This Weeks Box 11/2/2013

Starting a CSA was not that difficult. It started in 2010. Up until then, I had been growing and selling food at farmers markets. Toward the end of those farmers market days, Blue Sky Produce was attending the Mission Valley, Lakeside, Julian and Santee farmers markets. Those events were hard work. After a few years of driving my wears all around San Diego, I got weary of setting up just so that I could break down my joint like some sort of carny. Everyone loved our produce. That was not a problem. The face to face interaction with customers is the part I miss most. The instant feedback was priceless. We really needed people to start coming to us though. The thing was, in order to break even doing markets, you really needed to be at a market every day. At the time, I was pretty much a one man show. So you can see the dilemma. Who’s going to grow the food?

Three and a half years ago, Google was not nearly as efficient at bringing everything we would ever like to know about a subject to our computer screen, but after some research, I guessed that I knew enough to write up a contract that would fit who we were and what we had to offer as a CSA farm. We started this little blog and opened up an add in Local Harvest. We signed up like three or five new members in the first week. Caroline and Thomas  Hootman from were technically our first customers. I do not think they even know that. They are still members, so they do now. Happy almost 4 years anniversary with us you two! What a learning experience that first year was. People use to show up at the main house and knock on the door. Then we would fetch their box for them.

What got me thinking about the CSA and how it got started is a recent realization I had about how different I go about my life now then before the CSA started. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This local, sustainable community supported model of doing business would become a major influence on how I began to experience and interact with my world. See, at first, CSA was just a clever way for me to get people to come pick up their food. Once you have played the game for a while, it starts to rub off on you though. Before you know it, It starts to make sense to have a local and personal relationship with as many of your product and service needs as possible. Everything just works better when you can connect to the person behind the thing. I am nowhere near 100 percent, but everything from my soap to my greeting cards to my healthcare to my insurance are based on genuine personal relationships.  Some of my strongest friendships have blossomed from my search for an authentic individual to provide a product or service that I needed. It becomes a habit. I am always looking for and contemplating the person behind the thing.  Sometimes it is not possible. Sometimes you just need something and there is no practical way to know the owner. Sometimes companies that we have to do business with do not want you to know the owner. It is ok. This is where fruit comes in.

When dealing with employees of large companies or organizations who are used to being treated like dirt by the public, a handful of fruit and a smile is your key to satisfaction. It will also make them remember you forever. There is something so human about a gift of food, that even the rigid veneer of an overworked DMV supervisor can be melted in seconds with a golden nugget tangerine. They don’t expect it. No one can defend against the kindness of an apple. Sounds like a meta thought but it is also true. The goal is to treat everyone like a neighbor. Somehow, by osmosis, this CSA thing is teaching us how to be better neighbors. I am not sure who to thank for this. I guess I will just have to be grateful.

Here is the list

summer squash
bag of spring mix
a few pounds of fairytale pumpkin
bunch of chard
bell peppers
mixed peppers
green onions
head of broccoli

Ok. About the mixed peppers. There are anaheim and jalapeno peppers loose in the box.

Anaheim… long, skinny, a little hotter than a bell pepper.
Jalapeno…short. blunt, a bit hotter than anaheimThere is also a brown bag labeled “Hot”
Its contents are…Habanero….Really hot
Fresno…Really Hot

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