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In this article I want to speak to our awesome and amazing CSA members, whom we love, appreciate and are dedicated to by answering the age-old question:

“Why are there sometimes a limited number of items available to the CSA, and better yet, why are some of the items available only for the Farmer’s Market, or for Extra’s (at the CSA drops) while they aren’t available as part of the CSA?"

Great question!  To answer this question I will do my best to first give you a background and then second, I will break down the multiple reasons that this is so. I will do my best, and I hope my answer makes sense. If it doesn’t, please feel free to reach out for clarification!

First and foremost, in answering this question we must understand the dedication we have to our CSA members, exclusively and above all else!  In light of this, we must also recognize that in dedicating ourselves to our CSA members, fairness is our utmost priority for all of our members. Now, with that in mind, let’s dig in.

1.      In order to perform a consistent harvest week, after week throughout a 46 week year we must be dialed-in.  One who has experience working with plants, has gardened or who has ever operated a farm, or worked for one, understands the extreme complexities of what we do.  Not only must we plant at the right time to harvest that specific crop within 7-10 days, but this is in spite of the weather, the positioning of the gardens relative to light, the time of year and many other conditions (like weeds, bugs etc).  To do this is nothing short of a miracle and to be consistent doing it over the years is straight-up almost science fiction stuff! 😊  So, for starters, no matter how much we try, it’s nearly impossible to do perfectly, but what we do come up with from week to week never fails to impress me and the team.  So, in short, having that perfect variety, or that perfect sized harvest just is beyond the scope of reality (especially when growing in Peyton Colorado!).

2.      With the given number of CSA members that we have, in order to provide both a variety, and consistency for our members week in and week out is a very difficult task and it’s is absolutely impossible to perform both without wasting hundreds of pounds of food – never mind labor, seed etc. Let me explain…

3.      Imagine we have 200 members (which we do) and we want to provide everyone with the opportunity to get one-each of every item we grow.  Since we have no idea what people would like to choose we are subject to either the members being forced to take exactly what we grow and having absolutely no choice, while at the same time remaining within the same eating pattern (the exact same vegetables) for weeks on end until new crops come in.  This means that for 200 members to get exactly 10 items (let’s say), then we would have to harvest 2,000 items, and ensure that each of the ten varieties get exactly 200 bunches per week (as explained above, this is impossible to perform consistently week after week due to the variables).  This would mean that the members would have no choice in what they get, and since we have Small, Medium and Large shares, it doesn’t work out to 2,000 items.  With our current mix of members it works out to an average of about 8 items per member, with the smalls getting 4-6, the mediums getting 7-9 and the larges getting 10-12.  This works out to 1,600 items per week.  This therefore, reduces the variety we can grow to only 8 items (1600 items divided by 200 members = 8 varieties)…I don’t know about you, but this would be a pretty boring CSA share…especially considering that the variety wouldn’t change much per week! 

4.      Now, considering what you just read this about this:  sometimes we don’t get a harvest, sometimes we get too much of one item and other times we get just a few items that come available that week. Imagine again that we only harvest 30 bunches of carrots this week (which we did this week) and you see them on the Farmer’s Market tables, but do not see them on the CSA table.  One might think to themselves,“Hey, that’s not fair, I paid for a CSA share and I should have access to those carrots…why am I not getting them and I have to buy them?”  All fair, and those thoughts are things we wrestle with every-single day!  But here is the breakdown.  Why do we provide them to the market table and “extras” table and not the CSA?  Because carrots are the #1 most beloved of our crops (and we have others that are similar in demand) and we have to make a choice:  Either we A. provide them to the CSA members and watch them disappear within 5 minutes of the line forming, or B. we provide them to the Market stand and allow all the members who really, really need them that week the opportunity to buy them.  We usually choose “B.” in light of being the most fair opportunity we can think of. 

Now, I know that was probably a lot to chew on, but the bottom line is that in light of making the most-fair choice that we can for our members, this is the avenue we decide to take.  We obviously aim to provide carrots, or kale, or lettuce or any of the other “favorites” week after week to our members, but even this is not possible.  To promote a wide-range of variety every week to all of our members and to give everyone inclusion and to provide the fairest options as possible is our goal.  We may not be perfect in providing the perfect mix of crops or the perfect blend of fairness at all times to all of our members…but it’s our goal, it’s our desire and it’s our absolute die-hard resolution to continue to work as hard as we can to get better week after week, month after month, season after season and year after year! 

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it was enlightening to you and helped you understand why we do some of the things we do! 


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