Our CSA: What it takes to ensure success
Each Tuesday you receive a box of fresh produce either at your workplace or a convenient place near your home. An assortment of farm fresh, locally grown produce is at your fingertips for the week. How does it all go together though? Let me give you a snapshot of the CSA program as a whole and how everyone at Untiedt's works together to make the shares possible each week.
1. We have over 60 drop off/pick up locations associated with the CSA program. Before the season even begins we must work to coordinate all logistics to ensure successful delivery for 17 weeks.
2. Promotion and Registration: Our team works all winter to visit drop sites and inform potential customers about the program and our farming practices. This process is truly never ending and we appreciate any opportunity we have to connect with our customers.
3. During the winter months, planting schedules are developed, crops and varieties selected and seeds/plants are ordered.
4. Sundays during the CSA season are spent evaluating what crops will be ready for the CSA share each week. Much time goes into this process to ensure that we have enough to harvest in order to fill all shares. Although we may plant what we think is more than enough to fill shares, things such as weather events or loss to insects may change our plan. We have to learn to be pretty flexible.
5. Harvest begins Monday mornings for CSA contents. Crops are harvested, cleaned, and are packed into size appropriate packages. Often times we have 2-3 crews of 8-10 people harvesting and preparing the produce to be put into shares Tuesday mornings.
6. Tuesday mornings begin at 3am. A crew of 15 work together to pack all CSA shares. This is a process that can be very complex, but our staff is dedicated to ensuring that each box is packed with high quality produce. Yes, occasionally there is a mixup, but we do our best to always correct the problem.
7. By 8am, 7 delivery drivers leave the farm to deliver their shares. These individuals are responsible for getting your shares to the correct location and labeling the boxes. Lists are prepared for each drop site and these drivers ensure all shares are where they need to go.
8. Now what hasn't been touched upon is the work that goes into growing the crops. We have a phenomenal staff of individuals that return year after year to work with us. Through the use of an H2A agricultural visa program, we have employees from all over the world joining our team. These individuals are responsible for tending to the crops. With guidance from experienced crew leaders, Farmer Jerry, Craig, and Paul, these are the people who really make the CSA work. Farming is a 24 hour a day job, we can't stop at 4pm on a Friday and call it quits for the weekend. We work around the clock from May-October to ensure that our customers are receiving the highest quality produce available.
By no means does this cover everything that goes into farming, but hopefully helps you to understand what it takes to run the CSA program and the farm in general. We could not do what we do without the dedication of each one of our employees. Our entire staff puts in a lot of hours each summer and we are happy to do so in order to provide locally grown produce to so many people. Thank you all for your support during the 2016 season and we are already looking for the 2017 season.