By: Danielle Wood (Apr 11, 2011)
We had Harmony Valley as our CSA and switched because we got large boxes of mysterious items (I mean, I CAN cook burdock, but a person only wants to eat so much of it), yet when I went to the farmer's market they were selling the 'good' stuff there. They may have since changed this behavior, but we really liked the CSA we had after that....they were excellent. We knew they would be, because we were comparing boxes every week prior to our switch (our neighbor is the drop for the other CSA). My observation....HV don't seem to operate like the ideal model of a CSA .
Comments on this Review:
Richard DeWilde says: (Feb 23, 2012)
Our farm has found success through growing for three distinct markets: CSA, Wholesale & Farmer's Market. Our CSA is our first priority and growing for other markets allows us to reduce the risks usually associated with a CSA membership. For example, we don't grow just enough garlic for our CSA membership, we grow enough to sell at market as well. Therefore, if there is a problem in the field, we can shuffle that garlic originally intended for market to our CSA members & they don't miss out. With our CSA, you'll receive a mix of kitchen staples & familiar produce along with some items for the adventurous cook. We try to get you out of your comfort zone and try new things; we'll send produce that you might not have considered buying at the store or even be able to find anywhere else! Every year we try a new crop such as cardoon or nettles (a recent favorite that we've added to our spring repertoire), as well as "unusual" items like burdock, ramps, fennel, garlic scapes, sunchokes, amaranth & other greens, different varieties of eggplant and kale and more. Burdock is mainly a wholesale and farmer's market item, but due to CSA member requests, we do send it in one or two early season spring boxes (at the most) or as a Choice item during the season. (The Choice boxes are extra items we send to our CSA sites on some weeks so CSA members can supplement that week's box, if they choose. We have sent eggplant, fennel, basil and more as the Choice item.) In our 20 years of CSA deliveries, we have included burdock in less than half of those years, generally as a Choice item and never in more than two boxes per season. Many CSA members get boxes Every other Week so we remain mindful of box contents on those alternating weeks throughout the season; we don't want our "brown" week customers thinking they missed out or that the "green"weeks are somehow better. We try to be as equal as possible without getting too repetitious for our Weekly box members! Our Farmer's Market stand in Madison is a good place to see what is coming up in season; those first 25 heads of broccoli go to market since that quantity is not enough for all of our CSA boxes. After you see that first appearance of broccoli, you'll know that the rest of the crop isn't far behind & it will soon show up in your CSA box (,Mother Nature willing! The Farmer's Market stand (Saturdays on Mifflin Street, look for our green awning) is a great outlet for those small amounts, trial plantings, or extras harvested above and beyond what was packed in CSA boxes as well as a great place for us to meet present and future customers. But this weekly sale is such a small percentage of our production it in no way detracts from our commitment to our CSA members. We do detailed comparisons and are confident that we offer our CSA members (and all the other people we feed) the very best variety, quality, value and cooking information of any CSA in at least the Midwest. And we have thousands of customers who support that fact.
Donald Propsom says: (Apr 12, 2012)
The variety, quality and quantity of vegetables from HVF is unsurpassed in my experience. Yes, they do put in vegetables that I have not been familiar with, but there is always ample amounts of the old favorites. The newsletter that comes with every box lists everything that is in it and also provides information and recipes for the more unfamiliar items. Some, such as ramps, have become favorites which I look forward to every year. Richard De Wilde does a good job of explaining HVF's philosophy. I have never felt that HVF has ever put their CSA shareholders in anything other than first place in their farming decisions. That is why I am still a member going into my 16th year. The hardest part of each year is when the CSA boxes stop coming.