A Good End to a Good Season


We concluded our 2016 season on Friday, with a pickup that included a large variety of greens and root crops.  It was our best season yet.  Our irrigation system was adequate to face the summer’s dry weather.  Our new succession planting system led to a much larger variety available for shareholders each week.  Assistance from three interns gave us the needed extra hands for the season’s difficult parts, and our apprentice, Walt McClure, gave us great help and company since he joined in May.  (Walt will be farming independently but cooperatively on our property next year!)

I’ll be tallying up the year’s harvests by crop, and may be able to share that here in another post.  In the meantime, I have a rough financial report.  Here’s an account I gave to shareholders at the end of the season (slightly amended to include the last week’s value.)

Estimated Value of the Shares
I am pleased that my estimate of the value of the season’s produce has far surpassed the initial cost. We know that making a payment up front is an investment, and, in order for this to be a good business for you all, and for society, we need to return some interest.
Here are the details, through last week’s share. The adjusted value takes into account some inconvenience from having a share smaller than the expected size, or significantly larger than the expected size.
Total Value
Average per week
Adjusted Value
Average Per Week
Tuesday Small
Tuesday Regular
Friday Small
Friday Regular
A few notes: This doesn’t take into account missed pickups, so someone who missed a lot of pickups won’t have gotten the same value of produce. It also doesn’t take into account the seconds available at the pickups, or extras like raspberries, apples, beans, or sauce tomatoes. There are also, of course, the overall differences between a farmers market or grocery store, and weekly pickups at our CSA.
The first eight weeks were pretty weak, falling significantly below the expected average half the time. That was the period when I heard concerns from a few shareholders about the value. I predicted then that the shares would improve, and they did. Only at one distribution since have we fallen below, and then only slightly.
Friday’s value has been generally higher, which I attribute to the fact that we have about ¾ the number shareholders on Fridays as Tuesdays. I have tried to bring the value closer together, and had some small success, often holding on to something more for Tuesday rather than giving everything out on Friday. I am pleased that both shares are fairly close, and both far above the expected value.


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