Summer/Fall CSA

Now that fall is finally here, I think I can rest a little! As far as I can tell we had a very successful Summer/Fall CSA with 7 subscribers. I can tell you, they are probably also relieved to not have to deal with several pounds of eggplants every single week! We also were successful with many kinds of sweet and hot peppers, okra, cucumbers, watermelons and winter squashes (pumpkins, spaghetti and butternut squash) in the hotter months. Despite the fact that hot weather lasted well into September, we were also able to provide broccoli raab and hakuri turnips, a gourmet salad mix with lettuces, arugula and early mustard greens.

This was our second CSA season, lasting 12 weeks (the spring CSA was 10 weeks) and we sure are learning a lot about growing, harvesting and sell food! In between our CSA seasons, we sold produce at a small farmer’s market. And as most farmer’s already know, the CSA brought in more money. I won’t necessarily say that it was more profitable, because we have a lot to learn in terms of efficiency (harvesting, washing and packing a gourmet salad mix is WAY more involved than harvesting eggplants and tossing them in the CSA crate).

There are so many models of CSA out there to learn from, but we’ve really appreciated our close personal relationships with the farmers at Goat Lady CSA! Despite the fact that we’ll have less than 1/10th the number of subscribers, we can still look to their model for a successful CSA. Two important distinctions of their model: First, members choose, on a sliding scale, how much they are willing to pay for the CSA. This creates diversity among subscribers, and allows those who can afford it, to supplement those who still need it, but cannot afford as much. Second, all members are required to volunteer some amount of time to the CSA, whether that is by harvesting, packing, delivering, working event tables, writing newsletters or any other activity that is needed. We farmers really have a lot to do out there, and when we get help from the community, it becomes all worthwhile!

Back at Dunleith, we’ve created as many beds as will fit in that 1/3 acre field. This summer we had 7 people renting plots and 7 people subscribing to the CSA. As this is a community garden, we hope that more people will become interested in doing their own gardening and we are hoping to transition more space to plot renters. Of course this means fewer shares available to the CSA, and then what is the point of diminishing returns? Well, there is a lot of time between now and the next planting season to for things to happen, so look for an update in the spring regarding the status of the CSA.

Thanks to all who participated this year – you helped make Urban Harvest and the Dunleith Community Garden a continuing success.

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