July 14, 2011

From Woodbridge: Share Discrepancies and First Fruits!

A nice, long answer from Heather::
Hi CSA Members!

It seems that there are some grumbles and frustrations going around about some of these delicious tempting first fruits only going full share members so I wanted to send out some communication to help the whole community understand what's going on with this.

As a technical 'half share' member myself I can say that my eyes too have been longingly following the red globes gracing the baskets of full share members as they collect their vegetables here at the farm. That wonderful season of color and diversity and juicy fruit is almost upon us and we are all wishing we had more and more!

Right now, we are just starting to see fruit ripen on our zucchini plants in the field and on our tomatoes in the greenhouse. There are two reasons why there is not very much right now.

The first reason is that when the plants first start to develop, there is never much fruit. The first fruiting is oh-so-exciting, but is usually just 1-2 at at time from each plant. Once they get their juices flowing and the sun starts heating up, things start to progress much more rapidly and we hope to see much more ripening together at the same time. They're just practicing right now, gearing up for the height of the season.

Secondly, we plant these things in succession. So only half of our zucchinis are actually producing ripe fruit now. The other half are flowering and tiny fruits are just starting to fill in. Also, some varieties come in faster than others. So of the half that are actually producing ripe fruit, two of those varieties (out of six) are still not quite there yet. Soon they will catch up, and by the time they do, the other half of plants will be fruiting as well. This is when we start to have enough for everyone to have some (and hopefully plenty!).

Similarly, we are just getting tomatoes now from the greenhouse. We have about 200 plants in there now that are producing fruit, while we have over 500 tomato plants in the field. These too are beginning to flower, and shape fruit, but it hasn't quite ripened yet. Once we are able to harvest from these plants (over 12 varieties all together!) the harvest will be much more substantial.

When we just have a very little amount, like the last two weeks, there is sometimes not even enough to give one tomato or zucchini to each half share, especially since there are so many more half shares than full. We have also heard from you in the past that 1 tomato or 1 zucchini is not too helpful in making a meal. So we're trying to give what we do have to the CSA somehow, and right now that means just sending to full shares. We always try to make up for that extra vegetable by sending an even amount of something else (note that this week for example everyone got the same amount of lettuce.... last week, peas).

I know it hurts! I am jealous of those full shares too! But please be patient, as we are working with the inflexible mysteries of nature and they are just gearing up to give us all some love.

Thanks,
Heather