Full Shares: Arugula, Chioggia Beets, Pruden’s Purple slicing tomato, Sungold tomatoes, Cucumber, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, White Cauliflower, Red Potatoes, and Basil

Partial Shares:  Arugula, Slicing Tomatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, White Cauliflower, Red Potatoes, and Parsley.

Hello CSA Members!

If you’ve ever wondered what Sunday night in the farm house is like during the season, it usually goes something like this:

Rebecca:  Will you look over the CSA list and tell me if it’s ok.

Todd:  Yes.  It looks good, but why aren’t partials getting carrots?  They didn’t get carrots twice already this season.

Rebecca:  We gave too many carrots out last year, and people got sick of them.  Plus, the parsley is ready, and it’s the only time this season they will get parsley.

Todd;  Ok, but do you think people want parsley more than they want carrots.

Rebecca:  No, but we can’t design the shares just for carrot lovers.  There are other members who like the diversity of our offerings

Todd:  Ok, give them parsely, but I think we should swap out the beets for potatoes.  And should we give arugula instead of salad mix, or in addition to it….

And it goes on like this, me trying to predict CSA member sentiment and Rebecca representing the farm production side of things, until we come up with a final CSA share.  We do put a lot of thought into the shares each week, but I say all this simply to convey that planning a CSA each week is tricky on a couple of fronts. One, we are trying to keep 250+ people happy with a single offering.  That hasn’t been attempted since Henry Ford and his black model T.   Our goal is to keep the greatest number of people happy at any given time, and we realize that we don’t always achieve that, but we do our best.  It’s especially tricky because different members have different preferences, and so it’s challenging to find the right balance.  The second issue is that partial shares are difficult.  This may be a little known fact, but when we first started our farm and our CSA, we only offered one size…the Full Share.  It was $25 worth of produce per week, and it was easy to make it look substantial and diverse.  But it was too much for some folks, and they requested a smaller size, which we offered as the partial share.  But at $16 a week worth of produce, its’ hard to offer a diverse share (5+ items) with adequate portion sizes.  Should we offer less items with larger portions?  More items with smaller portions?  Which items do we leave out?  And on top of all that, we have to deal with all the natural variations in the growth and maturity of plants on the farm, with some not ripening in time, others ripening all at once, etc.   Upon the completion of the CSA this year, we’d like to do another Survey Monkey  in order to get your feedback on some of these questions, so keep an eye out for that.

Things at the farm are progressing rapidly.  While it hasn’t been as hot as in some years, I feel like we’ve had warm nights all season, and in spite of the late start this season, every thing is either on schedule or ahead of schedule.  We harvest all 18,000 bulbs of garlic this past week, and are busy weeding the last successions of fall carrots.   The tomatoes are starting to peak production, which is really early for Montana.

The Sungold tomatoes in the high tunnels are really starting to hit their stride!!

Due to popular demand, we decided to dig up the first red potatoes.  I just ate a bunch for dinner, and they are creamy and delicious!  I did not have time to let them sit in the ground to “set” their skins, which are super thin and delicate, so they might look a little nicked up from the harvest, but don’t worry, it’s just superficial.  Also, you may receive a white cauliflower with a bit of pink or tan tinge to it.  This is simply due to exposure to the sun.  White cauliflower are very sensitive to sunlight, and they sunburn and bruise easily.  Kind of like my Irish relatives. (I’m going to get an earful for that one).

It’s late, and I need my beauty sleep.  Stay cool out there, and we’ll see you at CSA pickup!

Todd and the Two Bear Farm crew.