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Tomato Mountain Newsletter- Week 2 Winter 2018

Posted 2/1/2018 1:24pm by Business Manager.

Our warm spell ended more quickly than originally forecast. We’re disappointed because spinach growth is minimal when temperatures are as cold as they’ve been most of the time since November. Ironically, last year, when we planted our winter spinach on the early side, to be safe, we had a warm fall and even warmer winter, with nearly record warmth in February. We had too much spinach all at once, and could not sell it as fast as it was maturing. We ended up tilling in several hundred pounds (several thousand dollars worth) of amazing spinach we simply could not find a home for, even after wholesaling much of it for much less than we’d prefer to sell it for. This year, we planned our spinach planting a bit later, and got the opposite weather.

This is a very much the opposite sort of problem compared to most of our agricultural puzzles. Usually, if we don’t do something fast enough, or as timely as we plan, we get steamrolled, can’t keep up, and are often overwhelmed, particularly for things like weed control. In this case, we planned a planting a week later than last year to avoid excess growth, actually got the planting in a week later than that, and then had below average temperatures for three, now looking like four, months is putting huge brakes on growth. They did say it would be a La Nina winter, with colder than average temps, and it did work out that way.

Otherwise, this week’s box is a solid, typical winter box, with jarred whole roasted tomatoes, frozen roasted butternut squash, and our trio of winter root crops. The “watermelon” radishes are very special as radishes go, with a sweet and slightly sharp flavor. Our beets are much like our carrots, very sweet and flavorful, far beyond anything California can produce. All three are in the box.

Thanks to everyone who responded to last week’s newsletter regarding our mispricing of the winter share. Normally, because it’s only every other week, out winter share is valued higher than other seasons, which are delivered every week. Instead of raising our prices across the board for all seasons, as we did with spring, summer and fall shares, we in effect lowered our winter price share. Responses overwhelmingly supported for my idea of adding up, at the end of the winter season, what we actually delivered, and asking people to pay the difference between what we charged, and what we delivered.

We are not going to “charge” in a mandatory way, this amount. Even though 80% of responses from CSA members suggest that such mix-ups happen all the time in business and that we should simply state what happened, charge what we should, and move on, that is not perfectly ok by us. We said something, and we don’t feel comfortable asking people to do something we all agreed on at the time, mistake or not. So, again, at the end of the winter share, we’re going to add up everything we delivered, compare it to what we charged, and give people the option to pay, no obligation. Sorry for the confusion. Sometimes efforts like this, that aim for full transparency, can be messy. If anyone has any questions or problems, please feel free to call me, Chris, at 608-712-1585. I spent hours writing responses last week to everyone who did what I asked and chimed in on the issue. I do appreciate the everyone’s feedback, and find that talking it over is often easier and faster than writing.

Finally, we’re working with one of our CSA customers to put together a better website that will make many CSA interactions clearer, faster, and easier. First, we’re working to streamline our information administration, to save time and make less mistakes. Then, we’re going to work on our online store to make add ons better and easier to facilitate. Those are the main goals for now. Eventually, we’ll also likely work more on the front end of our website, the one you guys see, to tie everything together, and bring it fully up to speed in the computer age/21st century. I’m writing a grant proposal to try to get $12,000 from the Frontera Farmer Foundation to help us out. Keep your fingers crossed!

Photo(s) added: September 17th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: September 10th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: , Another New PhotoSeptember 3rd, 2018

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