[Market-farming] Re: Weird Veggies

Lucy Goodman goodows at infinet.com
Tue Nov 11 05:32:33 EST 2003


we have thought about providing grains in the past but few of our 
members would know how to deal with the grains. We do not have the 
facilities to grind it into flour nor know of any place within 100 miles 
that could this for us. We do offer dried beans and pop corn, though the 
past two years have been failures on the dried bean front. we have 
thought about offering dent corn but again most of our members would 
have no clue what to do with it other than to use as decoration.

We try and stay away from too many weird veggies. I feel a share should 
have lots of staples like carrots, onions, potatoes, garlic-things that 
are used in about every dish one would cook. if you include such things 
than the members are less likely to have to go to Kroger's to buy food.

I also have noticed too many strange things leads to food guilt. Even 
with recipes many members still are unable to use many new things. I try 
to keep new introductions to one a week that way members don't have too 
many new things to learn to deal with.

One thing that I have noticed keeps them coming back is fruit in the 
shares. This year I have managed to provide between 2 and 5 fruit items 
(last week we had strawberries, cantaloup from a hoophouse, tomatoes 
(also from a hoophouse), apples and pears. These items truly excite our 
members.

We have thought about providing meat and eggs to members but have found 
most do not want to buy such items through the CSA. we offer them as an 
extra subscription. In the past we did offer such items as a part of the 
share but lost lots of money because we priced the meat and eggs way too 
low and discovered that in order to make some profit on meat and eggs 
through the CSA the cost would have to be higher than what most people 
around here are comfortable paying and it turns out at least half our 
members are either vegetarian or vegan and do not want meat and eggs 
anywhere near their share. Like others we have found there are many 
local organic/sustainable farmers raising all sorts of grains, meats, 
dairy, etc. and we tell members and other customers to use these local 
growers as well as us. I don't think it is feasible for an average small 
farm to provide ALL the food for a community.

One though about member drop off. I think it is a lot like when people 
join a health club and are all excited at first about going to the gym 
and getting in shape but after a few weeks or months the excitement 
fades and the person visits the gym less and less often until, 
eventually, they drop out. Lots (most?) of people join a CSA because it 
is the PC thing to do, not because they are really looking for an 
alternative way to procure food (the people who join for this reason are 
members who "get it"). They like the idea of supporting local farms and 
getting organic food. But they are not really cognizant that the CSA can 
and should replace a lot of their spending at more conventional venues 
such as Kroger's. They see the whole CSA thing as a way of fitting in 
with their green peers-people who talk the talk but don't really walk 
the walk. i figure at least 50% of new CSA members annually fit this 
description.

Lucy Goodman
Boulder Belt Organics
New Paris, OH
Check out the Boulder Belt website:
http://www.angelfire.com/oh2/boulderbeltcsa
"There is no way to peace---peace is the way."
A.J. Muste




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