September 4, 2010

About the low yield at our CSA

Email to members 9/4/10:
The last few weeks have seen a decreasing yield in our CSA shares, culminating last week in what was probably our smallest take-home in three years. Farmer Julia provided us with a detailed explanation of their challenges this year with irrigation and water supply, problems highlighted by the general lack of rain this summer. You can read her full letter on our web site, but the gist of it is not good news -- the pond that Woodbridge Farm has relied on for irrigation has practically dried up, and they expect sparse pick-ups for at least another few weeks.

Julia is hoping for better results for their fall crops, as they've been given permission to tap into a neighbor's well. We've asked for an update on their progress, and will post that to the web site also as soon as we receive it.

It's worth noting that CSAs were invented precisely to help growers withstand the natural unpredictability of a small farm, as well as to provide amazingly fresh produce with no chemicals to consumers. That is, we ask that you patiently take the bad with the good. Our CSA provides Julia and Dave with the kind of economic security family farmers have never had; CSAs in NYC and around the region have helped re-energize family farms across New England; in particular, the movement has encouraged more small farmers to grow organically, which leaves their crops more susceptible to the vagaries of weather and disease. In other words, we hope there's more to your CSA membership than the desire for tasty tomatoes.

We try not to get too mission-preachy here at the Grand Street CSA, but when all you get to take home is a pile of purslane, maybe a big-picture pep-talk is in order.

(Speaking of purslane ... we posted some information about what you can do with the stuff to our web site, and thought it was a good time to remind you of all the veggie tip sheets from Just Food. There's even one for purslane.)

Please feel free, as always, to email us your comments and complaints, or to talk to the core member at distribution on Tuesday. And if you have time in your busy day for a quick rain dance, Julia and Dave and the salad greens will appreciate it.