And happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. When I'm overwhelmed with the world that we are leaving to our children, I have to remember that they ARE the world. They can be the best of us, and they will carry our hope into the future if we remember to live with optimism and humility in our own hearts. I'm practicing - amidst the flurry of the farm and the machinations of this confounding social fabric - being present with my kids. Stopping for some real eye contact to share the wonder of a lady bug larvae or a glimpse of the bashful daytime moon. If left to themselves, these young ones see the infinite beauty of the world without any filters. They don't need our help to know how to see. The help they need is my patience and my attention (and lots of snuggles), like well-timed water to a seed. And I truly believe that wisdom is not gained, only forgotten. We germinate with the whole of the world in our hearts, seeking fertile ground for that sense of belonging to take root. These kids are the beginning of the rest of our lives, and I am both terrified for them and completely in awe of their joyful resiliency.
Enough father's day rumination for now. I do have a CSA related note: The early shares are often a stretch for us to fill, which causes a certain (inevitable) degree of consternation behind the scenes. Though we KNOW that the summer fruits and full field bounty are mere weeks away, and that any early shortages will certainly be rectified, it nonetheless causes me a great deal of concern. So I'm sharing it here, not seeking your reassurance, but just so you know that we are keeping track, probably more than we ever have before.
Without too much boring detail, I'll just say that before Harvie was utilized to track inventory, build shares, and record values, we did it with a spreadsheet, and a fair amount of guesswork. Some guesswork still exists for sure, but the result has been a far more accurate accounting of what goes in the shares. Also, we are ensuring that the shares are being packed "to value", so any surplus that we choose to share is done very intentionally rather than passively out of vague uncertainty about meeting our target values. Long story short, it's easy to keep throwing stuff in a box because it doesn't look "full enough," even though that member might not want any of those items, or cannot possibly use all of the food. The result in the past, before Harvie, is that we received consistent feedback about the amount of food (too much to use in a week), or the composition of the shares (too much of stuff I don't want). Harvie, we think, based on feedback and our own observations/calculations, has largely mitigated this challenge. It's what we pay for, and we think it is worth it, especially if members stick around! ;)
The flip side to that however, is that in the Spring, when we find ourselves in a gap or two between plantings or after greenhouses have been transitioned, we KNOW for sure that our total value of inventory does not meet the combined target value of all our shares. So we see the cold numbers, and we wrestle with the "shortage", and we hope you understand that it all gets averaged out over the season. That is the downside to Harvie, in our opinion. It takes the CSA model and turns it into more of a weekly shopping experience rather than a full-season commitment. I mean, it's a hybrid to be sure, but there is a tendency towards an "uber-fication" of direct-market food; where customers click a button for what they want and the farm delivers. No grey area, no natural ebb and flow of the season. This is all to say that we appreciate this tool, we are paying attention to the surpluses and shortages, AND we want to pro-actively remind you, our members, that there is real land, real cycles, real challenges, real life and struggle and exhalation behind the food. It's not always perfect, we don't hit it every week, but the arc bends towards bounty. The point is (and some would argue that I could've started with this and left out the rest), the shares are, on average, a few dollars short this week. Luckily, Harvie helps track that very efficiently, and we will be compensating you all (in spades) as the season swells. I think the cool, wet June is finally catching up to our plan, but soon it will only be a heat mirage on the horizon, and I'll be complaining that we never get any rain in July.
Please, take care of yourselves, and thank you for listening. These emails ramble through the weeds about as much as a puppy in an pumpkin patch.
Gratefully, Your Farmers,
Conner + Sarah