On The Farm- July 5
A typical day for me involves twelve to fourteen hours of work. I wake up as the sky brightens, sometimes before the rooster expels his first crow and I move through my list for the day. I check off many things, though rarely complete my list. My day ends, as I shut the chickens in for the night and as the sun calls in the last few stray rays of light.
In lieu of my long hours, the structure and rules of the CSA and distribution etiquette are very important to me. It may not seem like a big deal to arrive a half hour late to distribution, but after working for 14 hours, I am ready to pack up the distribution area at 7 and move on to my evening chores. Early arrivals cut into my work time and may result in the member missing out on produce or key information about that weeks share. I love my time spent in the barn laughing with members, sharing cooking ideas, talking about the farm and our lives. I take time out of the field to interact with members directly. I am there so you can know me and know about your food. I am also there so you can ask questions.
Every week I seek the ultimate distribution balance- just enough produce harvested for members, with some left for me and the food pantry and the chickens- but not too much left over. I have a pocket notebook specifically devoted to this. The night before distribution, I prepare. I load harvesting lugs and my knife into the truck, and I plan what amount I will pick. I leaf back and look at what I harvested the week before and how much was left over after distribution. I can also look at last year’s harvest book to inform my picking list. I like to think I harvest pretty well each week, though sometimes you may see me running down to the field for more.
You can help me reach a better distribution balance, by letting me know what you want more of. Tell me if you are limiting yourself, because you don’t think there are many cabbages. Ask if I have more of something you want- I may have more harvested already in another container, or there may be more in the field that I can go get, or I that may simply be all I have for the week. But, If you never ask or take as much as you want and I have left over each week- I will never know to harvest more. When crops are scarce, I will put a limits on (though I try to do this as little as possible), and the limits are important to follow- if you ignore a limit or misunderstand it, someone may be left without. If you don’t understand the limit, just ask. The answers will be different each week with each crop, but these are precisely the questions I am in the distribution area to answer.
Also, please be conscious of your bag. I don’t mind a nice plump bag, or a few long greens emerging from the top, but we are a community of shares, dividing the produce, not trying to cram as much as we can into one bag. If you are sharing your share and find you and your share mate stuffing your bag, drilling root veggies down the side, it may be time to think about getting your own share.
The most basic distribution etiquette is to be conscious of your community while taking your share and to communicate your needs and wishes so that you are satisfied with your share. I am looking forward to an even better distribution balance this week and please let me know if you have any questions!