How's your CSA this season?
If you are member of a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture), I'd like to know how your season has been so far compared to years past. Ours has been underwhelming two years in a row, we're thinking of dumping them but I wanted to find out if anyone else has been similarly disappointed with their CSA this season. I'm wondering if maybe it's not all their fault, maybe the weather has been rough on all our CSAs.
Only my first year, but no complaints. We've had various greens, kohlrabe, potatoes, scallions/onions, tons of squash/zucchini, cucumbers, basil/lavender/sage, cabbage/bok choy, garlic scapes, string beans, turnips, radishes, carrots, beets, pea shoots, green peppers, chili peppers...this week we got quite a few different types of tomatoes, plus tomatillos and squash blossoms.
Things skew towards the greens, roots and gourds but those grow well in this area.
We use Red Earth CSA and things have been OK. One disappointment was that their Sour Cherry crop got hit by a late frost, so none of those. I think they are suffering from tomato issues this year as well. In general though, we LOVE having a CSA with a buying club option (not all have that) and we belong to Winter Harvest as our buying club throughout the year.
Last year was a notoriously bad gardening season across the east coast. Low temps and very very high rainfalls made lots of things, like tomatoes and peppers not only perform badly, but when they did ripen, they didn't have much taste.
This year we've had pretty severe drought conditions, though I'm not sure if we're "officially" a drought. It's been better the last couple weeks, but the rainfall was almost nonexistent for ...four weeks? The plus side of this is that produce in a drought period tastes better...has more sugar in it.
I think we've had two flukey years in a row, and that's the low part of CSA's....but good for the farmer. it's doing exactly what a CSA should do, supporting the farmer regardless of the production. Possibly big farms have the ability to water, mulch, or grow greenhouse crops...but a lot of farms doing CSA's don't.
CSA's are a gamble, but usually worth it, as long as your CSA isn't outrageous. We have a range of $500 to $1000 a 6-8 month season, which I think the upper end is pretty outrageous.
I'm going to switch to a CSA next year, because I'm really tired of weeding my huge garden. Instead of planting enough of everything, I'm just going to make half of it fruit trees and the other half just beans & tomatoes....things I'll be able to preserve and grow really easy.
What aren't you getting that you wish you were?
We have been getting plenty of potatoes, onions, garlic, chard, beets, cabbage. All spring we got tons of lettuce, spinach and bok choy and a couple of cucumbers. Last week we got some corn that was amazing but none this week :( . Haven't got as much summer squash yet as I would like. The past few weeks we have been getting slicing tomatoes and this week we got cherry. Also eggplant and a LOT of shallots this week.
I found the strawberries and snap peas a little underwhelming this year, but that could have just been our timing when we went to the farm -- these things are PYO and we go on a certain day. We picked an amazing variety of hot peppers though this week.
I heard it was going to be a good year for tomatoes because of the wet spring, I hope so, because last year was terrible due to the blight. I hope there is no more blight this year!
Seems every year is a little different with the CSA, but I think this year is definitely better than last. I can't wait for the melons!
I didn't join one this year after a couple of disappointing experiences. I used to get Lancaster Farm Fresh, and I found it frustrating to have too little of some things to be useful, and too much of others to use while still fresh.
As to the growing season, my home garden (tomatoes especially) is doing quite well, and the farmer's market produce is looking great, so I'm not so sure it's a bad growing year.
Same here... rough year for tomatoes. I grow them in a small patch in my courtyard as well as a sidewalk planter, and I'm *just* starting to get a handful of ripe tomatoes each day. Last year I was positively swimming in them, by comparison. My friend works out at an organic farm in Chester Springs and I know all their tomatoes and peppers were completely wiped out this year.
I've always wanted to try a CSA but I'm worried I'm not as ambitious in the kitchen as one would need to be with the variety of stuff you must get! I can work my way through an absolute truckload of tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers but I'm usually left scratching my head at a lot of the greens my neighbors get from their CSAs. I'd definitely be interested in hearing what sorts of veggies everyone gets from their local CSAs, though. Maybe I'll be confident enough to join one next season!