We’re back! In early January, after a short break over the holidays to rest and revive, we began planning the next season with renewed energy and excitement. Within the next month we will be planning our first round of seedlings and opening the sign up for our 2016 CSA.
Definitely stay tuned. We have much to share in the coming months!
In the meantime, the events of last season have finally settled in our brains and organized themselves into: the Good, the Bad, and the Alright. For us, 2015 was a year of growth and expansion. We pushed ourselves hard and stretched to meet our goals. Here's a run down of the highlights of the 2015 season.
Our 2015 CSA
This past season was the first year of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. We wanted to better connect with our customers by providing a weekly food box that was diverse, delicious and affordable.
We had a great response. It was so wonderful meeting our members and so rewarding to know that we were growing for them. We had a surprising number of young families and pregnant mamas join. Every time I handed a big bag of veggies to them, I felt like we were doing something right.
In the next week, we’ll be asking our members for their feedback through a survey as we head into a new membership season. If you were a member this year, please take the survey and give us your feedback! We want to grow better for you so please let your voice be heard!
We had several angels show up on the fields this summer —in particular Jon’s dad, Tim, and his wonderful aunt Elaine. They often showed up on the hottest, longest days and were an enthusiastic and calming presence. This also made me realize that if the person working next to you is 30 years older, 10 times more cheerful, and doing this all for free, then joy is a choice and you should choose it. We owe so much to these folks. Thank you, thank you thank you.
From the beginning, we’ve made it our mission to better connect people to their food. During farm tours and events, participants were kind enough to share their curiosity, passion and, often, by the end of the tour, their own dreams, fears and aspirations. These events are fun and humbling — we can’t hide the weeds on our field, but I sincerely enjoy hosting these events and want to do more for our CSA members and the public in the new year.
Mohawk College Farmstand
In late August, just as the final round of planting finished, I got a call asking if I could manage the Mohawk College Farmstand for the next 12 weeks. Given our 80-hour workweek and my general feeling of “overwhelmedness,” I hesitated to say yes. I’m so glad I did. Our Farmstand team had so many good conversations about local food with students. It was a hopeful and worthwhile endeavor and I got to be part another great team — added bonus for sure.
It feels like each year in organic farming oscillates between “The Year of the Weeds” or “The Year of the Bugs”. Well, this year was The Year of the Weeds. They were relentless. At first, we managed them well and then not-so-well and then, by August, we let it go and accepted our fate. Was our productivity level affected by this onslaught? Probably. But again, I’d rather lose a few plants and a few hours to picking weeds than spray my fields with poison. Farming teaches us that there is always an opportunity cost and something more to learn. The weeds were our worst enemy but also a good teacher this year. We learn and then we become better farmers. So it goes.
This year we became a certified organic farm (as opposed to a non-certified organic farm). This was the end result of a three-year process and dozens of hours of paperwork. It was a challenging process but we decided that it was worth it —ultimately because we comply with the highest organic standards and we believe that food labeling is important. We understand that there is a crisis of confidence with “organic” certification but we wanted to establish our commitment to meeting the standard and exceeding it. If you ever have any questions about our methods or the way we grow, ask us. We believe that in the end, the only way to know your food is to know your farmer.