Thank you all so much for your patience, enthusiasm, and questions as we explained the new pick up system to each of you returning folks and welcomed all of you new sharers to the pick up tent last week!
A few questions came up related to what different sharers are receiving, as well as how our two shares compare both to each other and to previous share offerings. Here are some answers:
Why didn’t Classic Harvest sharers receive every item under the tent last week? I thought this product was supposed to be the same as the former full share?
While Classic Harvest sharers may not always receive each item under the tent every week as you did in the past (and I’ll explain why, next), you can rest assured that the Classic Harvest share is the same product as the full share! What has changed is our offering of a separate, stand-alone product (the smaller Farmer’s Choice share). Because they are displayed in the same space, we understand the temptation to compare the two by observing what you did not receive. I would urge you, though, to try to view the share you are getting as its own product.
Please be assured that I am closely tracking what sharers receive, along with the value of each item, so I can make certain that our Classic Harvest share compares with the full share of seasons past. As this season progresses, you will see a significant overlap in the share contents each week, and Classic Harvest sharers will often get every item under the tent. Some weeks, though, there will be one or two items that Classic Harvest sharers receive a week before or a week after Farmer’s Choice sharers get them.
OK. But that seems really complicated. Why not keep everything like it was?
This is a long answer, so bear with me! Every week, decisions about what to harvest are based on many factors: what is ready to be picked this week; what will be available to harvest the following week; how much of the crop is left in the field; how much of a crop a sharer has received and how many times they have received it; what was in the share the previous week, how redundant or similar the crops are; and, ultimately, how all of the individual items add up to a well-rounded share each week and over time.
There are some items that I try my absolute hardest to include every week. These include an allium (garlic, garlic scapes, scallions, onions, shallots, or leeks), a cooking green (Swiss chard, kale, and/or collards), and salad greens (head lettuce, loose lettuce, and/or baby mustard greens mix). When tomatoes are rolling in, you’ll get them every single week! But after many years of farming, I know that there are other items, like escarole, bok choi, kohlrabi, and fennel, that the vast majority of sharers don’t enjoy receiving more than a couple of times in a season.
I make absolutely certain that everyone receives every veggie over time. However, some of the items that we plant in smaller amounts may not be ready in large enough quantities to distribute to everyone at the same time. We might have the right amount to include in just one of the shares.
Meanwhile, when more popular crops will start to trickle in, there may only be enough to include in one of the shares. In past seasons, the farmer probably just left crops out of sight and in the fields when this was the case, so you never knew that you weren’t getting it that week. Now we may decide to include it in only one of the shares. But just because one share receives an item one week doesn’t mean you won’t receive it, it just means that the timing of when you receive it is different. You will still get your “fair share” of the product.
I thought the Farmer’s Choice Share was a half share. Why can’t I receive exactly everything that the larger share receives, just in smaller quantities?
We’ve always defined the Farmer’s Choice Share as 6-9 items versus 8-13 of the Classic Harvest, and not as a half share. As I explained above, we pay close attention to the usefulness, well-roundedness, and value of each share. There are some items that are just not splittable. Anything that is a head or a bunch cannot be split up into smaller sizes.
If you are a former alternate week share who is missing the diversity of what you’d pick up every other week, I can assure you that you will receive the same diversity of veggies over time. Maybe more!
I thought that there would be a more obvious difference between the two shares. Why wasn’t that the case this first week?
It was a cool and rainy spring, and the first weeks of pick up are always smaller and heavy on the greens. So we were limited in what we could offer under the tent. Over time—starting this week, actually—you will see a significant difference in the size of the shares that will continue as the season goes on.
Please email me, or ask me when you see me under the tent or in the fields! I love teaching people about farming and explaining why we make certain decisions.
Thanks for your patience and kindness as we change systems that have been in place for a long time.