Smoke Ridge Organics

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an update on my first review

By: A.T.    (Sep 14, 2010)

I'm the one who posted the rave review last April, when we first started with this CSA. I debated for a long time about posting an update, and while I would never want to hurt a small-scale farmer's business, I also felt my first review may mislead people. We were extremely happy with this CSA when we started. As I mentioned before, we purchased a farm share, which buys you a wide variety of items from the farm every week. In April, we weren't expecting any produce beyond the potatoes and sweet potatoes we received. My husband worked far more hours on the farm than was required by our work share. He genuinely enjoyed it, so that wasn't a problem, but he did begin to express some concern that the farm was not being managed effectively enough to provide for all the CSA shares. He worked harder (even building a greenhouse from the ground up) to help the farm succeed. Warm weather arrived and there were no vegetables beyond the occasional baby lettuce. I knew what to expect locally because I was now buying my produce at the South Wedge farmer's market, which is strictly limited to local farmers.Their stands (including one belonging to another local CSA) were piled with a wide variety of fresh produce. We asked Smoke Ridge's farmer about her vegetables, but she only became defensive. In the meantime, our deliveries had steadily dwindled - even items that had been guaranteed to be delivered monthly and didn't depend on seasonal availability (ex. nuts, household cleaners, bar soap) were consistently missing. I was getting upset, but I knew the farmer was dealing with personal difficulties beyond the farm, so I let it be. One day, as I was taking our share out of the plastic grocery bags it was delivered in, I found a receipt. It showed 8 dozen brown eggs purchased from a convenience store that day. I'm sure you can do the math on this one - no one buys 8 dozen eggs for home use. We confronted the farmer, who became extremely defensive. We asked her which items came strictly from her farm, never from a store or another source. The answer: only dairy items. She confessed that she'd been buying many items from Wegmans to try to keep up with the demands of the share. I was appalled. We bought a CSA share so we could eat from a source that could be trusted. If I wanted someone to deceive me about my food, I would be happy to continue funding factory farms. We tried a dairy-only share for a couple weeks. Our "heavy cream" was 75% milk once it settled in the fridge. I wondered if she would also lie about the quality of the milk or cleanliness of the operation (especially important when dealing with raw milk as we were). So we cancelled our subscription. We inquired about a partial refund (as we'd been purposely misled about what we were purchasing), but were told no refund was possible - the money had been spent. I left this CSA feeling incredibly naive and angry. As other reviewers have said before: disappointing.

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