Feb
25
    
Posted (Lori) in News

Sorry it’s taken so long to post the survey results.

I’ve already passed this on the Debbie and she’ll try to address the issues we raised. If anyone would like to comment, please post on our website. I do think that there is always room for improvement, and the survey offered a few items on which many of us seemed to agree. It would be nice to get a dialogue going so that we can present Debbie with as much useful feedback as possible.

Overall:

The rating averaged 4.3. I think this is about accurate, a very good year but not a great one. I thought there were some significant negatives—but most of them were caused by weather, and there are always going to be items that are killed by nature.

Specifically:

-The tomatoes were not great; a cold snap in the early season caused those big white cores. We asked about this during the summer, and Deb acknowledged that some of the varieties chosen last year were not cold-tolerant. The Kavakoses are looking for other varieties.

–The early weeks were too full of greens/lettuces and (other than the kohlrabi) there was nothing solid. We know that greens fill most of the early shares, but this was extreme. I was told that the Kavakoses did plant radishes, those wonderful spring turnips, and a few other early crops—but they were killed by that same cold snap.

–So few winter squash, and so few varieties. This was another casualty of the cold weather in the spring; thousands of seedlings for the wonderful squash we usually get—delicata, pumpkins, sweet dumplings, carnival—were destroyed. They replanted, but only the fastest, hardiest squash made it to harvest.

These problems probably won’t happen again—but there’s always something. And there are always some vegetables that are better and more plentiful than expected (the string beans, eggplants, kale, and winter turnips, for example).

Quality:

Rating average was 4.4, with 3 responses at 3, 24 at 5. Most responses mentioned the tomatoes.

One person mentioned carrots being woody and not very sweet and I agree; the early carrots were very good, but by the end of the season, they were pretty fibrous.

No one mentioned the celery, which I didn’t like as celery, though it made wonderful soup.

Several people mentioned wilting, which is an ongoing problem, but not one that the farmers can solve. Other than a few instances, our food looks great when it comes off the truck. Wilting occurs because our site is outdoors—sun and wind cause the moisture in the vegetables to evaporate. I think we did a pretty good job of keeping the vegetables sprayed with water—especially the kids—but some of those 98-degree days did us in. We also tried to keep some of the vegetables in the church vestibule until they were needed. We’ll try harder and we’ll ask for everyone’s help in keeping the vegetables out of the sun, possibly experimenting with shade cloth that can be lifted as we pick up our shares. The other possibility is moving to an indoor site—but this site is so wonderful in other ways that I think it’s a last resort. I’m interested in hearing other opinions on this subject.

Quantity:

Rating average: 4.5

Interesting results: people who have been members for many years noted that quantity has dropped in recent years and that is certainly true. I’ve talked to the Kavakoses about this many times—they say that people very often say they are not re-registering because they are overwhelmed by the quantity of each share. Hard for me to understand that—I usually finish mine before the weekend. But I see their dilemma—if people feel overwhelmed, there’s no point in sending more. I’m going to suggest that they experiment by sending a couple of crates of optional “extras”  (the way they do with the hot peppers)—let’s see if we can get more food to people who can use it.

Variety; I define this as the way our shares are composed, how often we get different vegetables

Rating average: 4.1

Variety was the issue on which most people commented. I have passed on suggestions and Deb is working on them. To summarize, we asked for:

–More winter squash varieties—as noted above, the scarcity of squash varieties was due to crop failure; in other years, this has been one our high points.

–More Lettuce/salad later in season; several of us asked for this, and it’s always been one of the things I wanted most. It’s hard to grow lettuce in the summer—but not impossible. There are some varieties that tolerate heat.

–Different kinds of greens; we love the ones we get—but what about radicchio, broccoli rabe, tatsoi, arugula (we got a little at the end, but I would like to get it every week) and others

–Broccoli—We almost always run out of broccoli. No one mentioned it, but I know that people want more.

–More celeriac—we ran out this year on the two nights when we got it.

–Corn—The Kavakoses have tried to grow it, but it doesn’t do well without some pesticides. Maybe a separate share for people who are willing to take it from other farms that are not organic

–Seedless cucumbers

–Sweet potatoes

–Celery

–More kale varieties

–Genovese basil—I know some people like the purple, lemon, and other varieties, But several members—including me—want more of the plain, large, green-leaf basil

–Zucchini blossoms; nasturtiums

–Dry beans—we used to get wonderful Jacob’s Cattle beans

–More rhubarb

–Summer squash and cucumber later in season—so that we get it through August, at the same time as tomatoes and eggplants

–Vegetables that work well with each other; for example, when we got cilantro on the same night as tomatillos or dill with beans and cucumbers. Leeks should come with potatoes; celery with other soup stock vegetables;

–Herbs—if possible, smaller bunches, but two or three each night

Posting Lists of Vegetables

Some of you asked if lists of what’s in each share can be posted over the weekend. Debbie did this for most of last year—she posted a tentative list on her blog on Saturday morning. But the list isn’t firm until right before harvest, sometimes Monday afternoon or even Tuesday morning. Sometimes, a vegetable they expected would be ready is not quite, or overripe; sometimes something they though would take another week shoots up overnight.

Website

Several people complained about the website, and Debbie is working to get the last of the bugs out. But please remember that Stoneledge doesn’t have an IT Department—and even companies with huge IT departments (like the Federal Government) have website problems. I know its frustrating when the website doesn’t respond, but Debbie is almost always able to fix the problem within a few days. Please be patient.

Recipes

Some people asked for more recipes—I’m throwing that right back at you. I try to include some recipes in each week’s posting—in addition to the bookfull of recipes that everyone receives—but I don’t like to include a recipe unless I’ve tried it and don’t always have the time or the ingredients to test them. Several members gave me incredible recipes last year—the more I get, the more I’ll post.