Getting in Gear for a CSA Year


Last year was a research and development year–a year to take a little breather, take a break from the CSA (with only one member), and recuperate from a couple of particularly stressful seasons.

Farm income went down, as expected, but it was still a very productive year–great farmers market sales, great stores of produce squirreled away for my own family as well.  I’m actually looking at a year where the tomato sauce might make it all the way to when I start canning again in August.

This year, although there’s plenty of stress to go around (when is there not?), I’ve got enough of the farm under better management that I’m ready to bring back the CSA portion of my marketing toolbox.  It really tickles me when members get excited in the middle of January for produce that won’t start showing up until May.  I get excited, too!

My seed orders are coming together and getting sent off, phoned in, or placed over the internet.  Greens are, of course, high on the list, along with some great new tomato varieties (add Cherry Roma and Kellogg’s Breakfast to the list I made in my recent blog post).

Other new fun things: I’m doing a few different kinds of radish this year–a white and a red and a yellow for spring, a black and a daikon for fall.  I’m going all open pollinated on my peppers for the first time, having found a great bell-like variety from Seed Savers last year to replace my hybrid Ace Bell.

I’m also bringing back the Nardello peppers plus an Italian bull horn type.  Hot peppers will be my usual Hungarian Hot Wax, plus the pretty Fish pepper that I’ve wanted to try forever.  I’m not sure if I’ll throw another one in there or not at this point.

Tomatillos are out, but my fellow farmer last year turned me onto a new crop I can’t not grow now that I’ve tried it–ground cherries.  They look like a tomatillo, but they taste like a honeyed pineapple–fantastic!  Another of her choice of crops that I’ll likely try–a golden beet to go along with the red.

I’ll be doing the Goddess Salad Mix as always, but I also want to do some more head lettuce–butterhead in particular, which I’ll do a better job of protecting from the deer.  There’ll also be some romaine in there as well as a crisphead.  The garlic’s already in the ground.

What else?  Three kinds of kale, the wild garden mustards, some fun new kinds of summer squash too.  Fingerling potatoes will be on the menu, and carrots, and parnsips.  I’m not sure if I’ll do celeriac again this year, but I still have some seed, so I might.

It’s all very exciting, and I can hardly wait to begin assembling the seed-starting mix next month.  I’m capping the shares at only six, so I won’t be too overwhelmed, even if my son ends up coming down to live with me this summer or fall.  Maybe this year, he’ll help me weed the carrots!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Danielle on January 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Do you still have any CSA shares open? I was also wondering what the price was.

    Thanks!

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on January 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    The price per share is $400 for the season, but I’m sorry, I don’t have any shares left available.

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