Several of you have been asking about why the extra produce at the end of distribution is not handed out, and why some of our crops in the filed are “left on the vine” and not provided to shareholders. I have heard legitimate questions from people about how our methods have changed from year’s past, when left over harvested produce used be equally handed out at the end of distribution hours. One major difference this year compared to previous years is that we haven’t sold out. Due to our preplanned layout of our fields with Ward’s Berry farm, we needed to plant enough produce for 400 shareholders in the Spring, yet now we have considerably less than that. Because there are so many un-sold shares worth of food being grown, we have been searching for ways to diversify our income so that we won’t have to incur new expenses onto shareholders. This will be the first year that we hold a farmer’s market in Walpole for instance, and we also plan to sell a few share’s worth of food at fellow sanctuary events.
In addition to managing our budget and various expenses, we still value the importance of donating to the community, which is why we continue to arrange for a few interested shareholders to deliver produce to food panties. This past week, we also delivered 300lbs worth of potatoes to a retail market in Dorchester designed for low-income families, as a way of outreaching to the community and increasing awareness of our CSA.
We understand that some shareholders love food, love cooking lots of food, and utilize every bit of produce they receive. Myself, amongst other’s, share and appreciate this kind passion to the utmost degree. Yet in all honesty, the amount of food each shareholder receives is a portion of our produce, not a certain percentage of what we grow. While our members are certainly our primary consumers, the challenge for us is to sustain our CSA so that it continues for years to come. “Extras” in this sense, is unclaimed produce, and while we encourage people to utilize the share bin so that others can take home what is not claimed, we are doing our best to see that what we grow and provide is efficiently utilized.
Note: Next week we will be beginning “Buy a bucket” tomatoes. This means that members will be able to pick a 5 gallon bucket worth of tomatoes for $5. For non-members the cost will be $10. This will be held at the lower field. More information will be provided soon!