CSA, Week 9: Too Much Rain and the Inherent Uncertainty of Farming


Week 9: Peaches, cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, purple cabbage, tea herbs (mix of anise, mountain mint, holy basil, sweet fern, fennel, and lemon balm), cippolini onions, squash, and carrots.

We weren’t sure what to expect this week. The lead farmer sent out an email a couple of days before pick-up in which she shared her deep worry over the rain that has hammered our area for the last few weeks. The rain has hurt the existing crops, causing incomplete pollination and blossom drop. And then there’s the impact on future crops… As she explained it, her first responsibility is to be a responsible steward of the land. And that means no breaking ground during periods of heavy rain because doing so would lead to soil erosion. The upshot? Less to harvest as the summer wears on. And that means less for the CSA.

When we signed up for the CSA, it was made clear by the farm that there is inherent risk in pre-paying for produce. There are many factors that can come into play and impact or even destroy the output of a small-scale organic farm. Buying a CSA means investing in our local farm. And investments sometimes fail.

So, I feared the worst this week. It was not a great haul, but not as bad as I had feared. To be fair, given the weekly cost of the CSA, none of the shares so far have been of a quantity that would warrant the price tag. But there are other things we get: supporting local agriculture, getting organic just-picked produce, bringing my daughter to a farm every week, going into the fields to pick our own, giving her the experience of tasting a strawberry or raspberry or blueberry straight from the plant. And we have been introduced to new food, and to new variations of old favorites. These things are all very important to me. Without a garden of my own, the CSA provides me with these joys.

Meanwhile, the forecast calls for even more rain. And that means the farm’s lead farmer will have more sleepless nights, the crops will continue to suffer, and our CSA share will dwindle….

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