Our business model is simple. We ask for our members to commit to a season to ensure that we can work with a farmer to grow what we want. Not all weeks are as bountiful as the next as Mother Nature doesn't work that way; but some weeks can border on too bountiful.
We work with the farmers this time of the year to give them regular updates of how our subscribership is looking. We make commitments in the winter months to buy things from them for the rest of the year. By signing up early, it gives us an idea of how many families we are nourishing throughout the season (June through October).
Many of the "specialty crops" we request have a limited market. Celery, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, napa cabbage, red onions, carrots, golden beets, and heirloom tomatoes are only marketable directly to the end consumer. There are no established auction markets or wholesale outlets for these crops (and many more) if Fresh Fork does not take them.
Your commitment ensures that our farmers are paid for their hard work and they reward you with a fair price that allows you to eat fresh and healthy vegetables.
To all of you who have already signed up for the Summer Share, THANK YOU...from me, my staff, and the farmers.
For us farmers, the season has already begun
There may be snowflakes and freezing temps in April, but our minds are still on those warmer, sunshiny days and caring for our crops no matter what the forecast brings us.
Many farmers started planning January 1 and starting seeds in the greenhouse began as early as February for some farmers. Most of the farmers have a full greenhouse at this point. Plants are starting to get hardened off -- meaning the greenhouse temperature is no longer a cozy 70-75 degrees and the heater is only running to keep the frost from nipping the baby plants. The sides of the greenhouse are opened during the day to the let the breeze in and strengthen the plants and ease the transition from a very well protected environment in the greenhouse to the varying weather elements that will be experienced in the fields.
What's in the ground? Lettuce, broccoli, and peas outside; green beans and spinach in the coldframe. At Wholesome Valley, we'll be direct seeding spinach and carrots later this week.
Did we plant enough?? That's always the pending question and tough estimate to guesstimate in January when we meet with our farmers and haven't even started marketing the summer share.
Countdown to Summer - 6 weeks
2023 Summer Share starts May 31st
The Summer season begins May 31st (in future years, it will align with the first week of June). Signing up early helps us plan with our farmers to make sure we not only have enough quantity, but also enough variety. In addition to the staple items you'll receive in the weekly share, we've been working closely with a smaller subset of our farmers to grow some specialty variety of crops that we will have available in the online shop from week-to-week.
It's easier for a farmer to scale planting thousands of a smaller set of crops than it is a larger variety with a smaller quantity. We know that many customers like the variety of the additional produce we can offer for sale a la carte in the online shop and we're hoping to have expand some of the offerings this year! What's on on our minds? Herbs, peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens / salad mix.