July 11, 2011

Counting, weighing, and sharing

Hello CSA!

We hope you have been enjoying your produce and your CSA experience. So far things seems to have been working fairly well: the produce and extras have been beautiful; the trucks have been showing up (mostly) on time; rain has been minimal on Tuesdays; Abrons has added some music to our distribution; there have been few volunteer cancellations, and they've been manageable.

We have had a problem running short on certain items, which many of you might not even know about, since it affects only the members who show up toward the end of distribution. Nevertheless, it's a major problem for the members who get shortchanged, and therefore something we are taking very seriously. 

Knowing that there is a margin of error weighing produce at the farm and at distribution, both Woodbridge Farm and Breezy Hill Orchard routinely oversupply us with any produce that needs to be weighed out. Nevertheless, for certain vegetables, the error has been larger than the supply. So we've asked Heather, from Woodbridge, to increase the oversupply amount she adds to our order each week. 

Here's where it gets tricky -- it's actually impossible for Heather to add anything to our distribution, because we (and our sister CSA in Brooklyn) already receive absolutely everything the farm harvests on Tuesday. So, in practice, what really happens is that the amount each member is allotted is decreased to make sure that no one misses out (e.g. when there might be just enough for everyone to get 8 oz., we will instead list 7.5 oz as the share). Even though that sounds lousy, it's the best way to make sure that all our members are being treated equally, no matter what time they get off work.

Additionally, there have been a few instances -- most notably last week with the season's first tomatoes and zucchini -- when inexact scales are not the culprit. Items that are distributed in whole numbers should not run dry at all ... but they did.

So we're asking everyone to review the guidelines below:

- Check the large white board and the signs on each bin to make sure you take the amount that's appropriate for your size share.
- Note that, sometimes, a full share will get an item that a half share won't get any of (and, occasionally, vice versa).
- Make sure that your scale is properly tared -- that is, zeroed out with an empty bowl. (Check out the video!)
- Weigh carefully, and don't sneak a few extra ounces/items.
- Don't strip the waste (lettuce core, brocoli leaves, etc.) before you weigh
- Watch your children to make sure they treat the produce with care.

One last thing, which has been a little unclear to members: each week, Heather also brings us a bin or two of extra produce, which we keep off to the side. This is stuff that was picked on Friday and not sold at their farm over the weekend. It's not part of anyone's official share, it's just there for all of us to share. Feel free to take a little something, but please don't get greedy.
We know that distribution can be chaotic, and that it's the end of a long day, so please take a bit of extra time to make sure you're taking your share. And many thanks to the members who have been affected for their patience and understanding.

See you soon!