Instead of my weekly ramblings, I thought I’d give you all an insight into what it takes to get the CSA boxes from the farm to you all each week. It’s a week-long process that involves over 50 people on any given week. Yes, you read that correctly, over 50 people!
The process for the week begins Wednesday morning. Paul and Jerry begin scouting crops to see what they think will be ready for the following week. By Thursday morning, I have a list of potential items that can go in the shares. Sometimes there are a lot of options to choose from, and sometimes not so many. It really depends on the week and the forecasted weather.
Once I get the list, I spend some time in our warehouse deciding what can go in the box. This sounds quite simple, but it is rather challenging. I have to ensure that everything can actually fit in the box when it comes time to pack the shares on Tuesday mornings. It’s kind of like a real-life game of Tetris. The other challenging part of this is that not all produce is the same size. Some pieces are large, some are small. This all has to be taken into consideration when we are formulating the box for each week.
Ideally, I meet with Paul and Jerry on Friday mornings to finalize the list for the upcoming week. I say ideally, because this meeting sometimes takes place at 8am on a Friday, but sometimes it’s not until 8pm and occasionally it occurs through a few texts versus in person. Once I have a finalized list, I am able to put together the Saturday Sneak Peek email and get that scheduled to send out on Saturday morning.
I handle the front-facing customer work and the packing schedule, while Paul plans the harvesting schedule and crews. Harvest begins early Monday morning and often runs throughout the entire day. Monday morning is also the time I am sometimes notified a product we anticipated having enough of for the shares isn’t going to work, so I go back to the drawing board to come up with a solution. As soon as products are harvested, they come back to our packing shed in Waverly. Depending on the item, sometimes we have to wash and then portion out the product. For example, the beets in this week’s share were pulled and tops removed in the field and then placed in a bin. Those bins came back to our packing shed where I had a crew assemble the bags for each family share. Sometimes I have one packing crew on Monday, but typically there are 3-4 groups of 5-7 people prepacking and sorting items to ensure you are all getting the best of the best.
By the end of Monday, every item that is going into the shares is in our packing shed, typically in our cooler ready for Tuesday morning. Myself and our packing crews start around 2:00am on Tuesday mornings. Yes, you read that correctly 2am. On average, it takes 18-20 people to assemble all of the CSA shares on Tuesday mornings so we can get them on the trucks and on the road by 7am. Because we spend a substantial amount of time prepping on Mondays and have done all the Tetris work, typically packing is done within 4 hours, but each week brings different challenges.
Sometime between Monday and early Tuesday morning, I make sure to pull all of the delivery reports, print labels, do a final product count, ensure we have delivery drivers and write the newsletter and blog. I won’t lie, this blog and the newsletter is typically written around 3 or 4am on Tuesday mornings. It kind of brings me back to my college days when I’d stay up late to write papers. By 7am I make sure all of the trucks are loaded and on the road. I grab some breakfast and move onto other roles I have here at the farm. Tuesday afternoons and evenings are spent resolving any issues around missing shares, products, or quality issues. By Wednesday at noon, I am in full planning mode for the next week.
So, if you break it down, there are over 50 people that make it possible for fresh produce to make its way from our fields to your tables and a lot of logistics. We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible team of extremely dedicated employees. From our harvesters and packers to our delivery drivers and our office staff, everyone knows the end goal and everyone works extremely hard to ensure you all have an excellent CSA experience.
There you have it, a glimpse into the planning and execution lifecycle of our CSA program. If you have any questions, drop me an email and I’m happy to answer them for you!
Alright, let’s dive into the share for this week:
Sweet Corn: I have been a big fan of cutting the corn off the cob and making a stir fry each Tuesday night. Sweet corn, onion, and zucchini will make a great option tonight. I add some type of protein and call it a meal. Nothing glamorous, but it really is one of my favorite quick summertime meals.
Red Onions: One onion will be added to my Tuesday night stir fry and I will definitely slice and pickle the other onion. I love having pickled onions in the fridge so I can add them to salads, sandwiches, or even an afternoon snack with some cheese and crackers.
Zucchini: Stir fry and maybe even a batch of zucchini muffins. What do I do when im incredibly stressed at this time of year? Apparently, I bake! So, I’ll probably make a batch of Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins this weekend and share with my friends. You see, the baking is therapeutic, but I don’t always like eating it…so I share!
Beets: If I don’t roast these right away tonight, I probably won’t do it. So, as soon as I get home, I’ll wrap each beet in some tin foil and roast at 400 until soft. I let them cool, sometimes even overnight, and then I’ll peel and dice them so I can use on salads or just add them to any lunch or dinner throughout the week.
Tomatoes: BLTS are a staple at least one night a week in my house. The other tomatoes will be chopped up and served with some fresh basil. I’m not a huge pasta fan, but some adding some freshly chopped tomatoes and basil to pasta is another great way to enjoy the tomato bounty.
Basil: I will chop mine up and use most of it in its fresh state, but you can also make a batch of pesto as well! Pesto on pasta with some fresh chopped tomatoes would be a great dinner option this week. I’ve used this Quick and Easy Pesto recipe before and it turned out excellent!
Green Cabbage: This is probably the one thing im most excited for this week. The Ramen noodle salad shared in the newsletter is what I’ll be making. The salad will last all week and is perfect for lunches on the go. If you don’t have time to get to the cabbage this week, it will store well in your fridge for several weeks.
Carrots: I’ll save a couple of carrots for the Ramen Noodle salad im making this week, but I’ll roast the rest of the carrots with the beets tonight. Just like the beets, I add them to meals throughout the week. My theory is if I do the prep work right away on Tuesdays, I am much more likely to eat the vegetable later on in the week.
Cucumbers: I do nothing fancy with the cucumbers. I wash and slice for snacks or as a fresh vegetable option at dinnertime. Dipped in hummus, ranch, or even plain they are just so good. I only eat cucumbers in the summer because I think store bought ones in the winter taste funny.
There you go, week number 6! A lot of my ramblings for you all today, but I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to use everything in your share this week.