Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

Lettuce: A pretty solid plan B

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Our dedication to being a CSA farm is at the heart of our production plan each season.  As we discussed recently, we forecast where each bunch and pound of every last crop will be sold.  We are committed equally to getting all the nutrient-dense food that we grow into the community as well as running an economically viable business. So what happens when we don’t meet this forecast?

Since January, we have been growing enough food in excited anticipation of feeding 1,000 CSA members and their families this season.  At the same time, we have been actively promoting our program to the King County community in the hopes of filling at least 80% of our available CSA memberships by Week 1 of the Main Season.  We have reached a lot of people so far—we are packing about 600 boxes for Week 1—but we are slightly below where we were hoping to be at this point in the season. Admittedly, our membership goal was ambitious this season, but our CSA gives us the biggest opportunity to advance our nonprofit mission to promote responsible land use, so we set our sights high for a reason.

The impact of lower-than-anticipated memberships at the start of the season hits not only our financial bottom line, but it also means that we need to re-home that produce so that it doesn’t go to waste.  So what do we do when 1,000 heads of lettuce are ready for harvest, but we only have enough CSA members to account just over half of them?

We get on the phone!  This week our great friends at PCC purchased all of that lettuce (plus more) to sell at their stores. Phew!  We are so fortunate to have built partnerships with like-minded organizations that support both our mission as well as our business, so we do have a back-up plan when we find ourselves with lots of food on our hands. However, we would still love to make good on our plan to reach 1,000 members! If you know anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA, we do appreciate recommendations. We are able to offer $10 in store credit for referrals, so if you are feeling enthusiastic about our program, please let your friends know they can join at any time and the cost will be pro-rated.

By the way, congratulations to PCC on the opening of their new store in Bothell on July 12th!  We couldn’t be happier to support the growth of another business focused on balancing the tenuous relationship between feeding people and caring for the land.

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We’re capturing interesting moments this season and sharing them here to help you learn where your food comes from. Follow Story of a Season on our blog or on Instagram with #storyofaseason.

This story was originally published as part of our CSA newsletter, the Eater’s Digest. Interested in joining our CSA? Learn more about becoming a member.

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