2018 CSA Cancellation We have to done one of the HARDEST things we ever had to do since starting this farm back in 2011. We have cancelled the last 3 weeks of our CSA. Right from the get go we had a super shakey start to the season. Optimistically, we thought it would all come together...but it never really did.
What Happened? Where Did It Go Wrong? We feel like it was a seemingly impossible combination of things that really brought us down. The weather was certainly our heaviest burden of the 2018 season. This was the shorest growing season we have experienced on our farm with atleast 45 days less than previous years. The season was marked with multiple early frosts, little rain, and extreme heat. These things alone are tough but together they completely confuse crops causing them to be stunted. We have hundreds of brussesls sprouts, cabbages, kale, etc just sitting in the field that look like they stopped growing weeks after they were transplanted. We seeded & transplanted 3 times as much as we usually do and ended up with half of our usual harvest.
Differences, Are Just That - Different. Even as I write this I still can't believe this has happened and I can't imagine how tough it is for people not in this industry to fully understand what has happened. You may hear conflicting things from farms around the province but keep in mind each farm operates differently, has different practices, different levels of experience, different resources and structures. This doesn't mean a farmer is trying to fool you. For instances, there are lots of farm that had a horrible winter squash harvest due to the shortness of the season, pest pressure, etc. Our farm on the other hand had an amazing harvest but we also don't have as big of a cucumber beetle problem and lay hay around our squash plants which helps retain soil moisture and surpress weeds. We also lucked out this year with our crop rotation, which meant our squash had to be planted in the shadest part of our field. Any other year this may have been to our disadvantage but since the season was so hot we lucked out. You never can tell what the future holds, all you can do is hope!
How Are We Moving Forward? We need to restructure our farm to enable to get more done and efficiently. One thing is building a better irrigation system on our farm. The one we have now is much to small, inefficent and sometimes unproductive! Another thing we have decided is to move our 2019 CSA over to WFM2GO. Instead of paying ourseleves for delivery and admin we will share this with a group of people who do it best! This will free up a significant amount of time for us and allow us to focus more on the hands on part of farming. Another investment we'd like to make on our farm is getting some landscape fabric for certain crops such as melons. Lastly, we are going to focus on growing more intenstively during the main growing season and less on the fringes of the seasons. For our farm the fringes of the season aren't as profitable and this may simply due to our skill level as well as how much money we have to invest into season extentsion.
We did all we could in 2018 and we never stop making our CSA number one priority on the farm and that's the truth!