Dear past West Haven CSA members,
We’re writing to let you know that we need to hold off another year before re-starting the CSA. This was a very hard decision to make. We still think that CSA is the right thing for our farm-- but not yet.
When we’re growing for CSA it’s so important to us, we really throw ourselves into it. Because of the commitment we make to growing so many different crops across the whole season, CSA doesn’t give us space to experiment with re-balancing crops so rotations works better and we can address water needs, weed control, and pest issues.
In the past, when we asked ourselves the question, “how much food can we grow?” our response was to max things out. That worked, but farming with climate change is like starting over—our old models and assumptions don’t work, and there’s a lot we need to re-learn about creating a resilient cropping system. For the past 10-15 years we pushed the soil pretty hard, which we could do when conditions are ideal but it doesn’t work now that the weather is so variable. In the past two years we had the driest June (2016) and the wettest June (2017) we’ve experienced in more than 25 years. We need to build the farm’s resilience and get a better handle on this extreme variability before we are comfortable committing to grow crops for CSA. We are excited to think of farming in a new way, and figure out how much we can sustainably grow, given our soil and water resources. We have good hopes that we can develop a more resilient farm and go back to CSA.
In the meantime, we are still planning to go to farmers’ market and will continue wholesaling to restaurants and GreenStar. For us, this means that when there are crop failures we don’t feel responsible like we do when we’re growing for the CSA, and, with another year off from CSA we can grow a smaller variety of crops on less ground while we continue to do major cover cropping.
As a sign of our commitment to you, we are planning a you-pick area just for past CSA members again. We’re also working on options for CSA members who want to stay connected to the farm during this non-CSA time, maybe something like paying in advance and getting a discount on produce at market, or even joining our wholesale distribution list. If you’d like us to follow up with you about those options (they’re still in the works) let us know and we’ll keep you in the loop.
Thanks for your patience with us, you are an amazing community!
Love, John and Jen