The birth of little lambs is definitely a great reminder of spring....so it's vegetable CSA subscription time! The main difference this year is that I've added 'CSA' into my farm, which stands for 'Community Supported Agriculture'. For the first four years of my farm, I took on all the risk of farming myself, but after last year's drought, I realize that the farm's risk needs to be shared with its eaters.
Functionally, this doesn't change much for vegetable subscribers. They should still get the same amount of vegetables throughout the year, unless disaster strikes on the field. This doesn't mean that as the farmer, I just throw my hands up in the air and declare the season lost. I would still mitigate any drought and pest issues as I did last year and do my best to provide everyone with as many vegetables as possible (which did work out in the end for 2012). And in general, when planning the season's plantings, I always plant for much more volume than needed, and also diversify vegetable crops for risk management. I will also be buying and using a lot more row cover this year to keep off the pests. But in case there's nothing reasonable that I can do, I won't have to return subscribers' money, which has mostly already been invested into vegetable plantings in the field.
There is a flip side to this too...CSA members would also benefit from any farm bounty! So if it turns out to be a great year, you will get more vegetables than you'd expect...which you can eat, preserve, or give away to your friends, family and neighbours.
I've also made some planting changes for this year. I won't be growing spinach any more as it seems to be a really hit and miss crop for my area. Instead, I will be growing baby chard for spring, and mache for fall. I'll also be trying out collard greens, and leaving broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts off the list. Sweet corn and potatoes won't be grown either this year, but I'm bringing back eggplant and sweet peppers. We'll just have to see what happens with them all!
If you're interested in joining Black Sheep Farm's CSA this year, please check out the details on the 'Subscription' and 'Vegetable List' pages and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.