Farmers keep quite busy during the off season. Between office work and farm maintenance we are still working 9 to 5 throughout the winter months. We complete and mail off our organic certification to our certifying agent, OEFFA. We attend webinars, farm conferences, and even listen to farmer podcasts to help us learn and grow as farmers. We update our website and communicate to customers.
Ben usually has a couple major maintenance projects to take care of each winter. He needed to replace brake lines on both our field harvesting truck and big box market truck. The fleet of three tractors always need work as well! Additionally Ben is continuously building and fixing implements. He’s been working on an old tractor mounted seeder that was in such rough shape, it was given to us for free! We also put up an additional hoophouse once the weather got warm. This will house our early tomatoes and free up our other hoophouse for early carrots! Both hoophouses will be used again in the fall/early winter to extend the season.
Another major task of winter is analyzing our seeding, harvest, and sales records to help plan out for the next season. With 8 seasons of growing flowers and vegetables under our belt, this winter we evaluated our farm, felt the need for a change, and deliberated what exactly this change would be. We ultimately decided that growing both flowers and vegetables was spreading us too thin. We felt we were doing a good job producing high quality vegetables and flowers, but questioned our ability to expand the farm while still growing both. So after much consideration we decided we will no longer grow flowers.
The decision is bittersweet, but mostly sweet! I will miss the beautiful fields of blooms, humming birds, and butterflies and will miss making artistic arrangements and making customers happy. But when I think about how this change will help us be even better farmers and move us into a more comfortable and sustainable operation, I feel nothing but excitement for this change. Focusing solely on vegetables will allow us create an even more positive, carefully curated CSA experience and expand into wholesale markets with our favorite crops to grow. Plus, we will continue to have bits of flowers here and there, just for our pollinator friends. And because well grown, fresh, organic vegetables are beautiful too, the farm fields and market stand will still be gorgeous!
We want to thank our flower customers who over the years have supported local organic flowers through market bouquet purchases and special event orders ! We also wanted to thank our employees who focused on our flower production– Brooke, Brittany and Angela. Their hard work and artistic vision made the flower program a huge success! (Check out our employee profiles in past blog entries to learn more about them)
This update comes at the start of the Spring season and the farm is really buzzing with activity now. Our greenhouse is fuller than its ever been at this time. We have onions, beets, salad mix, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, kale, broccoli and so much more started. Spring always presents challenges getting out into the fields between rains. So far we have prepped the fields for planting, weeded our fall planted garlic and sown some cover crops. We feel like we are on schedule and look to plant onions, potatoes, greens, and spring brassicas (cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc) starting mid-April! And we already have the first crops of 2016 in. We seeded 6 beds of carrots in our hoophouse and 5 lbs of sugar snap peas in nicely prepped field beds. We couldn’t be more excited about the 2016 season. We still have CSA spots available (click here to sign up) and are looking to start attending 2nd Street Market mid May! Fresh vegetables are just around the corner!