Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Vegetable Pick-up

I'm just about to go pick up our weekly share of vegetables from the local farm, Heaven's Harvest. Here is what is in season now in Massachusetts:

Edible Snap Peas
Edible Pod Peas
Pickling Cucumbers
Bok Choi
Green Peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Red Cabbage
Yellow Squash
Dandelion Greens
Green Leaf Lettuce
Red Boston Lettuce
Red Kale

A full share is a bushel; we just get a half share, which means we only get the items that I've marked in red. However, we have gotten all of the other items in previous weeks.

This is the third week of produce (out of 15 total). The first two weeks we also got a pint of strawberries, but the cool wet weather has already washed out the rest of the strawberry crop. Blueberries are next.

The farmers bring our share, plus those for about 80 other families, to a warehouse here in town, once a week. I can ride my bike to go pick them up -- they fit in a backpack. When carrots come in, the carrot leaves fly out the top of the backpack like a flag.

It is fun to get these veggies and then have to figure out how to use them up within a week. Also interesting to see what is in season at a given time.

We pay for the produce ahead of time. That way, the farmer has the money at the beginning of the season, and we customers all take on part of the risk. If a given crop should fail, we all share in the loss. On the other hand, we all benefit if a particular crop does better than expected. The organic aspect is nice I guess but the main reason I like it is this financial set-up. It's proven as a good model for keeping these small truck farms going in the rural areas around large cities. I don't think it would work for the giant grain farms like my uncle's in Kansas: what would we do with 100 bushels of wheat or corn?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! This must be an important post to bring you out of "web logging" hibernation. Did I get the lingo correct? I will check my Friendster account shortly just to make sure.

That is a cool idea, actually. How do you share in the upside if it's a bumper crop? Do you just get 5% (or whatever) of the crop? So you could ride home one day with 20 pounds of carrots?

Best to Helen and Tego.


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