December 10th Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

VeggieLovers
A pickup in July!  Looks a little different these days.

Hi folks!

This is THE FINAL WEEK: Week 24 of our 24-week CSA!
Thank you for being along for the long haul.  We appreciate our full-season dedicated members the most of all!  You’re the local food heroes, who support local even when you have to make a weekly commitment for half the year and trudge through ice and snow to get to us!

Your newsletter is complete below, see you at the pickup tonight!  Jon is coming with me and it’s going to be COLD, so we’ll need lots of smiles and visits to keep us warm.  I literally am planning to wear my snow suit.


Pre-Orders are closed for the season!

Thank you to everyone who placed pre-orders this year!  It has turned into a significant part of what we do and I really enjoy it.  Will definitely be repeating that aspect of the CSA next year.


Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you should STOP READING NOW!!

 

Your December 10th Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Week23
Last week’s bag!

Pea Shoots, small tray
Carrots, 8 lbs UNWASHED*
Red Beets, 5 lbs UNWASHED*
Leeks, 2 lbs
Winter Squash, 1 large or a couple small ones, choice at pickup! (Choices will include Delicata, Winter Sweet Kabocha, Hubbard, Musque de Provence, Pink Banana, Red Kuri, Sunshine Kabocha, Buttercup)

THANK YOU for washing your own produce on the final week.  Unwashed veggies typically store better for longer, and it greatly reduces our workload for the final pickup.

You can click the links on the items above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season, storage tips, and lots more!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


Notes on the Veggies this week:

99befa2e-4128-4c70-af1c-56c0d3450106WE DID IT!  (To the tune of the Dora song, which is on repeat around here these days.)

We made it to Week 24!  Jon asked me if I remembered groaning on Week 1 about committing to half a year of weekly pickups, and I totally do.  But this year was absolutely, positively THE BEST year of Veggie Lovers’ Club ever!  A huge part of that is your positive attitudes, reliability on pickup days, communication with us, and excitement about the veggies and what we do.  So, THANK YOU!!  We are riding high after a fantastic year and will probably just float our way to CA after this.  (You know, or struggle and fight with our 2-1/2 year old, what are we thinking, lol!).

I haven’t been calculating the value of the bags lately because it’s been less about making sure we get you your full value than it’s been making sure we distribute all the crop excesses before the season ends!  It makes no sense to me to store 40 crates of Leeks and then eventually throw them away.  So, we doubled up the amounts the last couple deliveries, and we’re sitting in a perfect spot right now, there are only large squash left (for restaurant clients typically), 3 crates of Leeks, 1 bag of Celeriac and lots of carrots and beets (which will store just fine).

Feeling overwhelmed?  You very well might be.  One of the “things” we have to be careful about with CSA is not being too generous, even in crop abundance years.  The #1 reason people cite for leaving CSAs is “not making good enough use of the food”.  People know the effort that goes into growing the veg that we grow, and it really tears them up inside when it goes to waste on their clock.  If this is you, don’t despair!  Maybe you could share with a friend or neighbor if there’s more than you will use?  As someone who regularly “vegetables” people, let me tell you, people get really excited when you give them vegetables! Or, you can be decadent and throw away those leek tops with abandon, knowing that by accepting the leeks into your home you are saving them from eventual composting here.  You’re doing Teri a favor.  Thank you!

The “actual” value of this week’s bag is $48!!  (Your cost was $25).  We always beef up the final bag a bit so it can carry you into the future a while.  So, I hope you enjoy some of our veggies into the New Year!  (FYI, I’m totally traveling with veggies.  I’m a veggie snob and there won’t be any good markets until we get closer to our destination.)

Need resources for growing the tray of Pea Shoots at home?  They’re right here, on our Pea Shoot Page in the Veggie Guide!

How to wash carrots and beets: In the winter, all of the veg gets washed at the kitchen sink.  This year we got a laundry tub to make life a bit easier, but in the past when we used the actual plumbed-in sink, we would always try to first scrape all the mud and dirt off of the veggie into the compost, trim both ends, and then soak for 15 minutes in room temperature water.  Use a brush or a scrubby cloth to scrub clean.  Dry thoroughly (on the counter on a towel, you may need to flip them once) and then store in a plastic bag with a couple of holes in it in the fridge.

You probably don’t want to put ALL that mud down your sink, but I also know that we think about plumbing differently out here.  If it backs up it’s our problem!

8 lbs Carrots and 5 lbs Beets is a nice big portion for you to store for a while in your fridge. People ask all the time the best place to store veggies, the easiest answer is always the fridge.  It’s temperature controlled and so it’s not like your garage or porch where you might find the right climate for a while, and then forget and find a bunch of frozen disappointing carrots later.  Squash likes it warm, it will rot in the cold!  Leeks should be completely wrapped up, even the tops, and stored in the fridge.  The Pea Shoots can be cut and regrown, or just cut them and compost the container and store the shoots in the fridge if you don’t want to bother with regrowing!


Some Results from the 2019 Veggie Lovers’ Club Survey

img_3739
Jon washing Celeriac this weekend

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and score the lists of “Less of/More of”, but based on just reading through the surveys, they seem really balanced.  In any year you’ll get the same answers for both question!  i.e. Some people say too many carrots and others say not enough.  If that happens we know we’re doing well, keeping everyone happy all the time isn’t possible!

I tried to drill down to some topics of interest this year and I was pleased that you are most interested in Recipe Kits (like Hello Fresh) and Farm to Fork Dinners.  I am really good at planning stuff, and I secretly hoped we could host a Farm to Fork Dinner next year, so we are going to try it out and see how it goes!  More info to come next summer!

The Recipe Kits, well, I’ll probably reach out to some friends in the nutrition realm, and I will definitely be asking those of you who indicated interest what that looks like to you.  Because I’ve never used one and I want to make sure we check all your boxes if we’re going to try it!  So, watch for an upcoming feedback survey asking for more detail about that!

img_1615The third most votes was the plastic issue.  Don’t even get me started on that one!  All I will say is that the support and tech isn’t yet there for it to make sense for us to switch to compostable packaging yet, and Brandon doesn’t have the facility to deal with the commercially compostable PLA materials yet anyway.  It’s not like we can just buy plant-based plastic bags for commercial use, they don’t exist yet in a readily available, cost efficient form yet.  But know that I am staying informed of this issue and always looking for ways to improve what we do.  As a whole, our single use plastic bag consumption isn’t very much.  I can fit all the boxes of plastic bags we used this year into a single armload. There are certain crops where a bag of some sort is essential: no bag, no salad mix! There are definitely other areas on the farm where our petroleum-based plastics consumption is a larger issue, ie the drip tape we use for irrigation.  Again, no water, no vegetables!

But we’re going to make a vote with our Shoots’ Program, and use compostable plant-based packaging for that program.  I’ve had to make the customers bear the cost of that one as we can’t add any expense to our Shoots Program as it has too narrow of margins as it is.  If no one tries to switch, then what’s the incentive to manufacturers to come up with solutions?  We’re going to try it out and hope that more innovations come to a point where we have appropriate options.  The extra $20 on the Shoots Program this year will cover your 8 weeks of compostable PLA containers, which can be reused at home or thrown in the garbage where they will definitely break down sooner than petroleum-based plastics.  It’s a baby step in the right direction for now.

All of the Quantity/Value/Quality metric on the survey was “excellent” or “good”, and same for the pickup spot.  One lonely person prefers a pickup until 6:30 pm — so if that would also be better for you, please reach out!  I prefer to get home sooner than that, as I often have to pick up Myrah from my Mom’s after.  But if a few people prefer it I’m happy to extend the time and sort out the back end of life.  Right now, most of the pickups are clustered at the beginning so I’m not thinking this later window is needed by most of you!

I will post a summary of all the results sometime in the next 6 weeks on our blog, once I have a chance to sit down and look closely at them!  I do this for myself in future years, but also for anyone who is interested, so check back if you are!


img_3752Teri’s 10 Topics Blog Series #10: Why we do this and the path forward

This week’s post is a bit of a summary and looking forward to next year.  We had an amazing year and we are looking forward to a great year in 2020, our 20th year of business!

Thank you for being part of our community!


img_3722.jpgOk, Veggie Lovers, that was a long one this week and probably took more time than I have today, but it’s hard to say goodbye so I’m stalling!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Shoots Program, which starts in March, if you’re interested!

See you tonight, looking forward to it — and until next year, Veggie Lovers!!

Teri 🙂

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