On Friday 8 July, Patrick from the procurement team and I get a tour of Hoeve Biesland’s vegetable garden. There, we meet Natasja (pictured), the farmer’s wife who runs it on a day-to-day basis, Linda Duijndam, co-owner of Hoeve Biesland and numerous assistant farmers who are busy weeding and everything else that needs to be done. The reason for our visit is to evaluate how the harvest shares are doing. The principle of this fits very well with how we at Lekkernassûh view the food system: we want to be involved with the people who grow our vegetables and we don’t want to put all the risks on one party, namely the farmer.
So at the beginning of the year we agree on the cultivation plan (which vegetables will come out of the ground when) and see how much could be harvested under normal conditions. This year, we agreed that half of what comes from the land will be for Lekkernassûh. And so we pay half the budget. When there is abundance we get more of some vegetables (e.g. beans or chard), when things are bad we get less. So it can happen that as a participant of Lekkernassuh you get more or less beans, smaller or bigger courgettes, more or less potatoes.
We are now doing this for the fourth year. Last year’s harvest was rather disappointing, mainly because of the very wet spring. So suddenly the vegetables we bought this way were quite a bit more expensive per serving. Fortunately, this year is going well, with lots of sunshine and also rain at the right times. The beans, courgettes, kohlrabi, potatoes, fennel, herbs, lettuce and so on, they are all looking equally flourishing.
We discuss how many vegetables have been lost due to critters and the like, and how we can be creative with, for example, the unexpected extra supply of some vegetables – we decide that we can put them on loose sale.
Natasja informs us that people can sign up again at firstname.lastname@example.org to come and weed on Sunday 7 August.
And we agree to organise another Hoeve Biesland dinner in September in the meadow next to the garden. As soon as the date is known we will let you know – then we can reconnect with the farmers and each other.
– Rebekka van Roemburg