March, you fickle devil! It gives us a hint of spring - a few days of warmth when the energy in the wind picks up and carries the smell of earth and rain. You break out your spring coat and ...
Bam. Winter again.
Yes, the months of April - November are the most physically demanding on the farm but March is a month full of psychological landmines.
People often ask what we vegetable farmers do in the winter. I reply that it's often some of the busiest (and most anxious) months of the year. It's consumed by spreadsheets, production plans, and spending money we don't yet have. Cash flow is difficult for any business but for many farmers, it's almost an annual crisis.
It's also a hopeful time - it's the time when we plan for the entire season. We purchase all of our seeds (thousands and thousands of seeds) and hire our staff. We start thousands of tiny seedlings in the greenhouse and spend long hours getting all of our equipment, supplies and even our household, ready for a busy 24/7 season.
The sign up for our 2017 Community Supported Agriculture Program opened on March 1 and will continue until May.
We run a Community Supported Agriculture program to better connect with our community. By purchasing a "CSA share," you're actually purchasing a share of our harvest for the season. By paying for that share up front, CSA members help us access money at the most important time in the season - when we're investing in all of the seeds, supplies and equipment we need to run the farm. Believe it or not, the majority of our bills are due before our first day at the farmers' market in June.
And as we've mentioned before, this investment has a great payout for our customers. A CSA share costs a household about $28/week during the season but most often, you'll get $30-$35 worth of fresh, organic vegetables each week. In 2015, our CSA members saved an average of $78 by purchasing a CSA share before the season began. We recognize that this is an investment - our CSA members are investing in a share of our harvest and so you should see bountiful returns.
Beyond a mutual investment in the season, our CSA program is also about building community. With your support we can grow the healthiest, best tasting food for you and your family and we can all reduce our collective impact on the planet. We also work to make the farm itself a place of community. We welcome CSA members throughout the season to the farm, to learn and enjoy. (This year, I'm convinced that we need to have more potlucks and harvest parties to celebrate the season.)
March may be tough but with our community's help, we're tougher. And as we all know, spring is just around the corner...