Our First Week of CSA!
After many weeks of anticipation, nervous sweats, tears, blood, sweat, and hope... CSA Week One finally arrived. Phew! We did it! I eventually knew we would get here, and while I was not sure if success was in our favor, thankfully it was. The vegetables were beautiful and tasty. Hooray! The garden? Well, it's still weedy. Thankfully one of our members made the statement, "Is it just the three of you farming this?!" and I felt a little better. I just cannot do it all, but what I can do is provide delicious food that is free of pesticides, grown with clean practices, and cleaned safely. I can do that! All in all it was a great first share, and I loved getting to meet all of our members in person. What nice people! I love Iowa.
Our dreams for the first CSA pick-up were definitely different from reality. Thankfully the vegetables were there! What was missing was our general store. Oops! Life just kind of got in the way with that one, unexpected costs popped up everywhere (like getting a new car - bleh), and start up costs were a little higher than we anticipated. Such is life and business, right? That's okay. We knew that even though our little farm store would not be complete in time for the first few weeks of CSA, that it would eventually come around, and we could substitute that space with our market tents. Well... that didn't work out either this week because it poured rain all the first day and turned into 97 degrees the next. What the heck!
It was actually a blessing in disguise with the rain because we left our greens out in the mist, and they were the freshest I have ever seen them! So crisp and cool like at the grocery store. It was actually really fun! In case you've never harvested lettuce/kale/leafy greens before they need to be dunked in water at least 10 degrees colder than the field immediately afterwards (preferably ice water), cleaned out, shaken and removed of excess water, and placed in the cooler. At market, they have to be kept on ice (on a hot day, which is most of the time) and consistently misted all day to keep them from wilting. It's a process. The rain helped a ton. Cool, misty, and crisp!
We placed out little farm sign out on Wednesday night and high-fived in the driveway. Even though the "general store" part didn't exist yet, the farm did, and that's what mattered! It was a sign to help push us along for the next steps. We will most likely be putting up a "coming soon" portion underneath for the upcoming weeks because we've already had a few curious people stop in. Sorry, friends! We're almost there!
Our CSA customers walked up the drive and to the farmhouse this week to collect their goods: three pounds of smoked bacon, breakfast sausage, kale, Swiss card, lettuce heads, salad mix, arugula, scallions, radishes, peas, baby beets, and an herb bundle of cilantro, basil, sage, thyme, and mint. Delicious!
We decided early on that it would be a nice addition to add an arrangement or bouquet of flowers, depending on what we had available, for each shareholder. Patting ourselves on the back for that one because it just leaves such a smile on everyone's face. This past week they brought home arrangements with zinnias, sunflowers, and some cuttings from other wildflowers and bushes around the farm. The little berry stems are actually aronia berries not yet matured!
It was such a good feeling, even better than going to the farmer's markets, to see our produce go into everyone's reusable bags and off to their kitchens. I loved hearing how our members wanted to eat better, to learn the recipes on our blog, to find new ways to cook these veggies in their kitchens. I hoped that they would! It's such a pleasure to create a network for such a soulful thing to other people. Food truly comes from the heart and soul! I love growing it, and I love being able to send it off with others. The passion lives on! I cannot wait for pick-up this Friday to do it all over again.
If you'd like to learn more about our CSA program, click here. We just started a brand new program today, as well, called the Happy Neighbor Produce Bundle. Each week, we will share a few fresh vegetable and meat bundles to the general public. Instead of having vegetables here and there, these boxes will be planned and can be picked up on Fridays from 3PM-7PM here at the farm. They are similar to our CSA boxes, but may not have everything in them that is the same. They will have meat when available but not all of the time - it's a week-by-week basis. Orders will open Monday (they are open now! click here) until they sell out. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!