News From the Farm | March 2, 2020

Our two pigs were moved into new green pasture over the weekend, which makes them very happy.  This is Winona — she is pregnant, soon to have piglets!  —  

What you ate last year…

The CSA  boxes reflect for our members what it taking place at the farm.  Long-time members know the patterns well.  Cold weather brings greens and roots.  Hot weather brings tomatoes and melons.  There are both similarities and changes from one year to the next and from one week to the next.  Sometimes we can surprise even our long-time members with something new, but many households have their favorite ways of eating every single item in the box.  

On the other hand, close to 25% of our members have been with us less than a year at any given moment in time. One of the most common questions that prospective members ask us is what will be in their boxes.  How much fruit?  How many people will it feed? Will they be able to use the box to make a quick meal or will there be lots of items that are unfamiliar?

Early every year I create a list of what we put in the boxes the year before.  Every year, this list really illustrates the diversity of fruits and vegetables grown at Full Belly Farm.  The list helps to answer the questions that new members have about what to expect and I think also validates many of the reasons that people join a CSA in the first place.  If you get a CSA box, you will probably consume a greater variety and quantity of fruits and vegetables.  

Take FRUIT, for example. Here are the fruits that went into the boxes last year: Peaches (11 times), Oranges (10 times), Melons (9 times), Watermelons (almost 3 times), Grapes (8 times), Strawberries (5 times), Plums (4 times), Mandarines (3 times), Pomegranates (3 times), Apricots (almost 3 times) and Asian Pears (2 times).  For a few summer weeks, there were 2 types of fruit in the box.  Most weeks there was one.

Greens (Bok Choi, Collards, Mizuna, Chard, Broccoli Raab, Dino Kale, Spinach, Karinata Kale, Arugula and Red Russian Kale) are also more plentiful in the meals of CSA members than in the general population.  Greens were in the boxes 55-times last year. The greens are concentrated in the cooler months and usually disappear from mid-June through mid-September, so there were a lot of times that they doubled up in the CSA boxes.

In terms of individual vegetables, Carrots trumped all the others, appearing in the boxes 29 times. No one has ever complained to us that there have been too many carrots, so we feel pretty good about that.  Lettuce was the runner up (21 times) and our new Potatoes were number three (19 times).

What items were least common?  We didn’t include a lot of herbs and we are nervous about hot peppers because of member complaints.  We put Shishito Peppers in once, with many warnings that they could be spicy! Despite all the internet comments about CSA boxes overflowing with summer squash and rutabagas (not that we think there is anything wrong with either of those lovely vegetables), we only put summer squash in 4 times and rutabagas only twice.

Favorites like Green Beans (7 times); staples like Broccoli (7 times) and surprises like Shallots (3 times) round out the diversity.  If anyone would like the list of all of the different fruits and vegetables that were in the box in 2019, we can send it to you. Request it here.

One other comment about box contents:  In surveys of our members, we usually ask something like the following:  “We know that there are sometimes vegetables in the box that are not your favorites.  How important would it be if you could exclude particular fruits or vegetables?”  Interestingly only a little over one third of our members are strongly supportive of that idea.  Half of our members usually say that this would not be important one way or the other.  And 15% of our members do not think it would be a good idea.  So almost 65% of our members have decided over time, that part of the importance of the CSA box, is to bring a diversity of vegetables into the kitchen.  We know that our members have many choices in terms of how to get their fruits and vegetables.  There are many other delivery services, lots of great produce stores, and of course, farmers markets.  We will continue to work on our combination of fruits, staple vegetables, favorites and surprises in our Full Belly Farm CSA.  We welcome your feedback and treasure your membership!

Blessings on your meals.

Judith Redmond, co-owner

Our greenhouses are full of seedlings.