Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Green & yellow beans — The beans are on! We grow two main types — your more familiar green “snap bean,” and a flat yellow bean. Both are suitable for fresh eating (that’s Rusty’s favorite) or for cooking. We’ve been enjoying a simple sauté preparation — chop the beans into shorter segments and quickly sauté in a favorite oil until just slightly tender. Throwing in some onions or garlic is nice too. Finish by tossing with a nice vinegar and serve immediately or chill for a bean salad.
- Cut lettuce mix
- Chard OR collard greens
- Parsley OR beet greens
- Summer squash & zucchini
- Torpedo onions — These are one of our favorite onions. We used to describe them at market as tasting like a giant mellow shallot. Basically, they’re strong enough in flavor to use in cooking, but mild enough to eat raw too. They don’t store well through the winter, so they’re a summer treat!
Two things defined the last week: first, the weather, which finally reached what we know as “normal summer highs” (almost 100° here at the farm on Saturday!). Most things on the farm (including the farmers) weather the heat well. We did have an unfortunate moment when we didn’t quite irrigate a newly planted field soon enough — it’s unsure the end result, but it fortunately wasn’t critical to the upcoming seasons.
The second defining aspect of the week was listening to CSA members’ responses to the new Full Diet plan.
In case you’re not up to speed, we’ve been talking about our 2013 plans in meetings and in person at pick-up last week in Mac. Over the weekend, I posted an extensive information page that addresses the basics of the plan, plus a long section of Frequently Asked Questions (based on real questions I had received in person and via email). If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, please do because it covers a lot of important territory. You can find it at our website here.
One big change to the plan this last week was very much based on feedback we’d received from members. When we first started talking about the Full Diet, we suggested that our preference was to discontinue doing a “vegetable only” CSA, such as we do now. We have been so excited about the vision of supplying our members with more of their dietary needs, that it just “seemed” to make sense to focus all our attention in that direction next year. But we genuinely wanted to hear from our members about this idea.
And, boy did we hear. There is a segment of the current CSA that is overjoyed and completely on board. However, we also heard a lot of very thoughtful responses detailing why the Full Diet plan doesn’t work for every individual household. We knew this would be the case for many people, but for some reason we were nonetheless surprised by the emotion underlying these responses — we heard disappointment, sadness, and a little anger and frustration too.
As we reflected on the responses, we realized that we were sad too — deeply so — at the prospect of losing a significant portion of our farm’s community. After providing food for you all for the last seven seasons, the notion of “Community Supported” agriculture is so much more real than just a name or notion. We feel very much connected to our eaters, especially since we live, play, and shop in the same community.
You’re not just customers; many of you are friends, neighbors, business partners, cheerleaders, and more. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed the two-way dynamic of looking to our CSA members for our own business/personal needs (attorney, welder, etc) and having people we do business with subsequently sign-up for the CSA (midwives, bankers, etc). To me, this is the best way to do business, through personal relationships (and seems to be the way it works for many folks in this county).
And, as we prepare for the arrival of our second baby (later this month! Woah!), I’ve been pulling out Rusty’s baby things and am reminded of all the blessings we received from members that season: homemade quilts, second-hand clothing, diapers, sweet supportive notes, books … and, in many other seasons, you encouraged Casey and me with simple gestures: cold beverages at pick-up during heat waves, warm beverages at pick-up on cold days, homemade jams, fresh baked treats, libraries of books about farming, and more.
In many ways, since we started this farm in our mid-20s, we feel that you have helped us grow up from young adults into the responsible, more mature, farmer adults that we are today (parents no less!).
The thought of discontinuing this sweet relationship was weighing heavily on our hearts, and Casey and I sat up late talking it through one evening. Even though we feel so excited about deepening our relationship with the folks who are ready for the “Full Diet” adventure, we feel that it would be a mistake to ignore the large numbers of you who have been very supportive but who really need a more convenient, lower priced, vegetable-focused CSA option.
And, so, the vegetable CSA will continue in 2013! Now that we’ve heard from you all, processed the situation and made the decision, this feels absolutely right. We’re still working through the details of how to balance both CSA programs. We are going to do official sign-ups for 2013’s CSA season in September, and by then we should have a clearer idea of the final plans. While we think, we welcome more feedback from you — are you planning to do the Full Diet adventure? What do you love best about the current CSA? Talk to us! We are listening!
There’s no question this year still represents a big transition for our farm in many ways — the land expansion, the soon-to-occur family expansion, the new dreams and hopes for part of our CSA.
As we go through this period, we know we won’t end up meeting every single person’s needs — we’ve learned that over and over again that even things that work very well in general don’t fit every person’s wants (in fact, over the years, we’ve had a slow trickle loss of awesome people who just couldn’t quite make the existing CSA work for their schedule or who were inspired to garden instead or whatnot).
So, as we work through the details of the two CSA programs, we’re trying to identify the main categories of things that make most people happy with our CSA (fresh quality seasonal vegetables topping that list of course). but for now we wanted to communicate to those of you who communicated with us: We heard you! We appreciate you! We want to continue being your farmers!!!!
In the meantime, please do take a moment to read the info I posted on our webpage — I think you’ll find it interesting and clarifying, even if you’ve already had a chance to learn about the Full Diet CSA.
Stay cool this week! And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
… and the rest of the farm crew
~ ~ ~
Next week’s veggies (probably!):
Cucumbers • Eggplant? • Lettuce • Carrots • Basil • Chard • Potatoes • Summer squash • Sweet onions