution day.

Because our gardens are located on two spots on the farm, only two people can go in the golf cart to harvest in one of the fields, the other two stay at the CSA shed and pick whatever is in the fields there and start washing in the large rubber maid tub. We rinse all the vegetables once to get a decent chunk of the dirt off and dry them for a few minutes before packing them in the individual boxes.

At 3pm members start rolling in and picking up there shares. Pick-up is from 3pm to 6pm for the next 20 weeks. When people are pleased with their share its a nice reward but I still think harvesting is the best part because to me it feels like I have come full circle. All those days of digging, weeding, planting and hoeing pay off in one beautiful bunch of curly kale or rainbow chard. I immediately start thinking, what will I make for supper?

* CSA model is where people pay for a share of the harvest to the farmer upfront and in return receive vegetables weekly for a certain period of time. A great way to support farming, access fresh local food, and to connect with the seasons. Plus, its kinda like Iron Chef, you have to think of the different ways you can prepare kale before becoming utterly bored of it.

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