Behind the Scenes at Muddy Boots
We are providing this look behind the scenes so that you can have a better understanding of how shares are assembled, why you might not get what we listed in the share newsletter and what it takes to make Muddy Boots CSA hum.
The Weekend Before
During the CSA season, planning for the coming week starts the weekend before pick-up. That is when the farmers begin planning out the share for the coming Wednesday.
Despite copious and detailed planning at the beginning of the season by Aaron, Jon and Justin, the weather has the final say in what is ripening up when. So our three heros discuss what is at peak and ready for picking the coming week. They also talk about what items might work well together in the share (for example chili’s, tomatillos, onions and cilantro for a southwestern twist one week).
Justin at Burnt Rock Farm is the mastermind for the shares. He keeps a detailed spreadsheet that tracks the value of each item each week and also keeps a running total from week to week. This is what helps assure that the CSA is a win-win for our members and the farmers. Once Justin decides on the tentative large and small share he forwards the information onto Robin who starts working on the weekly newsletter.
What’s a Tentative Share??
Until the veggies are harvested on Tuesday, Justin doesn’t know exactly what will be in the share. There have been times that strawberries planned for the week ended up disintegrating on the vines due to multiple days of rain. In other cases, conditions have been perfect for a bumper crop of early corn and members find it in the share even though it wasn’t listed in the newsletter.
Early Tuesday Morning
On Tuesday morning members receive the weekly email newsletter. The newsletter includes a listing of what the tentative share is, an update from the farmers on what is happening in their fields and recipes and storage tips.
Wednesday Morning is like Grand Central Station
Wednesday mornings are very busy at Kingsbury Farm with trucks from the other two farmers coming and going. In between deliveries, the pick-up coordinator is hustling to transform the wash house into the pick-up area in anticipation of the first members who will be arriving at noon to get their shares.
Because of this organized chaos, we are unable to have people come in early to get their shares. In some cases, if a farmer is running late, we may not even have all of the items until just before pick-up officially starts! Please do not come to the farm early to pick-up your veggies unless you have submitted a Share Holding Request Form for early pick-up. More on this later.
Wednesday During Pick-Up
Pick-Up is Noon to 6:30pm. We tend to get a rush of members between noon and 1pm and then a steady stream throughout the rest of the day. Traffic really slows down after 6pm and this is why we close down the CSA at 6:30pm.
Wednesday at 6:30pm
It has been a LONG day! At this point the pick-up coordinator has to put away any remaining produce, pack-up any requests for shares to be held and transform the wash house back into production space for the next day. Unclaimed produce will be packed for pick-up by Community Harvest of Central Vermont, an organization that gleans excess produce from CSAs and market growers and donates it to food shelves, senior centers and schools.
If you forget to pick-up your share or are unable to pick it up one week, it will not go to waste!
Kingsbury Farm is humming again with important farm work. If you requested your share to be packed and held, it will be in the walk-in cooler. There is no need to find Aaron or Tonya to help you get the share. Walk in through the door to the pick-up area and walk directly to the door against the back wall. This is the walk-in cooler. Your share will be in a bag marked with your name.
If you forgot to pick-up your share on Wednesday, you can stop by the farm and pick up one of the extra shares we packed up on Wednesday. We are only packing up a few extra shares so it will be first-come, first-served.