Friday, December 03, 2010

And the Survey Says

Well, the flip side of my review is what our members said in the annual survey.  Twenty of our 80 members filled it out, approximately, which is good I guess when you think of the sample for political polling.  It's never too late you members out there, I'm always looking for more feedback.

The results were far less uniform than I thought they would be.  As I might have mentioned I thought there would be an outcry against the continual lettuce greens, but perhaps the fact that they we've got the quality part down a bit more meant everyone could in fact eat more of them, though I should say there was still a sizable contingent that thought it was a bit too much.  Eggplant and peas and tomatoes were the things that were most more requested, if that makes sense: people want more of them.  The last can be expected (which doesn't mean that I too wouldn't have liked to give out more tomatoes, in fact I think it's very possible to accomplish next year, both length of season and volume) but the first two I was a little more surprised about.  The peas I don't think will be a problem, in fact it fits into the category of things that, like the carrots, I am simply getting better at by doing it again and again.  The eggplant are more of a mystery to me.  The past two years the plants have looked good but production hasn't been great at all.  I am going to have to talk to some other growers and see what I can learn.  We have had good crops at OHF so I know its possible.  Not to make excuses, but part of me wonders whether in New England eggplant remains dicey.  The general revolt was against mustard and collards.  Duly noted, I will be subbing in other things much earlier and having more spinach, which was also heavily requested.  There were a few requests for less radishes, which I hope will be doable if we can produce more early salad turnips (does that count as a non-radish?) and rhubarb and a stronger early spinach and brassica crops.  Also people wanted less herbs or at least smaller bunches, or maybe just more choice.  Would scallions as an option help? Please comment, really!

There always seem to be about the same number of people who ask for more greens as ask for less greens, which brings me to the perennial CSA dilemma, how to get everyone exactly what they want.  Well, obviously that's hard, but every year it reinforces in me a little more that as many things as can be choices the better.  Like maybe something or lettuce one week.  I also may encourage the greens lovers just to bring a little cash if they want more one week, cause I often have more of those.  Some people have already started doing this, realizing that I am a little slow on the uptake.

In general the quality was highly regarded, though unripe melons continue to be an issue.  I'm happy that we can deliver things fresh enough (usually picked a few hours earlier) that that's not an issue.  One interesting comment was that the tomatoes were too ripe.  I may try to pick some a little earlier, so I hope people will tell me if it is working for them next year.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey, and thanks to our members all, you really are the thing that makes it all work.  I've already gotten most of the seed catalogs for next year and am trying to resist looking at them for at least a little.  Next weekend of another Winter Farmers Market in Shelburne, we'll have all the goodies you love, including our chamomile tea.