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Friday, October 18, 2013

How a Season Feels and Share Value Report

This past Tuesday, I woke up and rushed down to the barn to grab the harvest log and meet with the crew in my usual, beginning-of-the-week frenzy.  I pulled a new sheet out from the log book and as I began to write the harvest list, remembered that we didn’t need those 200 heads of lettuce, or 150 bunches of carrots.  It was our first Tuesday since May that we didn’t need to load the truck up with hundreds of pounds of produce for the distribution ahead.  For most of the season, our week on the farm is organized according to the rhythm of the harvests, of the distributions, of the times when you begin arriving at the barn to collect the week’s bounty.  Without that deadline, my Tuesday morning energy lost a little steam and I let out a small chuckle to my crew, who were, at that moment, probably wondering why I came into the office like a steam roller, ready to get out to the fields! 

It’s taken me a few days to adjust to this shift from summer CSA to winter CSA, but I am getting there.  Our crew, now just our five full-time farmers, head out to the fields each day to pick thousands or pounds of roots, take down hundreds of row feet of tomato stakes, and process the last of our shallots, onions and garlic, cleaning and sorting and weighing until the light becomes dim in the barn.  As we work on our hands and knees in the cooling fall soil, spread a good distance from each other, I can take good, long breaths in between pulling each potato from its dark, moist, hiding spots and think about the 2013 summer season.

At this time every year, I am reminded that the value of our CSA goes beyond our “share value report.”  Powisset Farm means something different to each of us.  For some, it is simply a place to get local, organic vegetables.  For others it is a place to connect with your friends once a week, while picking cherry tomatoes in the field together.  For others, it is a place to let your children run free in the flower garden and watch your littlest ones walk their first few steps.  For some of us, it is where we learn to farm, or drive tractors, or eat swiss chard for the first time.   

I love writing the share report because it allows us all the opportunity to compare how we felt about the season with what was actually provided to you up in the barn and out in the fields.  I always wonder, does the share report change how you feel about your farm season?  Does it seem surprising?  This season we focused on providing variety without overwhelming you.  We did our best to offer some choices, while staying true to our model of a CSA, where we encourage you to try new things.  We worked hard to offer extras in the stand, like honey, eggs, yogurt, cheese and pies that would make your stop at Powisset even more fulfilling.  

Every season has its joys and its challenges.  This season we had a great onion and leek crop and were able to offer alliums almost every week in the share.  We had beautiful carrots that almost lasted all the way through the season.  Our tomatoes were delicious and plentiful, without making your house too overfilled with the beauties.  Our lettuce crop was OK, but our hope is to do more small lettuce mixes and more consistent head varieties next season.  As usual, we want to do better at growing spinach and other greens, while making sure you are not overwhelmed with cooking greens you don’t want.  For me, our spring festival, summer potluck and volunteer drop-in afternoons were joyful highlights that reminded me that there is more to this farm than growing great vegetables.

What were your joys?  What was challenging to you about our CSA season? Please feel free to share with me your feedback about this 2013 growing season.  This is our farm that we are creating together and as we move into the planning phase for next season, we hope to incorporate your thoughts!  (please get in touch with me via email at: if you want to share your experience).

Thank you all for another great summer season at Powisset Farm.  You all make this farm the wonderful place that it is.  I am lucky to work these fields and fill this barn with food that feeds us all. 

I hope to see you next season or at our winter markets!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew
(I will be continuing to update the blog weekly through the end of the year, and then monthly in the winter months)

Powisset Farm 2013 Share Value Report

Our 2013 farm season ran for 19 weeks, beginning on June 4th and ending on October 12th.  
The value of the share distributed at the barn (not including pick-your-own crops) was $625.48.
That is an average of $33 per week of Powisset veggies, not including PYO crops.
Including PYO crops, the value of our farm share this season was $825.73! 

We compiled our share data by tracking the amount given each week in the share multiplied by the price of each vegetable.  In our report you may see a range or a fraction of a bunch given—this represents when a vegetable was part of a choice—maybe you could choose between kale or swiss chard, we would enter that in our records as distributing a half bunch of each item. 

As you can see, we exceeded the amount that you paid for your share!  Each season, we strive to provide you with the produce that you paid for (this season our share price for TTOR members was $590) and maybe a little more.  Our produce is grown in accordance with all organic standards and growing practices and our prices are set based in comparison to organic and conventional prices at nearby supermarkets, farmers’ markets prices and neighboring CSA prices, also taking into consideration the cost of running our farm.  This season, in response to your feedback, we strove to provide you with a well-rounded bounty each week that would feel plentiful without being overwhelming.

Our report below shows you how much of each item you received during the 2013 season:


Units distributed to each share:
Price per unit:
Value in share:
6 bunches
5.5 bunches
8.5 bunches
3.5 pounds
10.5 pounds
4-6 heads
2.5 pounds
10 bunches
1.5 pounds
1.5 bunch
Chard (not in pyo)
3-4 bunches
3 bunches
1 bunch
2 dozen (1/2 dozen for four weeks)
12.5 pounds
15.5 pounds
1-2 heads
2-3 bunches
Green Garlic
1 bunch
5 bulbs
Garlic Scapes
3 dozen
Specialty Greens bunches/heads (tatsoi, mizuna, broccoli raab, bulls blood, komatsuna, bok choi)
12 bunches/heads
$2.50/bunch or head
Hakurei turnips
9 bunches
8.5 bunches (not including pyo)
2-3 bunches
3-5 bunches
23 heads
$2.50/ head
Lettuce mix
1.5 pounds
Melons (watermelons)
2 pieces
Onions -loose
7.5 pounds
Onions -bunched
3.5 bunches
Peppers, bell (green, colorful, sweet)
10 pounds
Peppers, hot (not in pyo)
1 pound
2 ears
15 pounds
1 pieces
Purple Top Turnips
3 pounds
6-8 bunches
1.5 pounds
7 bunches
3.5 pounds
Summer squash
16.5 pounds
Sweet potatoes
6 pounds
2.5 pounds
27 pounds
Winter squash
8.5 pounds

Total share Value without Pick-your-own:


The total value of PYO crops offered was $200.25.  That is an average of $10.50 per week over 19 weeks.  We know that you didn’t always make it out to the fields to participate in the pick-your-own part of our CSA, so you probably didn’t take home all $200.25 worth of PYO produce this season.  But, most of you spent time picking and we are proud to have a CSA that continues to provide the opportunity for you and your friends and family to get your hands dirty, find joy in picking your favorite bean, and bending low to get that last pint of husk cherries.

 Below is our Pick-your-own report for 2013:

PYO crop
Units Distributed
Price per unit
Value in Share
Bush beans
4.5 quarts
10 bunches
Cherry tomatoes
10-13 bunches
Fava beans
2 quarts
Hot peppers
4 pints (roughly 30 pieces)
Husk cherries
6 pints
8 bunches
6 pints
6 pints
Flowers (including sunflowers)
12 bouquets
$3/small bouquet
Popcorn Stalks
Up to 25

Herbs from herb garden

3 pints

Total Value PYO Crops:


Total Share Value:

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